Sunday, May 30, 2010

Greetings From Northern California! - Updated

After 3 straight years of spending Memorial Day weekend at LAX playing in the Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic, I decided I needed a change of scenery.  It had nothing to do with trying to avoid the crazy chess parents.  I figured a few days in San Francisco followed by the Capablanca Memorial in Santa Clara would be more fun then being holed up an airport hotel.  Here are few pictures from my sightseeing in San Francisco.

 Golden Gate Bridge
The Painted Ladies.  
Most photographed Victorian houses in San Francisco

Sea Lions at Pier 39
I could spend hours watching them. 
White has the advantage!
Albino alligator at 
California Institute of Science

Wild butterflies in Tropical Rain Forest
California Institute of Science

Let it Bee!

So here I am in Santa Clara.  I'm sitting in the hotel lobby since Internet is free there, but cost $13 a day in the room.  It's a little insane because there are tons of high school kids hanging out.  They're not with the tournament.  There are a number of other events in the area.  It was getting so noisy I finally resorted to cranking up the music on my iPod.  Something I also found myself having to do in the tournament room too.
There was a scholastic tournament with 200 kids today.  Fortunately they were playing in a different part of the hotel.  Unfortunately it made it very difficult to find anywhere to sit in the lobby since the parents stake out a spot, and don't surrender it for the rest of the day.  However it was a one day event so things should be a little calmer tomorrow.

The sections in this tournament are set up in 200 point intervals, but they're on the odd numbers.  I am in the A+ section which is for players rated 1899-1700.  If somebody wants to play up a section they have to pay an extra $20.  Consequently there are only two players under 1700 in the section so far.  That could change when the 2 day schedule starts on Sunday.  I'm NOT playing the two day schedule.  I'm trying to give myself plenty of time, and being out here since Tuesday takes care of the jet lag issue.

In the first round I played an 1800 rated adult.  I was Black and got a lousy position out of the opening against d4.  It was a crazy game. I didn't castle until much later in the game.  There were pawns all over the place.  He made a small mistake and I won a pawn.  If I could survive the attack, I'd be in good shape for the ending.  Unfortunately I had one of those moments where I overlooked the obvious.  He had attacked my pawn on g5 with his rook.  My queen on g7 was protecting it, but she was also protecting h7 from White's queen/bishop battery on the b1-h7 diagonal.  I could have played f6 to guard the pawn again, but instead I played something else.  He plays Rxg5.  If I play Qxg5 I get mated with Qh7.  The queen is pinned to the king.  Suddenly my pawn advantage turns into a queen for a rook disadvantage.  Here's the game.


I was concerned that I might get a bye in the second round since there had been an odd number in the first round, and the other player lower then me drew in the first round.  However someone else entered so the number was even.  Though if knew my second round opponent was going to be such a jerk, I would probably preferred a bye and taken my chances with getting a decent house player as an opponent.  I played another adult, but I felt like I was playing an obnoxious kid.  I had gotten to the board first and started taking out my set.  He comes up and says "I have a set. Let's use mine."  I told him that wasn't necessary, and that I had nice set.  He still wants to use his, and he's being kind of obnoxious about it, so I decided I would invoke my rights as the player with the black pieces.  I have a very nicely weighted wood set, and prefer playing with it when I can.

I played a decent game against him, but it was highly unpleasant.  He reminded me of the kids that don't center their pieces, slap the clock and bang pieces when they think they've made a good move.  I don't know if he had a cold or what, but he kept coughing.  It wasn't like he was doing it on my move, but he never covered his mouth.  Finally I got annoyed and asked to please cover his mouth when coughing.  I listened to music to tune him out, but he was getting on my nerves.  I wanted to win so badly, but I let the initiative slip away and eventually the position fell apart.

I'm having trouble getting the game to load, so I'll have to post it later.  I've had it. The lobby noise is getting to be too much.  Hopefully all these kids are staying on a different floor then me.  I guess it could be worse they all could be drunk.

Here is the game.  I finally got it to work.  The Internet is really slow!  Between that and not having enough RAM to run Windows on my Mac it's been hard to do the analysis.  I probably should get the Mac version of Shredder.


Almost time for round 3.  Hopefully I won't be playing another jerk, and hopefully I can convert any advantage I can get.  At least I'll be White this round.

Friday, May 28, 2010

An Unsual Oppponent

I've played in tournaments for many years, and have met some interesting people over the years.  My opponents have ranged in age from 5 up to 90.  I've played men and women though obviously the number of men I've played far out number the women I've played.  Last Thursday I played a woman who was visiting from out of town.  This was her first tournament.  I mentioned that she sure picked a tough tournament to make her chess debut.  Even Steve had suggested that she might want to wait until Saturday and play in the Under 1600 tournament.  She would be heading back home before then so 10 Grand Prix Points Tonight! was her only option on this visit.

