Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!

As you may have guessed from the lack of blog posts from Philadelphia, I'm not at the World Open. Somehow paying a $300+ entry fee to get hammered by 1600 rated masters playing in the under 1800 section didn't seem like such a good idea. Paying that entry fee to play up a section was even a dumber idea. So what does a chess junkie do on the 4th of July, when she can't afford the World Open? She gets on the train and heads to New York City.

Welcome to Grand Central!
Rush hour on the 4th of July?

As a kid, one of my mother's frequently used expressions when our house was overrun with all of our friends was; "It looks like Grand Central Station in here." The above photo is the real Grand Central. That's what it typically looks like during rush hour, but today lots of people were looking to leave the city. All these people are standing on line to buy train tickets. I don't know where everyone was going, but certainly not to the Marshall Chess Club.

World Open alternative. Marshall CC Saturday G/60
Round Four

There were a grand total of 12 people playing. By the last round two players had dropped out. I lost to Raven Sturt in the first round. He won the tournament 4-0. It was an unusual tournament for me. My remaining three games were all draws. They were all hard fought draws. I'll post some of the games later.

I've never seen the club clear out so quickly at the end of a tournament. When I left at 9:00 pm the only person left besides the manager was one of the members who didn't even play in the tournament. He was going over some game from a book. I guess everyone else was off to late 4th of July barbecues, or going to see the fireworks. I decided I would go take a walk up to 34th St and over to the West Side for the fireworks.

Empire State Building lit up in Red, White & Blue

I guess for every one person who got on a train to leave the city, ten people came into the city to see the fireworks. I got as far as 33rd and Tenth Avenue and decided I could see well enough from there. It wasn't a bad spot for watching and taking pictures, except when a stupid bus would block our view. I probably should have crossed the avenue, but too many people over there! I took these pictures without a tripod so some of the effects are kind of interesting.

Warming up

I have the camera set to shoot multiple frames in sequence. These next three pictures are the same sets of shells, but with no tripod it's an interesting sequence of movement.


Getting bigger!
More colorful!
Big Bang!! (Polly's brain in time pressure)
Get your 4th of July tacky souvenirs!

Even managed to make a train leaving at a civilized hour. That's two hours earlier then the train I make on Thursdays. I even made it with time to spare. The fireworks finished around 9:55. I walked from 10th Ave and 33rd to Vanderbilt Ave and 42nd in less then 25 minutes. Not bad, considering all the people I had to maneuver around.

If I'm crazy enough I can go back to the Marshall on Sunday and play 5 more games in the Sunday Action. I think I'll go ride my bike instead. Next weekend Polly's traveling chess circus is off to Kansas. My sister lives out there; so combining family visit with chess. No I'm not going by broomstick. "I'll get you, and your little doggie too!!"


CHESSX said...

Great photos,i think it's good to have a nation day.
In England we dont have one,and only get excited over new years eve,but thats for everyone.
Good luck if you go to the Marshall on sunday.

Greg said...

Polly, yours is one of the most entertaining weblogs I visit. It's a human chronicle, not just a dry report. I have the same concerns about big events than those to which you allude: paying a large entry fee to compete against underrated players. Maybe the US Senior Open, since I now qualify for that. :(

Polly said...

Chessx: I resisted the urge to go down and play again today. I decided I would let the positive feelings from yesterday carry me through to next weekend. Instead I went out and rode my bike for 26 miles.

Maybe England could have a good riddance to those pesky colonists day in response to our 4th of July. :-)

Greg: I keep telling myself I'll play in the Senior Open since I won't have to play any little terrors, but it hasn't happened yet. This year's senior conflicts with our state championship. Also if I traveled out there I would probably want to play in the 1st US Women's Open. I could play both, and run back and forth between boards. :-)

Anonymous said...


Can you elaborate on your comment about "1600 rated masters playing in the under 1800 section?" I did notice that the guy who (easily) won the Under 1800 section at WO2009 has played in exactly 3 tourneys since December, 2007, the North American Open in Vegas, in which he first won the under 1200 (2007), and then the next year, he won the under 1500. Then he shows up in Philly this past week with his low 1600 rating and wins the U1800. Coincidence? He seems to be of Armenian descent (there have been a couple of good chessplayers from there, huh?). It's within the rules, but seems like something Goichberg should be concerned with (but don't know what he can do about it).

Polly said...

Anon: You have players who dump to stay down, and they are much stronger then their rating, or in this case you have a player who keeps his rating down, by not playing except in tournaments that he wins big money.

There is a very large Armenian population from the LA area, and there is a big chess academy run by GM MELIKSET KHACHIYAN, and other very strong titled players. There are a number a very strong kids coming out of that program. I don't know if this player is a kid or an adult. The name looked familiar and I 1st I thought it was one the Armenians I played in Los Angeles 2 years ago, but when I saw his history I realized I was wrong.

At the USCF forums there's been a discussion about sandbagging. In the discussion this sort situation was mentioned. The player who saves his good performances for the big events, but doesn't play in between. It used to be a long lay off would hurt a player and make them rusty. Now a long lay off means nothing because someone can we working on their game via ICC, Rybka, taking lessons or a combination of those things.

Unfortunately it's hard to do much about the player who isn't playing. What will be interesting to see now that he has an 1800 floor, is will he then win an under 2000 section. I suppose given the player's history Goichberg could decide to assign him a CCA rating of 2000 and force him into the under 2200 section.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess the rationale is that the sponsors have to have the amateurs' entry fees subsidize the professionals' prize fund, but it is a shame when you see half a dozen GMs, who try to make a living at the game, take away about $250 in prize money when patzers (some of whom look like sandbaggers, especially the guy who won the U1800 at WO, who was NOT an upcoming youngster) go home with $14k. What oh what will Bill do when the guy shows up to play at Xmas time in Vegas in the U2000?

Polly said...

Anon: "What oh what will Bill do when the guy shows up to play at Xmas time in Vegas in the U2000?"

Hopefully he will give him a CCA rating of 2000 and make him play up in the under 2200. There are so many tournaments in California that the guy could play in, including one that CCA runs out there. There's no reason he can't be playing more except to hide his strength without sandbagging in small events.