Sunday, August 8, 2010

The 4th Annual US Open Round 4 Train Wreck

As I mentioned in yesterday's post I felt good and relaxed heading into Friday's rounds.  Friday is a brutal day on the four-day schedule.  Three more games at the G/60 time limit, followed by the merge into the main event for round 7 with the 40/2 followed by G/60 time controls.  I went into the fourth round not thinking about previous years' disasters.

Thursday's 2nd round game with White was pretty ugly.  I was lucky to scrape out a draw in that game.  Here is that game:


That game was in the back of my mind, but I knew that I had to avoid wasting moves in the opening.  I had been happy with my third round play despite losing, so I felt like I could bounce back.  Overall I had been satisfied with my play on Thursday.

After getting through 3 rounds with no kids, that streak came to an end with my 4th round opponent,  a little kid rated 1247.  I had the White pieces.   I stayed with my English Opening despite Thursday's ugly game.   When he replied with 1...e5.  I was perfectly happy to play an Accelerated Dragon in reverse.  Sometimes when I'm playing my Black opening as White it's easy to try to stay "in book" or go back to book.   The problem in trying to with trying to stay or revert to book, is sometimes it's easy to overlook better moves.  When I play the Accelerated Dragon as Black I play 7...Qa5 in the main line.
In this particular game I opted to play 8.  Qa4, however I missed 8. Nxe5 Nxe5 9. d4.  Ultimately playing 8. Qa4 caused many problems as the game progressed.

Sometimes I've had problems with behavior issues when playing little kids in Southern California.  This was not the case.  With the exception of the occasional foray to look at other boards, he was very focused on the game.  I was also happy to note that there wasn't the crowd of friends, coaches and parents coming over to watch.  Mom brought him to the board, and I didn't see her again until after the game was over.

Sometimes things happen that defy explanation.  Mentally I felt alert and calm.  I wasn't anxious, and I certainly wasn't taking the kid lightly despite the rating and the young age.  However all it takes is one bad move and things can go to hell quickly.  I was so the most annoying aspect was every time he gave check he announced it in a voice that could be heard beyond our board.  He was not being obnoxious about it.  He was just letting me know it was check.  I did not need the reminders.  Each pronouncement of check make me want to sink further and further into my chair.  I was being totally crushed and each check was a reminder of the checkmate that was inevitable.  Unlike many of his previous opponents who probably play all the way to mate, I chose to resign.  I asked him how old he was.  7 years old.  At least he wasn't 6 years old.  I've yet to lose to a 6 year old.  I'm sure that day will come.

Here's the game.


Solomon Ge with his coach Joe Hanley

Often when I get smashed by some little kid I take consolation in that his real rating is probably 200 points higher.  I was quite distressed to find out he had dropped almost 200 points since National K-1 Championships. So his pre-event rating is 1077.  Oh well!  One of my friends who was following the game live on Mon Roi told me "He didn't play like any 1200 I know."

I didn't sweat the blow out much.  It left me over 2 hours before round 5.  The advantage of being in a nice location is there is life outside of chess.  I borrowed a bike from the hotel and went out for a nice bike ride on the Mountains to Sea Trail.  It was not a fancy bike, but it served its purpose.

The problem with going into the 5th round with .5 - 3.5 is getting paired way down.  Welcome to the back of the room in the children's zone!

Paired with another little kid was inevitable.  This kid was 8 years old and had a 637 rating.  His September rating is 910, but even so he played way better then that!  It went all the way down to a rook and pawn ending with me short on time.  I did manage to win, but it took 66 moves.

Do I look scared??

Here's the game.


I'm running out of time.  Qick recap of remaining games on Friday.  A draw in round 6 aaginst a young girl, and a long win in round 7 against an older woman. Details in another post.


Anonymous said...

agghh what the heck is wrong with your chess these days??

that qa4 move doesnt make a whole lot of sense. I don't understand why you don't just play normal developing moves vs someone you outclass by several hundred points.
making crazy moves in the opening isn't what an experienced player should do. hehe good luck in the next few rounds though.

BTW, you should either be playing "book" from the opening or else trying to get all your pieces in the game or get a favorable pawn structure.

Anonymous said...

You like to move your queen so much. Taking your queen out on its own and leaving the rest of your pieces idle. Your queen is harassed around and ultimately finds a little piece on its initial back rank square losing lots of tempi in the process. Learn to coordinate your pieces. To first get your light pieces out. Then look to activate your rooks as well. Repeat this mantra often: "Improve the position of my worst piece." "Improve the position of my worst piece." "Improve the position of my worst piece." "Improve the position of my worst piece." "Improve the position of my worst piece." Good luck, your blog is enjoyable reading!

Liquid Egg Product said...

You know how some hotels skip the 13th floor, going straight from 12 to 14? Next year, you should request that they not use the number 4.

LinuxGuy said...

I think it's somewhat chilling that your 637 rated opponent played the Sicilian Dragon better than I did, yesterday, and apparently didn't blunder until move 22.

Agreed that the 1200 level player who you lost to looked more like at least a 1600 level player.

I don't like playing kids as much and getting that "Whah wrong?" look when I don't blitz out an opening for the first ten book moves in under five minutes; it feels like a culture-shift.

Polly said...

Anon: I wish I could figure out what is going on with my game. It's not just the stupid queen moves in the opening it's just overlooking things, and miscalculating. I sometimes feel like that I've lost the ability to calculate, and seem to cease understanding good pawn structures and coordinating my pieces.

Linux: The 637 only started playing in April. His September rating is 950, but even so he played the opening better then some players higher rated then that.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Great updates I love it!

I like the new look on your blog (well, new for me).

LinuxGuy said...

"It's not just the stupid queen moves in the opening it's just overlooking things"

Polly, you are right. I made 3 rook moves in a row just to get it back to where it started, only meant one bad game in a tournament where my rating basically stood still.

I think the calculating part is tactics, or at least for me it is. I can be tactically lazy and it's the tactical shot at the end of my calculations that often blows it for me.

I find it's not just calculations because even if you do calculate right, you still have to assess the value of the position at the end of the line. Sometimes that requires yet more calculation (assuming we wanted to play at Master level).

I think studying tactics gets me in shape better than anything else because one still has to calculate opponent's tactics.

BTW, was I hallucinating? Your first round(?) game looked like a pristine draw against a 2300 player as Black. I thought you were going to have the tournament of your life there for a moment.

Polly said...

Linux: I was very happy with my first round game. I'm not sure if I can hold the draw at the end, however the clock didn't give me a chance to work it out.

Anonymous said...

How often do you fly per year? Your post with the flight upgrade has me seriously interested in loyalty clubs now.

Polly said...

Anon: It varies from year to year, but typically 6 - 10 times. Some years there are promotions that allow me me to pick up more qualifying miles because they double the miles. Other years I've had to make some last minute trip in December to make the 25,000 miles needed to make Gold status.

Last year they had two different periods of double elite miles. Since I had done a total of 4 cross country trips during those periods I got enough miles to make it to Platinum. This year I'll just barely make it to Gold.

If you fly enough in a year to meet an airline's elite tier criteria then it becomes worthwhile to fly one airline, if you don't then maybe just finding the cheapest fare makes more sense.

Though I have an interesting situation where I can fly Delta to one place for 330 or fly American to the same place for 344. American will take longer because of the routing, but is cheaper because I don't have to pay bag fees whereas if I fly Delta, I will have pay bag fees if I end out checking a bag each way.