Friday, July 10, 2009

Kansas Quick Chess Championship

I made the drive up from Hutchinson to Lindsborg this afternoon. For a change the GPS was acting fairly normal. The only issue was when it tried to have me make a left turn into what is now a plaza on the Bethany College campus. That is forgivable since the plaza is part of a street. You just can’t get to that street from the one I was on. I had forgotten to print out the campus map, so I pulled over, fired up the laptop and brought up the map. A laptop computer is a wonderful thing. Don’t leave home without one.

I finally found the building I was looking for. I’m staying in a dorm on the Bethany College campus. It isn’t exactly the Hilton, but for $35 a night one can’t complain. It has beds, and the air conditioning works. Out here functioning air conditioning is crucial. When the daytime temperature hits 100 degrees, opening the windows and turning on a fan just doesn’t do it.

Deluxe Accommodations

Lindsborg is an interesting little town that was settled by Swedes. It’s called little Sweden, and you can see the Scandinavian influences all over the place. All around the town there are these brightly painted horse like animals called dalas. The theme on each one often relates to the building that it’s in front of, and often has cute pun filled name.

"Herd it through the grapevine"

I thought I would find this one in front of the local wine shop. It's actually in front of the Lindsborg newspaper building. Though it turns out the lady that owns the local wine shop also is part owner of the town newspaper.

Two famous people, and one not so famous person pictured.

The Kansas Quick Chess Championship was being held at the Karpov Chess School. The school has it’s own storefront right on Main Street. There’s a large playing room in the front. In the back there’s a kitchen and tables set up for skittles or in this case bughouse. The Kansas Bughouse Championship had been held earlier in the afternoon. There were 8 teams in the event. I can’t believe that one team drove from Kansas City to play in the event, and then were going to turn around and drive back home later that night after playing more bughouse later.

I don’t know if I should take this as a bad omen, but in the first round I’m paired against the only other woman in the tournament, WIM Luidmila Mokriak and she's a no show. She had sent the organizer an email but he didn't get it in time. I won my first round game by forfeit. Damn that sucks. Though if I’m going to win a game on forfeit I’d rather it happen in a quick chess event where I don’t have to wait around very long for the next round. Consequently I got paired up in the next round, and got smashed. Since the time limit is game/10 I have no written record of how ugly it was.

How ugly was that second round game? You see the empty seat in the picture above? That was where I was sitting. As you can tell from the lack of empty seats at the other boards, my game came to an abrupt end.

The third round I got paired up again. It was an exciting game. I managed to win the pawn race to reach the position below.

White to move.

The pieces may not be on the exact squares, but you get the idea. I was able to give checks, and force him in front of his pawn and slowly work my king in. I thought I might have trouble with his having the h pawn too, but I was able to grab that pawn with check. After that it was easy. I did all of that with about three minutes on my clock. I mated him with 58 seconds to spare.

Round four was annoying because I was up two pawns after my opponent sac-ed one and blundered another. However I made some dumb ass move that allowed him to take a knight, and when I recaptured my pawn structure is trashed. He not only got the two pawns back, but he got a very strong attack. That was just one of those games where I lost focus while ahead.

In the last round I played an unrated who also had two points. It was a pretty insipid game that I ended out losing. I don't even remember much about it.

After the tournament was over I went back to the dorm and played bughouse. I enjoy playing bughouse with adults. It has a very different flavor then playing with kids. The tactics are different. Adult bughouse is more positional. I know that sounds strange. They provoke weaknesses without slapping down pieces, then they go for the jugular. Some of these guys are really good, and no matter who I had as a partner we kept getting smashed. One partner I had was terrible. I don't think he had played much before. He kept forgetting to pass me the captured pieces, and the meantime my opponent is just getting loads of stuff from his partner.

Finally there were enough players to have two games going. We let the "pros" have their game, and the bughouse patzers had our game. I did better in the "patzer" division. Around 12:30 AM I decided I really needed to get some sleep. They kept playing. One of the guys I partnered with said he stopped around 2:30. I'm not sure if anyone continued playing. Some were threatening to play until 5:30. I wasn't going to stay up to find out.

10:00 AM is the start of real chess. The time limit is a more leisurely G/120. I don't count quick chess as a serious game. G/10 is just slightly longer blitz chess.


Anonymous said...

Hello Polly,

I was talking to my good friend Jose Gatica, and he said that you two were bug house partners.


es_trick said...

I used to love bug house!

I think it had a detrimental effect on my regular game, though. Developed a bad tendency of making unsound sacs, and then not having replacement pieces to call up for reinforcements.

Polly said...

Ivan: I didn't play in the bughouse tournament, but Jose and I partnered later on when we had a marathon bug house session back at the dorm. Brought back fond memories of college.

ES: I know what you mean about how it can mess with your regular game. When I first learned bug back in high school I remember at a tournament thinking to myself "If I had a knight, I could drop it on that square and win the exchange."

I do think a little is not too bad, because it does force you to think outside the box at times. Playing with no drop mates (which I don't play) makes you calculate more. You have to think about how to mate by dropping pieces on certain squares, and then using them once they're on the board.

Admin said...


Dave said...

Hi Polly. Hope you are well. I played you in the Kansas Open and Kansas Quick last year. Love your blog. Let me know if you ever come out to (or near) K.C. to play again. Take care,

Dave Blair