Greetings from Delta Flt. 1780 Atlanta to New York. I don't have a lot say, but just thought it would be fun to blog from such heights. Sometimes when I'm playing I think my brain is at 30,00 feet while my game is at sea level.
The slow chess on Thursday nights experiment is over. It's too much like work to schlep down to Greenwich Village once a week to play one game of chess. The slow crowd is not as friendly and sociable as the fast crowd. Maybe I just like life in the fast lane. I'm not giving up on slow chess. I'll still have my Wednesday night slow games, and just maybe I can find some people who would like slow games on Monday. Back to Thursday night cracktion, but not as often.
As it turned out during the six weeks of the slow tournament I ended out playing cracktion three times. The first was because I played like an idiot in the slow game and lost in an hour. I decided I didn't have enough moronic play so I went upstairs and lost three more games. The second time was because I had gotten a bye in round four. The third time was totally unplanned. I wanted to see if I could snap out of my prolonged slump that had encompassed almost two months with a couple of draws and no wins. I really wanted to make the slow time limit work for me. However Caissa had different plans for me in round six.
You've heard the expression "too many cooks spoil the broth." The same can apply to chess tournaments when one director does one thing, and another director does something else. One director had made the round six pairings and told the player who was going to get the bye that she did not have to come that evening. Bad move. 15 minutes before the round a played called in to say he couldn't make it. To make a long story short, they asked me if I'd be willing to play upstairs so that they didn't have to give the bye to a player who had 2.5 points and would win money if he got the bye.
What the heck! The worst that could happen is I have another 0-fer night. That was not to be. After having my usual round one loss against a master I got paired down against a former student. He has yet to join the "ex-students who have beaten Polly club." I thought with the way I'd been playing lately this might be his night. However he got sac happy, and I won. He'll have to wait another day to earn membership into that club.
The next round I got paired against his current teacher. I had a good game against him, but lost on time. I was satisfied with the result. I had not blundered and held my own against him. I just couldn't manage the time so well. Last round I was paired against my long time nemesis, Gabor Schnitzler. I've played him over 40 times and only have 8 wins and a few draws. Too many times I've let him wiggle out of a mess, and he's found a way to win. This would be my night for the cheap shot. I had an edge on the clock, and since he never takes draws until no other choice I played on. In this position he blundered allowing me mate in two with a pawn in a rook and pawn ending.
White to move and blunder. 45. f4??
I did a double take when he made this move, and had to ask myself does 45...f5+ really lead to mate? I played the move and the game continued 46. gxf5 gxf5#. I did not announce mate. One I don't like to do that, and two I was still finding it hard to believe it really was mate. He stuck his hand out to shake. Only then was I sure.
I'm running out of time. I'm in airline time pressure, and soon I'll have to put the laptop away.
By the way, despite my statements to the contrary I will be making another chess trip outside of the grade nationals in Dallas. Thanksgiving weekend I'll be heading out to LA for the 45th American Open. It would have been Jerry Hanken's 45th. It's my salute to a good chess friend who I miss.
Fasten your seat belts, stow tray tables and turn off all electronic devices.