Saturday, September 11, 2010

Even Score After Four

Spoiler alert! My title gives it away.  I did get a win on Sunday.  In round 3 I got paired against a 1790.  I couldn't get paired any higher in the section since he was the number one seed in the section.  He had 1.5 points, but since there were only 4 of us in the 2 day schedule I had to play him despite only having .5.  He had beaten my 2nd round opponent and had drawn with the other player in our little foursome.  I'm thinking to myself that I have my work cut out for me.  I'm also thinking that if I lose again I may just shoot myself.  Not really, but I might just not come back after my 4th round bye. (More about that later.) 

I did tell Steve if I lost again in the Under 1800 I would want to go back into the Under 2000 section with all the 1/2 points byes I'd be entitled to.  I figured playing in the Under 2000 section with 1.5 points worth of byes would be better then staying in the Under 1800 section with 1 point worth of byes. Fortunately that became a non-issue.  The game was a back and forth affair with both of us missing chances to gain a material or positional advantage. 

At one point I was convinced I was going to get my queen trapped, but he didn't play the move.  As it turns out the queen doesn't get trapped, but White will have a strong position.  It got a little hairy towards the end as we both were short on time.  I mated with 9 seconds to spare.  He missed the defense that puts mate off for 5 moves.  hopefully with 9 seconds I would find all the correct moves.  However one never knows when the clock is running down.  Here's the game:


In past years I've had timing issues with round 4 when trying to make plans to meet up with my sister.  This year that was not an issue since she left Sunday morning to visit a friend and wouldn't be back until late Monday or Tuesday.  However I did have a conflict.  I had been invited to a party that was near where I live.  3 other people in the tournament were attending this same party.  At first I thought they would play three rounds, go to the party and not come back.  I didn't want to play half the tournament and go home, so initially I declined the invitation.  However I noticed all of them had requested 4th round byes, but not byes for Monday's rounds. I found out they were planning to come back and play on Monday.  I decided I would attend the party and come back with them to play on Monday.

Why was I willing to attend this party over 2 hours away, spend the night at home and come back on Monday to play the last two rounds?  Am I nuts?  Perhaps, but there were two good reasons to attend.   The main purpose was to inform people about Chess for Change, a charitable organization that is bring chess to children in South Africa.  This is something that really interests me because I would love to go to Africa for chess or to volunteer for a Earthwatch project.  These are things on my "bucket list".  The other reason to attend was Jeremy Guthrie of the Baltimore Orioles was coming.  I'm a big baseball fan, and grew up in Baltimore watching the Orioles.  I still root for them even though I'm in New York.  I can't be a New York Yankee fan.  Hating the Yankees was all part of growing up as an Oriole fan.

It was a nice party. I saw a lot of my chess friends and it was a "Who's Who" of chess coaches with Bruce Pandolfini, Sunil Weeramantry and GM Maurice Ashley in attendance.  It was funny when our host introduced me to Maurice Ashley.  We both laughed and Maurice said "We don't need an introduction.  We go back a long way."

Bruce Pandolfini Dvid Berman (party host) FM Sunil Weeramantry and GM Maurice Ashley

Jeremy Guthrie was a big hit at the party. He talked about playing chess as a kid and attending two National Elementary Championships in 1990 and 1991.  I was at both those tournaments.  I volunteered and observed in 1990 in Hollywood, Florida, and then we organized the 1991 championship in Rye, NY.  Needless to say I don't recall meeting him as a 4th or 5th grader at those tournaments.  He hasn't played in any tournaments since then, but he has a rating of 1472 from that time.  That's a pretty good rating for a 5th grade kid.  He still loves to play, and when the Orioles are in New York he likes going to the Chess & Checker House in Central Park. 

Only 3 people in that picture are lower rated then me!

Jeremy was one of the last ones to leave.  He played a game with Joshua Berman, and won.  It was an interesting game that went down to the ending.  For a guy who makes his living throwing 95 mph fastballs, he plays a good game of chess.  It would be interesting to see how he'd do in a tournament after a very long lay off.

Sunday was a long day and Monday would be a long one too, starting with the two hour ride back up to Albany for rounds five and six.  Fortunately I did not have to drive.  How would a two hour commute affect my 10:00 am game?  Stay tuned.....


LinuxGuy said...

I didn't like his 21.Rxb4, but that was a great win/game that you played.

Anonymous said...

Thats an odd picture because I just read someplace on the internet that Bruce Pandolfini died yesterday morning.

Polly said...

Linux: Thanks!

Anon: Are you sure you're not thinking about Bent Larsen who did die last week?