Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wonderful Wacky Wednesday!

A slight name change because the game I'm presenting is wacky, but it was from a wonderful US Amateur Team East where my team won the Under 1900 prize with 4.5 points. In 1989 I had the privilege of playing Third Board on a team with Art Bisguier on Board One, a random pick up player on Board Two, and Don Maddox on Board Four. I can't remember what had happened to our original board two, but the day of the tournament we got a replacement whose name I can't remember. In fact I can't remember who our original board two was supposed to be. For those readers who may not have been born in 1989 or don't remember who Don Maddox was. He was the editor for Chess Life for a time in the 80s. He was also one of the developers of ChessBase.

Anyway enough of the name dropping. Out of the 28 US Amateur Team tournaments I've played in, this was probably one of my best and most memorable. My score wasn't overwhelmingly great. 3 wins 2 losses and 1 draw. In fact the tournament got off to a pretty crappy start when I lost to a 1397 in the first round. I was rated 1900 at the time. Fortunately the rest of the team did their job and we won the match. Luckily for me somebody else pulled a bigger upset then the 400 points between my opponent and me, so I did not become the victim of the biggest upset for that round. That game does not qualify for WW status, though the final position is notable for where my king ends out. Sad to say I'm black.

In the second round I'm paired against an 1080. The game does not last very long.

Since I was done so early I kept wandering in and out of the playing room to check on my teammates. We were winning that match 2-1 and Bisguier was up a pawn so it seemed as though we should win the match. However somehow in the late hours of a lengthy game, he gave back the pawn and more. He ended out losing so we drew the match.

This was truly a team effort. Every round one of us who would be out rated on his/her respective board would find a way to pull an upset against a higher rated opponent, and help us pull out a win or draw against a tough team. In round three Don Maddux beat a higher rated opponent to help us pull out a draw against a higher rated team. Don was a trooper. The poor guy had a fever and was sick as a dog. On Sunday he went to his doctor in between the third and fourth rounds. What doctor sees patients on a Sunday? Getting to the doctor involved an hour's drive in each direction. We weren't even sure he'd make it back for round four or not.

In round four it was our second board who pulled an upset against a higher rated player. I beat my lower rated opponent and Don lost to his higher rated opponent. Once again Bisguier was up a pawn. When I finished my game I handed Art the result cards and said "We're winning the match 2-1. All we need is a draw." It looked like the game would go on for awhile. About 10 minutes later I see Art come out of the playing room. I asked him what happened. He said, "I took your advice, and offered my opponent a draw which he accepted." So much for their Board One playing it out for the team. I guess he decided a draw against a grandmaster was better then trying to draw the match. Now we were 3-1 heading into Monday's matches.

In round five it was my turn to beat a much higher rated player, allowing us to win the match. This was my first real win against a master. I don't count the finger fehler win against Master X from the 1985 USATE. I actually turned down a draw in an opposite colored bishop ending where I was up a pawn. I felt my king would get in. I was correct. At som point I'll put the game in Chess Base and post it.

In the last round we had a chance to finish 5-1 and be in a tie for 2nd place. We managed a draw against our higher rated opponents for our4.5 points. I drew a master. Not a bad day for me. 1.5 out of 2 against players rated 2250+. I gained 17 rating points that tournament the nice win in round 5 was cancelled out by the ugly round one loss. My other wins and losses cancelled each other out, so the last round draw made the difference.

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