Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rhode Block! Blackstone Chess Festival Open: Round 3

Okay so I got through the first day with out having castled short on the wall chart. My second round draw took care of a potential string of zeros. It also postponed the whole bye issue for at least a round. So what possibly could go wrong now? Questions like that should not be asked in the first place, but being a disciple of Murphy I can't help myself.

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.

Richard-Polly 081708.pgn

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.


chesstiger said...

2. Nc3

Strange. As 1. d4 player i wonder if this isn't a mistake since in d4openings it's normal to play c4 before developing N to c3. But maybe this is an opening i dont know.

3. ... Bb4
I know that in the opening one must develop pieces but what about 3. ... c5 in this position?

7. ... Qxe7
Isn't Nxe7 better? Black doesn't get double pawns on the d-file like in the game.

25. ... Kb8
This is a mistake that could have cost you the game. 25. ... Kb8 26. Re8 Kc7 27. R1e7+ Kc8 (27. ... Kc6 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 (28. ... Rxf7 let white win a rook) 29. Re8) 28. Rxf8 Rxf8 29. Re8+ with a winning position.

chesstiger said...

Btw, in belgium we dont know delay clocks. Our clocks just add time after each move. In this time control we would get 15 seconds per move added on the clock. Which i personally find the best way.

chesstiger said...

Oh, i moved (starting all over) my blog to HTTP://CHESSTIGER.WORDPRESS.COM
to make it easier to leave comments.
Hope to see you there!

Polly said...

tiger: Against normal d4 set ups such as d4, c4, Nc3 I play the Nimzo-Indian. That's why I played Bb4, but I'm thinking that since it keeps transposing into the French that perhaps c5 is better.

7...Qxe7. I had considered Nxd7 but didn't like how blocked the position would be. I wasn't overly concerned with the doubled pawns since I knew I could eliminate them with d6.

The position was bad with the powerfully placed white rooks and the advanced passed pawn. I think it was probably just a matter of time before Id run out of moves. AS it was I was running out time on the clock too.

Time delay is an American thing. Increment is more European. We're starting to have more tournaments using increments, but delay is still the most popular setting. I would like increment so that I could accumulate the time I don't need early on.

denopac said...

For some reason I love time control discussions.

I also hate the practice of subtracting time from the first time control, but I understand that in most cases it's a necessary evil. What I really don't like is the practice at the Marshall of subtracting five minutes from the first t/c in 30/90 games. Since there are only 30 moves you can only make up 30*5=150 seconds, which is 2 1/2 minutes. So in effect the first time control is 87 1/2, not 90 minutes. It may not seem like a big difference but there are many times when I really wish I had that 2 1/2 minutes back.

denopac said...

Re: increment vs. delay.... they are each flawed in their own way. The point of the whole exercise is to allow one to finish a game, right? So I really don't see the point of delaying the moves at the start of the game. I think the ideal is something that Chronos clocks support called 'Final Delay,' but the only people who have any idea what this is are those of us who have spent way too much time curled up with the Chronos manual.

Anonymous said...

No one writes tournament descriptions quite like you Polly! They are always fun to read, and make me envious that I don't play in more of them!

I have to be honest and say that I don't really get the time delay thing. Why have a time delay if you are just going to shave time off the clock anyway...? What is the point of that? The last two times I played they did that and I thought it was stupid. If it is G/60 why can't it just be G/60 ??

Have a good one!

BlunderProne said...


I'm just getting back from the beach. You definitely were in my back yard. I know David Harris and Ken ballou very well. I also know Howard who comes to our club occasionally. But that weekend being our anniversary, I decided to sit that one event out.

Perhaps next time we'll meet.

Polly said...

Denopac: I don't mind the subtravtion on a long time control, though with enough time built into the schedule it's not really necessary. On the Thursdya night tournament at the Marshall the 5 minutes is a necessary evil otherwise we'd be there until 1:00 am.

Final delay? I guess I haven't spent enough hours curled up with my Chronos manual. In fact I'm trying to find the damn thing so I see if I can get the delay to count down in a two session time control. Both settings I use I just get the little line blinking back and forth. That killed me the last round game.

Tommy: Time delay is supposed to help you when you have a won game, but not much time. Believe me it's very helpful when you have promoted a pawn with 1 second left on your clock. Having an extra 5 seconds allows you to convert the win. Before time delay I often had to take a draw because it was impossible to move the pieces quick enough with 1 or 2 seconds left. There are trade offs with time delay.

Blunder: I knew you were going to be away for you anniversary. I'm sure Mrs. Blunder would not have enjoyed anniversary dinner at the Ground Round in between rounds.

denopac said...

Another thing about the delay/increment: it should be at least long enough to allow one to write down the moves (or input them :-) right to the end of the game. Although I know some people can accomplish this with a five second delay, it seems that fifteen is a little more leisurely.

And Polly, your answer to Tommy re: the end of the game is correct, but it doesn't explain why we need the delay from move one. I think it was a limitation of the clock technology at the time that people were thinking this stuff up. But now we have Final Delay! Spread the word....

Polly said...

denopac: Since I can't find my Chronos manual I'll ask the dumb question. What is final delay? I've seen it come up as I go through the various screens, but I'm not familiar with how it works.

Anonymous said...

Have you played the LEPER II game yet?

Anonymous said...

Above link to the Chronos Manual

Chess Monkey

Anonymous said...

One more time

Chronos Manual

Chess Monkey

Polly said...

Thanks for the Chronos link. Looking through the manula it seems I can't have the move counter and the delay displayed. I think given what happened in my last round I may switch the mode that has the delay displayed and not worry about the clock restting until the time is up.

denopac said...

Polly: What is final delay?

I thought you'd never ask :-)

Let's say FD = 15. In that case there is no delay in effect at all until your time left is less than 15 seconds. From then on until the end of the game whenever you move your time is bumped back up to exactly 15 seconds (note this is different from increment, which would go over 15 seconds). This allows enough time to write (or input) the moves and finish the game, but does not delay the clock until absolutely necessary (I still don't see the point of delaying from move one since the whole point of the exercise is the end of the game).

Polly said...

denopac: I assume that's what the chess byo-yomi modes are for.