Monday, April 18, 2011

Games! Spoiler Alert....No Train Wrecks.

It’s Monday night and it’s the make up round.  5 rounds down, one to go.  There’s only one game to be made up, but it’s not happening tonight because it’s the first night of Passover.  One of the players involved in the make up game is Jewish the other is not.  When I initially set up the schedule for the tournament this was the scheduled date for round 6.  I had wanted to finish before Easter.  When I had to redo the entire schedule because of so many late entries, I thought perhaps I need to check the calendar before setting up new dates.  It's then I discovered that this was the first night of Passover, and perhaps I should not have a regular round. 

I’m not sure what it is about the players in this tournament, but there seems to be communication breakdown. I send out emails asking the players to figure out when they’re going to play the game since they’re not going to play tonight. I see a wall post on Facebook from one of the players to the other saying “Where do you want to play our game tomorrow?” No response. I guess that’s because the response was showing up tonight and asking “Where’s Alanna?”

“She was planning to play you tomorrow. I’m running a game/30 tonight. Do you want to play?”

Fortunately he said yes, and that got me off the hook. I had already entered myself into the tournament to even out the numbers. I was perfectly happy to take myself out of the tournament. This means I am going on three weeks without playing one single game of cracktion. My last game of Game/30 was on March 31st. For the month of April I have played four games of “slow” chess. Slow is relative since the time limit was G/85. That may be fast to those accustomed to playing 40/2 G/60. However for this cracktion addict G/85 is slow. Having the extra time helped me in rounds 2 and 3.

In the first round I drew with Alanna Katz.  In the second round I played her father.  There are three sets of family members playing in the tournament.  I have two father and child combinations and a set of brothers.  Thankfully the results of the family members have differed enough that I haven't had to adjust pairings to avoid family members playing each other.

It was a tough game.  I had burned a lot of time early on, and found myself very pressed for time in the end.  It also didn't help that I had a pounding headache.  The YMCA moved us out of the after school program room into the kitchen.  Often there are smells from a strong disinfectant.  I think the smell gives me headaches.  I won two pawns and headed into a rook and pawns ending with 12 seconds on my clock.  Fortunately the 5 second time delay gave me time to work things out.  When I got down to be so short on the clock my opponent offered me a draw.  It briefly entered my mind to take the draw and gain the half point.  However I felt despite the lack of time, I should be able to push one of the pawns through and force him to give up his rook for one of them.  I knew I just needed to avoid checks.  Here's the game.


Our game had drawn a crowd since we were the last game left.  I don't recall whether we played any moves beyond what I had recorded.  The following week I would have a similar type of ending with lots of time pressure.  That game I did stop keeping score, but I also diagrammed the final position.  In this game I did not diagram the final position which leads me to believe maybe my opponent had resigned where my notation stopped.  Although I do find it hard to believe he resigned with my pawns so far back and me being so short on time.  Even me who tends to resign too early would not have resigned in that position.

In round three I got paired up again.  That was not surprising considering I had 1.5 points out of 2 against the Katz family.  It's too bad Ben Katz isn't playing.  Maybe I could have gone for three Katz in a row. Instead I'm playing Mike Amori who I've played a number of times before with not such stellar results. 1 win, 1 draw and 10 losses.  It looked like loss number 11 was coming after I lost the exchange on move 27, and it really should have come by move 42.  Thankfully he missed the killer queen sac on move 39 that leads to mate in 4.  Neither of us had seen it. 

I had another pounding headache and there were a number times that I just wanted to resign and go home.  However when I'm the tournament director that's kind of hard to do.  I could just have someone send me the results, but with the group I never quite know what to expect, so I play on and hope for the best.  In this case Caissa showed me favor for my persistence.  I managed to get the exchange back and end out in another rook and pawn ending up three pawns.  I felt like I had seen this position before. 

Here is the game up the point I stopped keeping score:


Below is the final position when White ran out of time. 

White to move. 
There is no defense for White.  He can try 1. Rxf3+ Kxf3, 2. Kh2 Ra1 3. Kh3 Rh1#.

Reality would set in the following week when Joshua Colas would kick my butt badly.  That game isn't even worth posting.  The next game I'll post is my round 5 draw that I really should have won.  However being up two pawns in a minor piece ending of knight versus knight wasn't so easy for me.

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