It's been awhile since I've done one of these posts, but this last Friday was a Wacky Wednesday type of evening. Having gotten back from the west coast on Tuesday morning, I was still rather tired when Thursday came around. Instead of heading down to the Marshall for my weekly cracktion fix, I decided I would wait until Friday and play at a club in Connecticut. I get players that come down from that area to play on Mondays at my club, so I like to try to reciprocate by going up there sometimes.
If anyone has been involved with trying to get a chess club up and running, then he knows that there are some growing pains. Also in these days of Internet play, older clubs sometimes have trouble keeping people coming back for more. We've had that problem at the Bob Peretz Chess Club. At one point in the Fall 2008, we were on the verge of disbanding because we were down to the same 3 to 4 people coming every Monday night. Things picked up all of sudden one Monday before Veteran's Day. Since then we've had decent attendance. Ask me what I did to make it happen. I don't know. People just started coming, and kept adding names to my email list.
I've been trying to help out other local clubs by sending out their announcements to the people on my email list. I was hoping hoping that would bring a few more people on Friday night. It didn't help. Of the 8 people who showed up, only one other person besides myself were from outside of the immediate area. Unfortunately 8 people for quads doesn't always work out well in terms of the sections. One of the things I appreciate about the Westfield Quads is the fact that attendance is usually over 40 which means the sections are going to be pretty reasonable in terms of rating distribution. I've usually been very happy with which section I've been in. The first time I went the rating spread was 1650 - 1705.
So what happens when you have 8 players for quads and 5 of them are rated under 1200? You have a lower section that is of reasonable rating distribution. (1003, 820, 737, unr). Then you have a top section that is totally out of whack. (2269, 2047, 1700, 1177). The TD had though about playing which would have added a 2168 to the top quad and made a 5 player Swiss in the bottom section. That would have made me shark bait for the master and two experts which would not have bothered me in the least. I'm used to that. It would have made for a more pleasant evening for the provisionally rated 1177 that ended out in the top section.
My first round game was actually reasonable. I did have to give up my queen for a rook and a bishop, but I was getting some counter play. My opponent felt I had good drawing chances until I started blundering pawns. In the second round I played horribly against Leif Pressman. The last few times I've played him having White I've made the same mistake each time. I hate when I don't remember what happened the last time I played the same opponent, and make the exact same mistake. It sucks to be senile at 55.
Since the other game in our section was done in about 10 minutes, I resigned fairly quickly. I just wanted get the last game over with and go home. At this point I was totally annoyed about driving 45 minutes up Interstate 95 on a Friday night (East Coast readers will understand!) in order to play like a moron against someone I play a lot at the Marshall. The last round I'm playing the poor kid who is getting crushed in our section. I was his lowest rated opponent, and even I beat him quickly.
This is the game.
Not a beautiful game, but there are some nice examples of pins and a fork. This type of game is always good for instruction.
I felt bad for the kid. It's got to be tough playing in a section when the next lowest rated player outrates you by almost 600 points. I've played plenty of 2300 players, but I don't think I've ever been in a quad with 3 masters. Even when I played in the St. John's Masters I didn't play all 2200+ players. During the four times I played in the event I played a couple of 2000s, 1900s and even another 1700. I knew what I was getting myself into when I entered those events. Then again there are times I think I'm a masochist, and there are plenty of sadists who are willing to beat me up over the chess board. :-)
It's easy to play armchair quarterback and suggest would should have been done. In the same position I might have done the exact same thing the director did in keeping the numbers even. I hate giving byes, but sometimes byes are better then mismatches. However my post mortem analysis suggests that perhaps it would have been better to for the director to play in the top section giving the two players 2000+ at least two decent games, and letting the 1100 player play his peers. Having an odd number in one section is annoying, but I suspect some of the games would have ended quickly enough that one could do cross round pairings by having the bye from the first round play the first player to lose. That player becomes the second round bye.
I think I'll hold off making that trip again. I'll stick to my own quads or Westfield.