It's taken me a few days to posting about this tournament. By the time I had arrived in Saratoga Springs I had traveled from my house to Albany, from Albany to South Jersey, South Jersey to North Jersey, back to Albany, and then up to Saratoga Springs. Visiting family for the holidays followed by a chess tournament can be exhausting. During that time I spent the night in two different hotels and two different guest rooms at my sister's and friend's houses. It was good to sleep in my own bed last night!
After last year's fiasco, I was looking for signs that this year would be different. The first sign came in the first round when I got paired up against an adult, instead paired down against a little kid. I played adults the first two rounds, and had a 1/2 point more then I did last year after 4 rounds. That's a vast improvement since I started 0-4 last year! In round three I got the inevitable kid pairing, but I didn't really mind. I played one of the girls from New York City that I've played before and have a winning record against. She played a little wildly at the beginning, and paid for it later.
Polly - Lilia 122708.pgn
In round four I played Michael Brooks. He was my last round opponent at the Saratoga Open when I already had the section won. Our game in that tournament was a wild one that ended out a draw. This game was another one with tactical shots. I managed not to blunder anything, and won a pawn. We reached a knight and pawns ending. He offered me a draw in this position:
I probably should declined the draw offer and played more moves. However I was tired and was having trouble counting out even the simplest variation with the knight trade, so I opted to take the draw. It's a simple win if he takes my c pawn and allows me to trade knights. 37. Nxc4? Nxc4 38. Kxc4 Kh4 39. Kb5 Kxh3 40. Ka6 h5 41. Kxa7 h4 42. a4 Kg2 43. a5 h3 44. a6 h2 45. Kb8 h1=Q 46. a7 Qb1+ 47. Kc7 Qa2 48. Kb8 Qg8+ 49. Kb7 Kxf2 50. a8=Q Qxa8+ 51. Kxa8 f5 52. Ka7 f4 53. Kb6 f3 54. Kc5 Ke3 55. Kd5 f2 56. Ke5 f1=Q
I didn't expect him to make that trade, and with knights on the board I don't think I can do much with the extra pawn. 36... Kg5 37. Ke4 Kh4 38. f4 Nc6 39. Nxc4 Ne7 is one possible continuation. With all the pawns being isolated I didn't think there was a win.
Michael and his brother Will were part of a group of Vermonters who came to play in Saratoga. One member of the Vermont contingent was Ben Karren, a student at UVM. He was wearing a UVM Chess tee shirt. I introduced myself and told him I had founded the UVM chess club back in 1974 during my sophomore year. He had started up a chess club again in 2007. We were comparing notes on who still played at the Burlington Chess Club that I would have played when I was there.
Founder 1974 & Re-Founder 2007
University of Vermont Chess Club
I give up on trying to center the caption! If anyone can explain why when I try to center the caption it puts the center code at the top of the page and centers the paragraphs instead of the caption I'd appreciate it. I am severely HTML challenged, and can't get it to work.