Friday, September 5, 2008

NY State Championship: Round 6 (Etiquette Rant)

Despite the length of my round 5 game, I had time to have a nice lunch with a few of the local area players that I know. Just getting out of the hotel and eating somewhere besides Subway helps a lot. Poor David. I think Alan and I started to bore the hell out of him when the conversation went from chess to wineries that we've visited in Napa Valley. It's actually nice to be able to discuss something besides the latest opening theory, or how many people cheat online.

Amazingly enough I had managed to go through the first five rounds without playing anyone under the age 21. My last round opponent looked like he was a college student. Even though I didn't have to play any little kids they still managed to find ways to annoy the hell out of me. Sitting next to my opponent was a local kid who's around 10 years old and rated almost 1700. As I mentioned in my 9+10+9+12=40 post from last December, kids like to hang out and watch their friends play. They don't get to do that in scholastic tournaments, so they tend to take advantage of the the more relaxed floor rules in an open tournament.

At one point I looked up and noticed two kids standing on either side of the kid, "Peter" (name changed to protect the guilty.) seated next to my opponent. They weren't simply standing behind "Peter" they were squeezed in between the people seated on either side him. I'm thinking to myself "I'm glad he's not sitting next to me. I probably tell the kid to his right to back off." I didn't say anything at that point. It's Peter's problem, and if it's bothering my opponent he can say something.

Later some kids are watching from the end of the table next to my board, and start whispering. I say "Shhhh!" and wave them away. They go away, but then a little while later the same two kids came back and start having a conversation with Peter whose opponent is on move. This is occuring at Peter's board. At that point I had to say something. It's distracting for both my opponent and me, and Peter's opponent. I walked away from my board and signaled to the three kids to come over to me. I quietly reminded them of several things. First of all having a conversation in the playing room is not allowed, and especially not at the board. Second thing is if you're still playing you should be concentrating on your own game, not on other people's games. I also reminded them if they were at a scholastic this would not be tolerated whatsoever and could cost the game or lead to their team being penalized.

After my discussion with them ,they scattered, and I had to go outside and get myself recomposed. Once the kids start making noise it becomes part of my problem too. That's why I said something at that point. However giving the little lecture got me distracted so I had just leave the room and pull myself back together. I suppose getting the tournament director would have better, but they probably would have vanished by the time I hunt up Steve, and get him to go into the room. That would have taken more time, then simply giving them the two minute speech on behavior at the board. This was a round that I should have been listening to Bach.

Sometimes these kids don't seem to get it. Late in my game I had just made a move and stood up. I wasn't necessarily standing up to leave the room. I change positions a lot while seated. Sometimes I stand behind my chair. Sometimes I kneel on the chair. I'm get fidgety, especially when the position is complicated and I'm ahead. I'm thinking about what's going on in the position and Peter asks me how many points I have. I said "Two. Shhh!" and waved him off.

Gimme a break! What's with asking me about my score in the middle of game? He was sitting on the board next to me so there was a very good chance we both had the same score. Besides even if we both won there were already a number of under 1800s that already had 3 or 4 points, so we weren't winning the under 1800 prize. Besides I had given him this lecture about not talking to people in the playing room, and there he is talking. I'm sorry I don't care if he's only 10 years old. His rating is almost the same as mine. He's played in enough adult and scholastic tournaments to know better.

End of my editorial rant. I did not rant and rave at the kids, despite what the title implies or what some anonymous reader thinks. Here's the game. This was a heart breaker. The win was there, but I messed up at the end and allowed him the perpetual.


Even though I went a second straight year with no wins, it was a direct reversal of last year's score. Last year it was 1 draw and 5 losses. This year it was 5 draws and 1 loss.


KnightFork said...

You played a good game against somebody over 100 points higher than you. I guess a draw with the black pieces isn't the worst thing that could have happened.

Have a great weekend!

tanc(happyhippo) said...

Hi Polly,

I agree with knightfork. Rather looking at a glass half empty, it's actually half-full! :)

Polly said...

It was a good game, but woulda been nice to finish with an even score against really tough competition. But you're right. After all I could have overlooked the mate threat all together, and not defended at all. Now THAT would have really sucked!

Anonymous said...

Nice game. But i wonder, when you are playing that you look to much at the rating of your opponent instead of just playing your game.

Anyway, well played, congrats!

Polly said...

tiger: I don't play to ratings. I'd rather play higher rated then lower rated players, but that's out of my control. Regardless of opponent's rating I assume nothing from the number. I've gotten beaten by low rated players, and I've beaten higher rated players. I do mention the rating when I post so that people have an idea of the player level.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about your etiquette. Is it proper to deliver rants while your opponent (Peter) is still playing? You summoned a child and told them off during their game??? I think you really need to properly model behavior. Get the TD! It is you who could and should have been penalized for interrupting another players game to deliver a lecture on behavior.

Polly said...

Anon: Perhaps I should clarify the discussion between the kids and me. Sometimes my description of an incident may make things sound worse then they were.

Peter had made his move, stood up and started talking to the two kids that were watching his game. He was the one talking during HIS game. I quietly pulled the three kids to the side, and reminded that they should not be talking in the playing room, and especially during the game. I also reminded them of the consequences especially if they were playing at the national scholastic championships. The whole discussion took about 2-3 minutes if even that.

I was annoyed when after having that discussion with them that Peter comes up and asks me while I'm still at my board what my score is. After our games were done, I discussed that with him to re-emphasize the point about talking to players in the tournament room.

I did not tell the kids off, but I did remind them about watching others games and talking. I have directed at nationals and also coached teams there. I have seen the consequences of this type of behavior at nationals.

The coach in me doesn't want kids to get in trouble for rules violations. I think it's far better for me to butt in at local tournament then for the kid to get in trouble at a national championship.

Perhaps it would have been better to get the TD, though probably probably by the time I summoned the TD the kids may have scattered. I also wasn't looking to get anyone in trouble. I was trying to be helpful.

Rolling Pawns said...

I understand you.
I can say, that when I play online and somebody at home wants something from me/asks me something - in 75% cases I make a mistake (often decisive) in the next few moves.
About a month ago I played in a local tournament. My opponent had a rating almost 500 points higher than me and my position was very tough. Couple of kids, that already finished their game, began to play blitz laughing loudly and hitting the clock really hard. I didn't see TD at that moment, so I just yelled: "Guys! You are making too much noise! It is very difficult to concentrate." They became more quiet, nevertheless I missed the combination strike almost right after that and lost. I would probably miss it anyway and would lose anyway, and I realized that my reaction probably wasn't good, but if it would happen with another opponent in better position I would never regret that shouting.

Polly said...

RP: Sometimes we do things in the heat of the moment that we may regret later. I don't regret how I handled it. It's frustrating to have one's concentration broken by such distractions. Maybe it doesn't bother kids as much. Peter won his last round whereas I missed the shot that allowed my opponent to force the draw.