Friday, September 10, 2010

2010 New York State Championship Switcheroo!

The report on how the big guys fared can be found at the US Chess Federation site Labor Day Madness I.  My pictures are included on the New York portion of the write up.  My name appears on the photo credits, but you will not see me listed amongst the winners.  Just one of those weekends.

All I can say about this tournament is, it was a weird one for me.  There are inherent dangers when one plays in the same tournament year after year.  I should have learned my lesson in February when I just assumed that the Saratoga Open would have the same format and schedule as previous years.  Instead I discovered late on Friday evening that the tournament started already.  This wasn't a scheduling mishap, it was just not knowing the section formats had changed.  Usually there has not been an Under 1800 section, but there has been an Under 1800 prize in the Under 2000 section.  Last year with a good Monday and a lot of right things happening, I managed to take a share of that prize.

Out of habit I entered the 2 day schedule of the Under 2000 section.  It was only after this exchange on facebook that I found out there was an under 1800 section.

  • Meghesh Pansari im gonna be one of the bottom seeds. my published is about 100 points lower than my current rating xD hopefully i can perform well and i just wanna place with 5/6
    September 2 at 4:00pm ·

  • Matt Slomski so a low seed? sounds like we might get paired since you will make an "upset" win over a low 1900 guy the first round and then I might have to play you the second or third even. lets hope we don't get paired so we can both have a shot for 1st without having to knock one another out
    September 2 at 4:48pm ·

  • Meghesh Pansari yeah im gonna be a very low seed :D mwahahahaha. so i should get some "upsets" like you said in the first couple rounds. hopefully this time i play more consistent that last year tho. 2.5/3 with good upsets...then 3 losses in a row smh
    September 2 at 4:57pm ·

  • Polly Wright ‎1818 isn't REALLY low seed. @1726 I'm a REALLY low seed.
    September 2 at 6:09pm · ·

  • Meghesh Pansari you know there's a U18 section right?
    September 2 at 6:10pm ·

  • Polly Wright No. In past years there been Under 2000 with an under 1800 prize. Last year I actually tied for 1st under 1800 in the under 2000 section.
    September 2 at 10:35pm · ·

  • Meghesh Pansari there is actually in under 1800 section this year
    September 2 at 10:35pm ·

  • Polly Wright
    LOL I entered under 2000 out of habit. The way I've been playing lately it may not matter which section I play in. I can get clobbered by 1800s or by 1600s.

    I may switch depending on what the various sections look like. If there are bunch of little kids rated 1400 who are playing up I may just stay in under 2000.
    Being rather disgusted how I played the previous week, I didn't really feel like it mattered what section I played.  Sunday morning I arrived at the playing site for our annual state association meeting.  I told Steve he could leave me in the Under 2000 section or switch me if there was an odd number.  He left me in the Under 2000 section.  In the first round I got paired against Robert Campbell.  This is the second year in a row we've been paired in the first round.  It was also the 4th time in the last 5 years we've played each other in this particular tournament.  I drew with him last year.  

    A draw was possible this year. Unfortunately I spent most of the game slightly worse, and had clock issues.  Just when I thought I could hold, I made a couple of marginal moves and let his king get in.  A rook pawn wins when there are other pawns on the board.  Unfortunately as one can see from the position below, there were other pawns.

    Position after 60...Ka3. Mate in 3
    Too bad White has that f pawn that can move.

    Here is the entire game that leads to the final position.

    At the time I thought I played alright, but in looking at the game later I realized my play was indecisive and overly cautious at times.  My opponent probably could have taken advantage of the position earlier.  However I felt as though choosing the Under 2000 section was an alright choice.  However the tournament director had other ideas at this point.

    When there are 3 different schedules to choose from and 6 sections sometimes there are weird section configurations.  The Under 2200 section started with only 2 players.  If 2 more players couldn't be found then those two players would have to play a 3 game match for their 3 rounds on the 2-day schedule.  Steve offered Evan Rabin a free re-entry on on the 2 day schedule with a 1/2 point bye for round one.  This actually worked out well for him as he went on to tie for first in the section. 

