Here is a conversation that came up several times during the course of the day.
Local: “You’re from New York?”
Local: “Are you visiting friends out here?”
Local: “So what brings you out here?”
Me: “To play chess.”
Local: “You came out here to play in this tournament?”
I guess people found it fascinating that I would travel all the way from New York to play in a local tournament in Washington State. What can I say? I like to travel, and I like to play chess. With frequent flier miles to burn, why not add another state to my repertoire? 22 down, 38 to go. Besides I got the pleasure of spending a few hours with blogger extraordinare, DK-Transformation.
I don't quite win the "traveled the furthest" prize. There is a player from Sweden who is in the area for business. He figured he'd look to see if there was anything happening here chess wise. As luck would have it there's this tournament. Talk about good fortune! Caissa smiled kindly on this fellow. As for me....Caissa can be a two faced _____. (fill in with your own colorful noun.)
I did not mention one thing that DK did for me. When we were making plans to get together, I mentioned that I needed to go out and buy something to sleep in. I had managed not to pack any tee shirts, which are my preferred sleep attire. He offered to give me a tee shirt so that I didn’t need to go out and buy something. Though he did not give me the shirt off his back, it was the next best thing. Thanks!
I thought perhaps since the shirt said Shamrocks on it, and had a picture of one, just maybe the luck of the Irish might be with me. I guess Caissa is not Irish. She did tease me in the first round. I got paired against a kid. (So what else is new?) We reached this position after my move 16...Nh7.
I'm bemoaning the fact that he has 17. e6 Bxe6 18. Qxd8 Rfxd8 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20. Bxe7
Rd7 21. Rxe6 Nc4. The inner pessimist is sitting there thinking "Here we go again. Some kid is going to win some pawns and grind me down to nothing." For what ever reason he didn't play that line. Instead he played 17. Re2. Disaster averted!
After 28...Rc2 we reach this position.
He played 29. b3 allowing me to play ...Rxa2. The game continued 30.
Nc5 Bf5 31. Ne4 Rc8 32. Rd2 Rxd2 33. Nxd2 Rc3 34. Rxc3 bxc3 35. Nc4 g5 36. hxg5 hxg5 37. Ne3 c2 38. Nxc2 Bxc2 39. b4 e6 40. f4 Bf8 41. fxg5 Bxb4 42. Bf4 a5 43. Bc1 Bc3 44. Kf2 Bxe5 45. Ke3 Kg7 46. Kf3 Kg6 47. Kg4 a4 48. g3 Bf5+ 49. Kh4 Bc3 50. Ba3 e5 51. Bc1 e4 52. g4 Be6 53. Kg3 Be5+ 54. Kh4 Bd6 55. Bb2 a3 56. Bc3 a2 57. Kh3 Kxg5 58. Bb2 Bxg4+ to reach this position.
For a change it's my opponent with the clock issues. I went into the ending with a big edge on the clock. I took advantage of the time edge and my two pawns coming at him. His lone bishop could not be in two places at once. The game continued like this. 59. Kg2 Bf3+ 60. Kf2 Bc5+ 61. Ke1 f5 62. Bc3 Bb4 63. Bd2+ Bxd2+ 64. Kf2 a1=Q 65. Kg3 Qg1+ 66. Kh3 Qg2#
After this game I felt as though perhaps Caissa would treat me kindly for the remainder of the tournament. My second round game quickly dispelled me of that notion. I got paired against another kid, though older and higher rated then my first round opponent. It was my turn to have clock issues. My last move was made with 1 second left. I guess that's as good a reason as any to overlook Black's killer move.
At least I didn't have world wide internet audience watching on Mon Roi. In round three I played an adult. It was just one of those blah games where I dropped the a pawn fairly early and knew it would only be a matter of time before my b pawn would fall. Once that one goes then his a & b pawns will come storming down. I kept thinking to myself "Maybe I should just resign this game and save my strength for the 4th round." The fourth round would be the merge round, and I'd be playing the slower 40/2 G/1 time controls. I have trouble resigning when I'm only down a pawn. There is the possibility that maybe I'll get the pawn back or be able to hold on. One never knows. I played on for awhile, but then was so disgusted with the position I finally packed it in.
I was hoping my strategic resignation would give me a chance to pull myself together and catch a breather before round four. Sometimes I think I should just take a bye in round three or four so that I can make a smoother transition from G/60 to the traditional time controls. However no matter how many times I play the accelerated schedule at a tournament and tell myself "Take a bye.", it doesn't happen. I play all the scheduled rounds, and either I lose horriby in the last fast game, or the first slow game. True to form in the first slow game, I manage to play for two hours and lose in 17 moves. That game is Wacky Wednesday material, so look for it later this week.
The evening wasn't a total bust. There was a group of adults playing bughouse. That is rare thing to see. Bughouse is mostly played by rowdy kids or a few token over grown children like myself. How does playing bughouse with adults compare to playing with kids? It's quieter, both amongst the players and over the board. I didn't have my partner telling me " Gawd you suck", and the trash talk was more refined. I guess "refined trash talk" is an oxymoron. It was fun playing with the locals. What made more interesting was that none of these guys were playing in the main tournament. They just came to play bughouse. I never did find out what any these guys ratings were. Then again, ratings are meaningless in bughouse.
Stay tuned for more reports from Washington.