Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Random Thoughts From 30,000 feet. (edited at 0 feet.)

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.


LinuxGuy said...

It depends how well that you use the extra time.

Most of the people I play at slow chess, they are basically just waiting for me to move. They move quickly, so it probably doesn't make any difference to them what the time control is, whereas I may 'put it all together', concerning a long-plan from a position, during a 20 or 30 minute think. Somehow, I think Reshevsky would understand.

Polly said...

I will be discussing what happens to me in longer time controls in a upcoming post. It's not that I don't use the extra time, but I have ADD issues that cause me to either over think on the wrong thing, or totally forget about important ideas about the position that I had found earlier.

LinuxGuy said...

I think that same phenomenon you are describing is what happened to me in my round 3 game on Halloween. I was eyeing Bh6 all game, like mad ADD.

All kinds of thoughts and moves were swimming around in my head and I didn't know how to proceed, but intuition and analysis met right at the end, but perhaps a 25 minute think on one move.

I played Nf5xBe7, then Nb5 (threatening his a7 pawn, I believe), then Nb5-d6 threatening his Rc8 (Rc6 is best, but Black is still in trouble), then swung that knight on d6 to f5 where the original knight was, gaining a tempo with attack on the queen. And with that bishop now gone, the knight had fork tricks against his queen and Rf8, and the Bh6 move actually came into play, but he avoided that line by keeping his queen safe.

After the game, he suggested a response that should have lead to Bh6 (which he saw), and I said "Well, I probably at least have Bf4, winning the exchange", but that would actually have been a blunder, as he pointed out. I didn't really forget the move, I was simply clearing my mind in order to attempt to discover other possibilities, just in case I needed to be able to play a different response.

The amazing thing that I took away from that game is how my tactics were faster than his f6 pawn push. Possibly the best sequence of chess moves that I have ever played, and it's definitely not something that I could have blitzed out beforehand. It would have been easy to have made a more reactive/defensive move that would fail.

chesstiger said...

Slow time controle players arent less fun to be with then quick time players but i guess sometimes during a game they may be more grumpy if in a bad position since its one game per night and not three or more like in a quick time control, so slow time players take the result of the game they play and the time they play a bit more serious then quick time players.

But nevertheless, in my 21 year of being an official chess player i have encountered little to none bad behaviouring chess players. Maybe i am lucky in that way.

Wahrheit said...

Schnitzler = Carver. This time you were the Carver!

Polly said...

Tiger: I think it's harder to play out bad positions over an extended amount of time. In a short time control such as game/30 if I'm getting slowly crushed there's always the knowledge that one way or another, the longest I will have to endure the position is an hour. In a slow time control such as G/120 the game could go for 4 hours. It's physically and emotionally exhausting to defend a losing position for such a long time.

In terms of behavior amongst chess players, for the most part the majority of my opponents have been well behaved and exhibited proper sportsmanship. However when one has played for 35+ years, the probability of running into a jerk or two increases. Add directing to the mix and the probability increases a hundredfold.

Wahr: Lol ain't that the truth! Glad to see you're still amongst the living.

Anonymous said...

2 questions:

1. How many frequent flyer miles do you have?

2. Will you marry me?

LinuxGuy said...

Which section do you think you will play in at the American Open?

I think I will be there, not sure yet. If I go, still haven't decided whether I will play in my own section or play up; perhaps it will be U2000.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Polly said...

Anon: 1. Not enough!, 2. No.

Linux: I haven't entered yet. I think I'm probably going to play in my own section. I'll probably wait until right before the advance entry fee deadline, and then make up my mind for sure about my section.

LinuxGuy said...

My dad's side seems to play this game every year "We don't know what we are going to do for Thanksgiving this year!"

I am thinking to myself "Look, I can play rounds 1 and 2, if we don't know what we are doing this year. We do the same thing every year for about 2 decades now, how could you not know?"

Part of me wants to play all 8 rounds, and the other part of me thinks that's positively insane.

I'm leaning toward playing U2000. I could play U2200, could even go for the "bag a Master" bit, but I don't know what that accomplishes besides ego-gratification. Would I really be a better chess-player for doing so? Probably not.

If I am only seeing 2-3 moves ahead instead of 3 or 4 moves, then I am still the same player no matter who I am playing. Unless I think that I have nothing to learn from an U2000 player in a 40/2 G/1 game(??!) Or unless I think I am going to run into kids playing up "How about a draw? Okay how bout now? hmm? draw we shall it?"

Well, if I for some reason don't up and leave CA before Thanksgiving, I think I will play within my section.

Polly said...

I'm not coming out until Friday morning. My flight gets into LAX at 10:30. 8 rounds is kind of nuts. I did manage it when I played in 2007. However that time I was already 1/2 way across the country since I had Thanksgiving in Kansas.

This year Thanksgiving is in New Jersey. Too bad I didn't know that when I booked my flight. I could have flown out of Newark, instead of JFK.

I agree with your logic about which section to play. At this point I'm not sure there is much benefit to playing 1800 & 1900s if I'm not able to far enough ahead, or if my attention span goes off on a tangent.

LOL @ the "wanna draw?" kids. The easiest way to deal with them is after the 2nd request, give them a "death stare" and say "If I want a draw I'll tell you. Don't ask me again." j/k about the death stare, but I do politely say "If I want a draw I will offer, so please don't make another draw offer."