Monday, August 16, 2010

Very Belated US Open report: Rounds 6 & 7

I know this is over a week after the fact.  That's what happens when I continue on with a vacation after the US Open.  Thoughts of the tournament get pushed to the side as I enjoy the true vacation part of my trip.  Considering the ugly ending to my tournament, there were good reasons to put it out of my mind, and enjoy my time in San Diego.  Details will follow in a separate post.  A few pictures from San Diego and then chess.

Beach at Torrey Pines

Up close and personal with giraffe on photo caravan tour

She looks like she wants a belly rub, but who's going to volunteer?

I could fill up several weeks worth of posts with pictures from the Wild Animal Park, but I will resist the urge.  However if one would like to see more of my pictures click here.

Back to chess:  Having squeezed out the long win againts the 8 year old 600, I still had two more games to play.  One more at G/60 and then round 7 at the normal time control of 40/2.  Once again I played a lower rated kid though at least her age was in double digits.  She's 11.  The game was very quiet.  No big mistakes on either one of our parts.  I played 30. Rfc1 to reach the following position.  I offered a draw which she accepted.

One my friends saw the position and made the comment that there was a lot of play left.  I didn't really see a clear cut way to gain some advantage.  I had around 11 minutes left and my opponent had 21 minutes.  Considering the clock issues I had in earlier rounds, I didn't want to risk getting even further behind on the clock.  Also knowing I had another round to play, I felt getting a draw at this point would give me more time to relax before round 7.

Little did I know how wise it would be to conserve energy for the 7th round.  I was paired against a much older woman who took a lot of time on many of her moves.  Sometimes I've had difficulty with the transition from the fast time control to the much slower 40/2 G/60 controls.  There have been many times where I've played too fast because my mind is still thinking in "fast mode".  I was not having that difficulty in this particular game.  I think part of it was due to how much time I did use in most of my G/60 rounds.  Two of them I flagged and one game I had a minute left when I won.  Given those games I was happy to have more time to think things out.

Sometimes I'm not sure whether it's worse playing hyper kids or elderly adults.  My last game against a much older opponent did not turn out well for me. This time I was hoping the rating difference and the time of day would work in my favor.  She opened with 1. d4 which made me groan to myself since I'm not particularly fond of playing against d4, especially if it goes into some sort of Colle or Stonewall type set up.  It ended out be neither.  It was sort of a Queens Gambit-Kings Indian Attack hybrid.

There were going to be queen side development problems if I wasn't careful.  I played 8...Na6 since c6 was occupied by my c pawn.  She played 9. a3.  I guess she was concerned about my knight coming into b4 and attacking her queen.  That wasn't really my plan at that point so when she wasted a move with a3 I decided I would take the pawn on c4.  I knew I was allowing her e4 with the threat of e5, but I wasn't overly concerned since the threat was easily defended.  She should be able to get the pawn back relatively easily, but she wasted time by playing a4 which allowed my knight to come to b4 followed by d3.

The first 25 moves took a little over two hours.  She was using more time then me, but I had managed to not be bouncing off the walls.  Though I had stayed seated that didn't mean I was totally still. Sometimes I bounce my legs up and down when I get really nervous.  I wasn't at that stage, but I had started fiddling around with the captured pieces.  I wasn't tapping them on the table or making noise with them. I just would pick one up and fiddle with it between my fingers.  I guess it may have been in my opponent's line of sight because she got really annoyed with me and told me to stop it.  I put the piece down and regretted the fact that I had left my beaded bracelet at home.  Often I will take the bracelet off and hold it in my hands under the table.  The beads have a nice texture and gives me something to do with my hands while I'm thinking.

By move 28 I was up 3 pawns, but she was defending tenaciously.  It took almost an hour to play the next 10 moves.  I was getting increasingly antsy because I had a protected passed pawn on c3, but she had blockaded it, and I was having trouble coming up with a plan to bust through.  One of my other little quirks when I'm restless is playing with my Mon Roi stylus.  I used to chew on it, but after a couple incidents where I bit on it wrong and launched it I decided perhaps that wasn't such a good idea.  I like keeping it in my hand because sometimes I end out dropping on the floor.  I try to make sure I don't tap it on the table.  I've had to tell a few opponents not to tap it on the table or pieces.  I'm not sure what I was doing with it this time, but once again my opponent snapped at me.

I was getting frustrated with myself because I'm up 3 pawns and I can't make progress.   I'm almost afraid to make any sort of motion lest I incur her wrath again over my quirky fidgeting.  I resorted to tapping my stylus on my leg to resolve the twitchy hands issue.  Finally after 4 hours I come up with a plan to chase the rook off c2.  She resigned when she saw my knight was coming into a3.  Once her rook vacates c2, I can push the pawn.  She'll end out losing a rook to stop the promotion.  After the game is over I whispered something about how well she defended.  At that point she tells me I need to speak up because she's hard of hearing.  I guess it wasn't that I was making noise when I was fiddling with the piece and stylus.  I wonder how she fares against the little hyper kids who are far more restless then me.

Here's the game.


Next: Chess and chess politics don't mix.


LinuxGuy said...

Smart to take the draw with only 11 minutes. It would be like pulling teeth to orchestrate White's attack here.

Perhaps a4, b3, Qd2 (and if ...Qd4, e3), Qc2, and Bf1 before pushing b4. hehe. I dunno, definitely something from a higher-level of chess than class play, or just don't do anything bad I guess.

This is why I don't find quick-time controls as attractive, either get a great attack as White or offer a draw for the sake of time.

Round 7, after a4 it looked like an Expert playing a C level player, you never looked back. Instead of a4, I think e5 would have given her an interesting attack, but you didn't offer her a chance to find out. ;-)

It's nice that you get to visit San Diego and not just remember that you got on a plane to play a bunch of kids. I'll take playing a much older person any day over a hyper kid. I hate it when kids give that bewildered look or like I am senile for taking too much time. I usually _feel_ senile for taking too much time! hehe.

But it seems like I am going have to play in some of these G/60 tournaments on the weekend if I still want to be "with it." That appears to be the popular thing here.

Actually, I have heard that sort of "c'mon, move!" under a kids breath a couple times, angry-like. Infrequent, but adults never do that. I do enjoy G/90, however.

Polly said...

I like game/90 because it's long enough to have time to think, but not so long that I get bogged down with thoughts like "OMG this game is taking forever!"

e5 was definitely a good move for her. It appears she would be able to get the pawn back eventually and force me to lose a few tempi. Instead she was the one wasting tempi with moves like a4 and h3. Too bad not all my opponents waste moves like that. :-)