Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sometimes They Listen

I've written a number of stories regarding the various kids I've encountered in tournaments.  On more then one occasion I've been known to say something either to the kid and/or his parents.  Sometimes I've been critical of their behavior.  Other times I've just offered some advice that I felt would help them in future events.  Sometimes people don't agree with what I've said, and they've let me know it.  Though most of the criticism has come from the commenter, Anonymous.  There are times where perhaps my remarks have been over the line, but my intentions are good. 

I feel teachers, coaches and parents have a responsibility to make sure their students and children are conducting themselves in a manner that reflects the child's good character.  As a teacher and coach I put a lot of emphasis not only on how they play the game, but how they treat tournament directors, chess volunteers and their opponents.  At my high school there was a plaque on the building next to the athletic fields.  It said "Win without boasting, lose without excuses."  It's a philosophy I've tried to follow not only in chess, but in the other sports I've competed in through out my life.

Sunday I played at the Westfield Quads.  I ended out at the bottom of a quad where my opponents' ages were 13, 9 and 7.  Their ratings were 1872, 1795 and 1719 respectively.  In the first round I got beat up by the 13 year old girl.  The 7 year old beat the 9 year old.

In the second round I played the 9 year old and the 13 year old beat the 7 year old.  The 9 year old had time pressure issues in the first round, and again in the second round when I played him.  I didn't pay much attention to him in round one, but when playing him I could help but to notice what was contributing to his time management problem. 

He spent a lot of time on moves in the opening.  I find in these fast time control (g40 with 5 second delay) games it's important to try not to waste time in the opening.  There are times where you will need to take time in the opening, especially it's tactically sharp and you're not familiar with the opening.  There was nothing overly tactical about my opening.  I played the English and it was fairly quiet and routine. 

However the problem wasn't the time spent on moves, it was the time spent checking out other games.  At one point he made a move and immediately left the board.  I made my move fairly quickly, and he was still watching a friend's game.  Then he and the friend started having conversation in the tournament room.  Then he noticed I had moved.  This happened several times during the game.

I did get my bishop trapped and I did get a couple of pawns for it, but he was going to win one of them back.  

The position to the left is how the game ended.  Black lost on time.  He didn't even seem to be aware of the time remaining on his clock.  He went into a deep think and used up his remaining time.  It's not an easy win for him, but with time he should be able to win. One possible continuation might be 1... Nf6 2. Bg2 (White can't play 2. Bxg6? because of 2...Bxd4 3. exd4 Qg5+ 4. Kh1 Qxg6) 2... Bxd4 3. exd4 Qxd4 4. Qxd4 Rxd4 5. Ra1 Bd7 6. Ra8+ Kf7 7. Ra7 Rxd3 8. Rxb7 Rd1+ 9. Bf1 c5

Who knows how the game would have continued if he had more time.  However this is not a game one should lose on time if he has Black's position.  I felt a little bad about how it ended, and the inner coach within me thought it might be appropriate to say something to him before the next round.

I couldn't find him until right before the third round was to begin.  When I saw him I praised him for his good play, and felt he should have won.  I told him with such a short time control it's better not to leave the board, and that he shouldn't be talking to people while he's playing.  I also reminded him that he needs to be more aware of how much time he has on his clock. 

He seemed to have taken my advice.  In round three he never left the board, and I saw him checking out the time on the clock.  He went on to beat the 1872.  This opened the door for me to tie for first in the quad if I won my last round game.  Unfortunately for me I was having my own clock issues.  The game got rather tactical and I managed to win the exchange.  I was using my time to make sure I wasn't walking into any forks where I would give back the exchange.  I fell way behind on time and had stopped keeping score.  At some point during the time scramble I did pick off his knight.

Here's the game up to the point where I stopped notating:

I'm not use how many more moves we had played to a position that roughly looked like the one to the left. Unfortunately I  had a brain fart.  I inexplicably played Rxc5 which led to all the rooks coming off the board.  We captured the remaining pawns to end out with lone kings.

Sometimes I need to listen to myself when discussing time pressure and how much 5 seconds really is.  It wasn't like I only had 10 seconds left.  I had 44 seconds and my opponent had 87 seconds.  I got sucked into the frenzied moving of pieces that occurred after we both stopped keeping score. 

I always have a debate with one of my teaching colleagues who gets on my case about continuing to keep score when I get below 5 minutes.  I can keep score with the Mon Roi without using up all 5 seconds of the delay.  For me the extra glance at the position on the unit as I'm inputting helps me be a little more aware of the position.  Once I stop notating the game turns into blitz chess.  I don't do so well with blitz chess.


LinuxGuy said...

I got someone to lose to me last week because I got them going into that "blitz flurry.

With the 5-second delay, it's the moves on the board that get's ya, not the clock. I like the non-recording of moves part, I feel like the odds are more in my favor when it comes to blitzing an endgame.

LinuxGuy said...

See, that was such a simple win you had, Kg4 followed by Rh3 as your other rook is doing a good job right where it is.

If he backs his rook to the 6th rank, you'll play Rh5 and then get your king to h5 to win the h-pawn.

I've blitzed out so many endgames online. I know how what you did happens, but perhaps you aren't comfortable blitzing endings yet(?)

Polly said...

I'm not 100% sure if that's the correct position, but I got fixated on the idea of trying to win the pawn. There were a number of simple wins. My little 7 year old opponent pointed out that I should have simply pushed the b pawn. It's rather humbling listening to a little 7 year old speaking in childlike tone of voice as he explains where the win was.

chesstiger said...

In the commemts of the first game shown you write: (White can't play 2. Bxg6? because of 2...Bxd4 3. exd4 Qg5+ 4. Kh1 Qxg6), i wonder what you will play after white plays 5. Rg1 pinning the Q who may not move since the K is standing behind her.

Liquid Egg Product said...

"Win without boasting, lose without excuses."

This is a great piece of advice, mainly because it gives you free rein to do whatever you want after a draw. I usually take the opportunity to moon my opponents.

Polly said...

Tiger: 5. Rg1 is annoying but Black plays 5...Rxg1+ 6. Kxg1 Rxd3. 2 pieces and a rook seems like enough compensation for the queen.

LEP: LOL I'l remember that. No rules for draws. :-)