Even though this was a Grand Prix event the overall field was not as strong as the previous week's event where I got my head handed to me for 4 rounds.  In this event I just made the break and got paired down against the lone unrated player in the tournament.  When unrated players I never know quite what to expect.  Sometimes they're totally clueless, and other times I discover later they have a 2100 rating in their home country.  Carol was of neither extreme.  She played a nice solid opening.  I finally won material when I created a discovered attack situation where I won a piece.  As it turned out, it wasn't even forced.  There was a move that would hold the position.  It wasn't until later when I analyzed with Fritz that I found the defense.

Here's the game.


Afterward we spoke for a awhile and I found out that she was an aerialist, and performed in different places.  Check out this link on YouTube of one of her performances.  I was intrigued by how she got into playing chess so I emailed her a few questions.  Here is our "interview".

PW: How long have you been playing chess?

CK: I actually first learned about chess as a child but I only became avid about getting good at it in the last few months.

PW: Are you taking lessons with anyone?

CK: I have never taken chess lessons with anyone.  I learned the general rules, and concept, of the game by watching other people play.  I was reading Tarrasch's book, "The Game of Chess."  

PW: You mentioned that you're studying "My System".  With all the basic chess books out there, how did you decide on that particular one?  When I asked you which book you were using, I was expecting you to say you were using Lev Alburt's Comprehensive Chess Course, or one of Dan Heisman's books. 

CK: Recently, during a night of chess games at the Chess Forum, someone suggested I read "My System."   I am now going back and forth between the two.

PW: What made you decide you wanted to play in tournaments? 

CK: One of the attractions of tournaments, for me, is that I enjoy being put on the spot.  I enjoy the pressure of the moment: that sense of walking a tight rope over a pit of crocodiles.   Do you know Federico Garcia Lorca's writing about "The Duende"? Well, I read about Duende when I was performing with a Flamenco troupe and Duende is a capricious goblin who shows up whenever there is that moment of tension when a fast, yet intelligent, decision must be made in a life and death situation.  Duende is there during the Flamenco dance, as during the bullfight when the matador plays the game of death with the bull... well, Duende is there for any performer and is the moment of tension you must meet with the right "move" so that the dance does not die.  If you lose the tension, the performance falls flat, the passion is gone, the moment is lost and the audience is bored: this equals death on the stage.  Well, a chess tournament, it seems to me, is full of Duende !  You must meet the tension with the best "move," or die...lose.

PW: Do you see a relationship between the skills needed for chess versus the skills needed to perform your aerial acts?

CK: I like chess because it has the tension, the sense of danger, the need to think fast and move, that dance and acrobatics have.  Chess, Dance and Aerials share the need for intense concentration, movement and the exigency of the moment.

PW: How long have you been performing?

CK: I have been performing for most of my life, over 20 years.  I started as a ballet dancer performing in regional companies from NYC to Alaska, went on to perform Flamenco and am now an Aerialist at Sea World and a San Francisco circus.

It was really interesting talking with her after the tournament and via our email interview.  I can't say I've met many people who have a career like hers.  Check out her website if you want to see more of her stuff.  Her score matched mine of the previous week, but she was genuinely excited about playing in her first tournament.

As for me I bounced back from last weeks disaster by scoring 2 points.  I lost in round three and then got paired up in round four and beat an 1900 in the last round.  That was an interesting game, especially with some of the body language that was occurring during the game.  I will post that game in separate piece.

My next tournament will be the Capablanca Memorial in Santa Clara, CA.  I'm playing the 3 day schedule with no fast games, and since I've been out here in California for almost a week, jet lag should not be a factor..

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Bye Not Taken.

It's been awhile since I've written about bye strategies on Thursday night.  The reason the topic hasn't come up lately is because for the 5 months the tournament has been drawing in more kids with lower ratings.  There have been weeks where I've gotten paired down in round two and won.  If I can win in the first or second round then the matter of trying to avoid becomes moot.  If there are 8 players lower rated then me, then there's a good chance that I'm not going to be in line for the bye in round 3 even if I start out 0-2.

With the Elementary Nationals being in Atlanta last weekend, I figured there would not be many kids showing up on Thursday night.  I was correct on that count.  Outside of a few teenage kids, the rest of the tournament was made up of adults.  However it also meant I near the bottom of the wall chart, and that the prospect of a bye before round 4 was a distinct possibility.  I was ranked 18 out of 21.  #21 was an unrated (can't get a bye unless only player in bottom score group). #20 was an 1140 who got the bye in round 1, #19 was a 1539 who would get the bye in round 2 if he lost the 1st round and the number of players remained odd.

