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.
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:
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.