The picture is not of the best quality, but lacking Photo Shop and the skills to improve it I guess I will have to explain. That is a fire engine from the Pawtucket FD at the front door of our hotel. That begs two questions.
1. Why is it there?
2. Why is it so dark?
Answer: Because the damn fire alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 5:00 am. At this time of year it's dark at that time.
That was not my idea of a wake up call. I can drag my sorry butt out of bed for a 10:30 am round without outside assistance. Besides I thought outside assistance was not allowed at a chess tournament. I suppose the amusing part of the whole incident was seeing several of the grandmasters clutch their laptops as they waited to return to their rooms. We can't let our precious databases go up in smoke. I didn't have such presence of mind to take my computer with me. In fact the only reason I have the fire engine picture is because after they let us go back in I went to the room grabbed the camera and took a picture before they left.
After such a rude awaking why do I look so perky before the start of round three? Perhaps the free breakfast with the two cups of tea had something to do with it. Maybe the loud shirt awoke me from from my sleep deprived state. Too bad the shirt didn't distract my opponent from the goings on over the board. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. There was another battle to be fought besides the one over the chessboard.
When they posted the round three pairings they had put up signs with the prize fund listed. For the since merged under 1900 they stated that only the six players who had initially entered that section would be eligible for those prizes. Whoa! Time out! Let me get this straight. Since I opted to play up, I'm not eligible for the Under 1900 prizes even though the sections have been combined and I'm rated under 1900? Is this the add insult to injury clause for the three of us rated under 1900 who had wanted to play stronger competition, but instead ended out in a larger section with the possibility of playing lower rated competition?
Even before I got into my game I expressed my displeasure with this decision. The rationale though good intentioned was flawed. The TD and organizer seemed to think that these six players entered the Under 1900 Section in good faith expecting these prizes to be rewarded to the players in that section. The tournament director explained that to me. I wasn't happy with it, but for the time being I wasn't going to argue the point.
Sometimes tournament directors/organizers playing in other people events can be a pain in the ass. I try not to butt into how a tournament is being run. I know I don't like it when others tell me how to run my tournament. The last time I had butted in at someone else's tournament the TD yelled at me, even though I was right and he reversed his decision regarding prizes. That prior incident didn't even have anything to do with me, but I felt it needed to be addressed. This time it had a lot to do with me so before round 4 I was going to make my point.
It wasn't like they were changing the prizes to include 2000 players or changing the Under 1700 prize to an under 1800 prize. They were the same prizes albeit reduced since there was only a partial guarantee. The would still be 1st through 4th under 1900, 1st under 1700, 1st under 1500 and first youth under 16 years old. The only difference was there were three more players to contend for the top 4 place prizes. So there were 9 players contending for 7 prizes. In theory all 9 could have picked up a piece of the pie. A draw in my last round would have caused this unlikely scenario, but more about that later.
I got paired against a 1735 who was one of the players who had signed up for the ill fated Under 1900 section. He had lost both his games on the first day. He might have been 2-0 if there had been an Under 1900 section. Instead he was getting pounded on by Experts and A players. He was also on the list of players that would be eligible for the Under 1900 prizes. I'm sure he was happy with the announced prizes since he could go 0-4 and still win something under that prize structure. However I don't think 0-4 was what he had mind when he signed up for the Under 1900 section. Leave it to me to take care of that problem for him. Sigh.
On the comments from my last post somebody asked me what I thought of the time control and the 15 second delay. It would have been okay if they didn't deduct 10 minutes off the first time control. 40/90 is deceptive enough. That's 2:15 per move. It seems like plenty of time, but often moves 25-40 are during a complex part of the game, and the time sneaks away. 80 minutes is even worse. That's two minutes a move. The delay makes it 2:15 per move but it doesn't seem the same as 40/90 with no delay. The 15 second delay doesn't compensate for the 10 minutes. Even though in theory it's the same amount of time, I feel as though having 10 minutes chopped off my time from the get go is like wasting 10 minutes in an opening I know. For the first 5 to 10 moves a 5 second delay is plenty. There have a number of games where I've made the first 10 moves without my time moving.
I'm sure this sounds very strange coming from someone who plays "cracktion" chess almost weekly. "The queen of cracktion is worrying about the difference between 80 and 90 minutes when she normally has 25 to 30 minutes for a whole game?" I think there is a different mind set when one is playing a single sudden death time control versus x moves in x time followed by sudden death. In a single sudden death time control if there is time pressure it comes and then it's over. Either one survives it and wins, or implodes and loses. With two time controls one can go through time pressure twice. How the first time control is handled can play a big part in what happens during the second time control. Often when I'm playing a control longer then game/30 I have to remind myself that I have more time and make use of it. However sometimes I lose track of the time and have to hustle to make the 40 moves in time.
The organizer was the one who came up with this particular time limit, but it was ironic that his TD is against subtracting time from players using delay clocks. Ken had put up a motion before the delegates at the US Open regarding the subtracting of time. He feels it penalizes players who are using the prefered clock with time delay. His motion would have abolished that practice. I always would like to have the extra time, but I realize in tournaments with a tight schedule one has to take the time off of delay clocks to compensate for the extra delay time.
End of the time control rant. I guess the answer is "No I didn't like the 15 second delay." I can't blame the clock for all of my problems in this game. However bad decision making in time pressure did bring the game to a sudden end.
In the past week I've had three games as black that have opened d4 and transposed into the French. I don't even like the French. Note to self: Stop playing 2...e6 after 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3. The first one last Thursday I walked into a book trap from 5. Qg4 and got my queen trapped on move 9. This time I was better prepared for Qg4 and did not walk into that line again.
It would have been a struggle even if I had played the right move. The problem was getting into that mess in the first place. The trade off was I didn't have to deal with two bouts of time pressure, and it gave me time to line up an ally in my battle over the prize fund.