    Steve also drafted Anatoly Ostrovskiy to fill in as the house player.  Anatoly is always available for house player duty while his son Aleksandr is playing.  I've played Anatoly on more then one occasion when he's being house man so that I didn't get a bye.  Now with 4 players Steve could make somewhat sensible pairings until the merge.

    The Under 2200 section wasn't the only section with pairing issues.  The Under 2000 section had 5 players including me after a late arrival made it an odd number.  The under 1800 section only had 3 players.  One player had to take the full point bye as the low rated player in the section.  At this point Steve offered me a free re-entry to move to the Under 1800 section.  Me re-entering?  It's certainly not something I would pay to do, but since I had not really cared about which section I was in, it's was worth a clean slate with a 1/2 point bye in lieu of the loss incurred in the other section.  The loss still counted for rating, but no big deal.  I played up 200 points and I'm on my floor.

    Having to playing little kids with 1400 ratings was not going to be a problem.  Of the 3 players who had entered the 2 day schedule, two of them were higher rated then me.  I would end out playing both the higher rated players.  My second round opponent was a 6th grader from Burlington Vermont.  That's my old stomping grounds, and he and his father know many of the people that were there when I was playing chess up there in the 70s.  It was a fairly quiet game and we got into an ending with 6 pawns, a queen and bishops of opposite colors. 

He just played 35...Bd4.  We both had under 3 minutes.  Since we were playing the two day schedule the time limit for the first 3 rounds was game/40 with a 5 second delay.  I thought the position was rather drawish so I played 36. a4 and offered a draw.  He turned it down immediately.  That didn't surprise me since I find most kids like to play these positions out with not much time left.  What did surprise me was the real reason he turned down the draw.  I had missed 36...Bxf2 winning a pawn.  36. Bd3 or 36. Bf3 eliminates that threat, and then drawing chances are more realistic.

What a sick feeling when I offer a draw after playing a random move that loses a pawn.  I suppose worse would be offering a draw, and getting mated on the next move.  At that point I was rather annoyed with myself, and starting thinking "How could you have missed that? What a stupid move." etc.  The problem when those thoughts cross my mind it's hard to focus on the position itself.  I wasted time trying to find a way to perhaps get the pawn back.  It didn't take long to determine that:
a) I'm not getting the pawn back any time soon.
b) Don't play 37. Qxf2 since that will be followed by 37...Qxe4+ and picking up at least one more pawn after I move my king. 
Keeping the bishops on the board would be my only hope for holding the position.  The game continued 37. Kh3 Bc5 38. Bg2 Qe5 39. Bf3 b6 40. Kg2 f5 White loses on time.  It probably would have been difficult to hold even with enough time, but it would have been nice to have the time to try.

So now I've managed to lose a game in each section.  So much for the fresh start with the re-entry.  It's games like that one which reminds me why I don't re-enter.  Why throw good money after bad by re-entering and losing again? However since I didn't have to pay for the privilege of losing in two different sections, it wasn't a terrible thing.  I still would get a decent pairing for round 3.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Polly's NY State Championship.


LinuxGuy said...

In the first game, you play Bh3 to trade bishops. Your opponent was the one with the bad bishop, you should be making that person move theirs down to f3 to force the trade.

You could have been opening up the queenside to try and get a hanging pawn to attack or trade rooks - maybe even get one of those situations where b-file is open and an a6 pawn protects a rook on b7! - to reach a bad-bishop ending. Your king went to the h-file where their is no way out, instead of over the queenside.

In the second game, what I've learned to do is always have a plan or the best move picked out before offering a draw. That way, the draw offer won't serve to distract you and becomes wise for the opponent to accept.

Ken Chamberlain said...

I also played Robert Campbell. In the second round. I was fortunate enough to get a draw against him. He always gives me a tough game. I remember hearing him say, as we contemplated the first round pairings, that he always seems to get paired against you.