Friday, November 27, 2009

Greetings from LA!! - American Open

I got home late from Thanksgiving dinner last night. I caught a few hours of sleep, and then got up at 4:00 am New York time. Flew to LA at 6:30 am. The flight arrived 45 minutes early! So instead arriving at 10:00 AM LA time it was more like 9:15. Once again my rule of leaving early worked well. I had no checked luggage. My one bag in the overhead flew business class, I flew coach.

When one flies to LA to play chess it's not so terrible to be playing at a hotel on the airport property. Get off the plane, go downstairs, jump on the free shuttle and in my room before 10:00 am. I was so happy to have my room was ready!! Tried to nap a bit, but ended out going for a walk instead.

In an hour I start my insane schedule. I kept telling myself after Vegas "No more crazy schedules on a different time zone." So I lied. We'll see how it goes. At least I don't have to play a bunch of fast games followed by a slow game tonight. The slow part of the schedule doesn't start for me until Saturday morning.

Off to grab a bite to eat before the round at 12:00 and catch up with my west coast buddies. Hopefully I will have some good wins to share. Heck, I'd take bad wins to share. I hope I don't have any good train wreck stories to share.


chesstiger said...

Have fun. Have some good and have some bad wins to share with us. Good luck in the tournament.

LinuxGuy said...

"I hope I don't have any good train wreck stories to share."

Bwahhaha. hehe. Sometimes, these are the best kinds of stories.

Polly is absolutely wonderful to meet in person!

Chesswise, well let me just say that she was mastered the "Walter Browne" technique of playing chess:

Usually only really strong players will sit on an attack for that long, and then blitz it all out, mating threats, and finally winning a piece out of the blue, all with only seconds left on the clock. Usually the "1 second rule" is supposed to be left for clean-up operations, not for playing out entire winning attacks.

I watched her play one game and we discussed it afterward. The game was dead won, but there was only a second left on her clock, so the last possible blunder left in the position came to pass.

Polly, I think you are massively underrated for the talents that you already possess. I can't play anywhere near as quickly as you do, but I've come to see crazy time-pressure as being in the same category as letting the board beat me instead of allowing my opponent to beat me.

I have a crazy tournament story for you that would surpass even your standards.

On the last day, a bunch of these little kids were running wild all over the place. I wasn't paying much attention to them until I was leaving the bathroom.

They were playing hide and seek tag or something underneath the bathroom stalls, even noticed a little girl running out of the bathroom, and this was the Men's room. They were giggling, laughing and running all over the place at top speed.

The thing I found so funny is one of the kids was an Expert chess player, and here he is still every bit as much of a little kid as the others. They were all doing a good job of answering Silman's questions at the lecture.

Polly said...

Thanks for your kind words. That round 5 was not a typical game for me, but for what ever reason I figured I'd have a little fun before he wiped out all my queen side pawns. I was surprised he responded to my BS knight move, but it worked.

In a few days I'll be ready to talk about the train wreck, I just need to get my mind and body back on East Coast time.

LinuxGuy said...

No problem, you deserve it. You are a good player, better than I thought before the tournament, or you have improved a lot from out of the blue.

He probably correctly figured that he was winning either way, but it also meant that he needed to be more careful going forward, which he clearly wasn't.

To be fair to him, you both made the same mistake, going for mate in the middlegame instead of winning the endgame; but I think that's a typical psychological drawback at B level. At A level their natural reaction will be "forget the middle-game, as this endgame is winning". Not only that, but they may even prefer the endgame, even if it isn't outright winning.

I would bet that both of you realized you had winning endgames, but that it sort of "went against your philosophy" of how to play the game at that point, at least at a more instinctual level.

Totally understand about the time-differences. My body was still used to going to sleep somewhere during round 2, but that wasn't even the hard part for me. The hard part was going back 2 hours on day 3, that gave me a headache that would not easily quit. Felt like the chemicals in my brain were simply all used up from that extra bit of stress.

Polly said...

Linux: It's not so much that I've suddenly improved. I had a rating in the 1800 - 1900 range for a number of years. At times I'm still capable of playing that way. What happened in that game was I made my comeback when I had nothing to lose. I had lost the a pawn, the b pawn was soon to follow and then he just runs his a & b pawns down the board. I was basically screwing around on the king side, and he fell for it.

I'm more relaxed when there is nothing to lose. I can try stuff and the worst that will happen is I'll get mated or lose a little sooner. I'm more uptight when I'm winning. It's being scared of blowing it. Knowing what happens when I'm winning, I just wanted to mate him and get it done with.