The New York State Championship is old news at this point. However my round 5 was quite interesting. Not just the game itself, but the contrasting personalities at the board. Before I could even play my game there was still the long drive from Westchester County back up to Albany. Fortunately I was not the one driving. I could just sit in the front seat, watch the scenery and talk to the dad who was driving. We made very good time back up to Albany. Just about two hours. So we arrived by 9:45 AM for a 10:00 AM start.
When I arrived at the board my opponent already had his set and board set up. His set was a wood set with stylized pieces where it was hard to tell the king from the queen, and bishops from pawns. It was not a Staunton set, so despite being White I asked to use my set. There was just no way I could play with this set and not risk doing something stupid because I can't tell the queen from the king. I can find other ways to be stupid without trying to blame it on the pieces.
I really don't like being a nudge about whose set we're using, especially when the opponent has set his up already. I've seen players who had Black insist on using their set despite the fact that the opponent has his out and set up already. It didn't matter that the sets were pretty much the same, or that White's set was actually nicer. The player with Black just does it to be annoying, or to intimidate the opponent. I wasn't trying to do either. I just wanted to know for sure what piece I was actually moving.
He didn't say anything about changing sets. He simply started picking up the pieces and putting them back in his bag. I helped him clean up his set and set up mine. I didn't think to swap boards so we used his. The board didn't matter. It was a standard green and buff roll up board. After all the equipment adjustments we finally got down to playing chess.
The game started out very quietly. We traded pawns early and then after he took my knight on c3, I recaptured with the d pawn giving him a chance to trade queens. He did not want the queen trade so he moved his queen off the d file. If I had any concerns about making the transition from Game/40 to 40 moves in 2 hours followed by Game/60, they were quickly dispelled. It took us 40 minutes to play the first 10 moves. He had used more time in the opening. I would be the one using more time for the next 30 moves.