In round one I had the mathematically predicted result of losing to a 2060.  At least this time I managed not to get mated in 12 moves.  Though I did manage to break one the cardinal rules chess; "Don't chase your opponent's pieces to better squares" when I played 8...e5 chasing his knight to b5. From b5 it went to e6.  I paid dearly for that.  I lost the exchange several moves later.

Andre is getting ready to make the round 2 pairings.  I ask him if the number is odd or even.  He tells me it's odd, and that #19 was getting the bye that round.  Unless I won round 2 or the number of players became even I would be in line to get the bye in round 3.  Now I have to decide whether I want to take the preemptive 1/2 point bye for round 4 in order to definitely avoid a round 3 bye, or take my chances on winning round 2 and/or the number of players being even for round 3.  My history with bye strategy has not not been very good.  In fact most of the time it backfires.  I decided I would take my chances and see what would happen between round 2 and 3.  If worse became worst I could always request a zero point bye for round 4, and play round 3 instead.  A 1/2 point wasn't going to be relevant if I was 0-2 going into round 3.

My round 2 game was actually rather interesting.  I got a bad position out of the opening.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could do to dig myself out of the hole I had dug for myself.  I think the thing I was most proud of about this game was my mental attitude.  It would have been very easy to say "I'm getting smashed.  My position sucks, and I'm going to lose."  That did cross my mind, but I realized that despite Black's space advantage he didn't have any truly crushing moves.  I simply had to be patient, reposition my pieces and try for some play.

I eventually got play on the queen side, and won a pawn.  He started burning up time, but I was still behind on the clock.  Unfortunately in my time pressure I ended out giving it back.  I still thought I had decent chances, but I ran out of time. We played a few more moves including one where I hung another pawn.  He only had 6 seconds when I flagged.  I was kind of hoping he wouldn't notice, and might run out of time himself.  He did notice, but after hanging the pawn my chances of holding on where not so good.


Now I'm 0-2 and the chances of a third round bye have increased dramatically.  Fortunately Evan Rabin joined the tournament for the third round so the number was even.  In round 3 I played Max Yarmolinsky.  Last month we played each other two weeks in a row with him having Black each time.  He won both games.  This time I had Black.  He's been in a slump so he decided that he would mix things up this round by playing 1. e4 for the first time ever.  That sometimes can work out, but at other times it can be a strategic blunder.  Facing my Accelerated Dragon with my junky, but trappy 7...Qa5 line.  The correct response is 8. 0-0, but often people will play 8. f3 attempting to play the Yugoslav.  Play has to be precise at that point otherwise White loses material.  White's play was not precise and in true Wacky Wednesday form I fork his queen and bishop thus winning material.  He promptly resigned instead of trying for a little play with 10. Bxf7+. 


Now suddenly I've gone from sweating about byes to having a chance of getting an even score if I win the last round.  I was paired against an 1877 whose rating is provisional based on 3 games.  I knew his rating was provisional, I just didn't know how many games it was based on.  Playing someone with so few games it's like playing an unrated.  You don't know how good they really are.  I decided I was not going to take that into account, and just play the game.  It was wild one, and he fortunately missed an opportunity to force a perpetual and get the draw.


I ended the evening with a 2-2 score, won a share of the under 2000 prize, and saw my rating hit 1785.  That's the highest it's been in many years.  That will be my rating for the June list which put in to dilemma in terms of what section to play in next month at the National Open.  Do I play in the under 1800 section where I'm going to be ranked in the top 10, or do I play up and be at the bottom on of the under 2000 section?  I decided to play in my own section even though my rating had dropped. I did spring for the extra hotel night and I'm playing the 3 day schedule.  Hopefully that will help.

PS.  I started writing this post before I went down to play again the following Thursday.  The make up of the field was very similar and I was faced with the same sort of decisions regarding bye strategy.  It didn't work so well the second time around.  I got the bye in round 3, played a house player rated 2100, and in my desire to win I bypassed the opportunity to to repeat the position, and went on to lose.  In round 4 I played the same 4th round opponent as the week before, but this time he avenged last week's loss.  Easy come, easy go. 2-2 one week, 0-4 the next week.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sometimes They Listen

I've written a number of stories regarding the various kids I've encountered in tournaments.  On more then one occasion I've been known to say something either to the kid and/or his parents.  Sometimes I've been critical of their behavior.  Other times I've just offered some advice that I felt would help them in future events.  Sometimes people don't agree with what I've said, and they've let me know it.  Though most of the criticism has come from the commenter, Anonymous.  There are times where perhaps my remarks have been over the line, but my intentions are good. 

I feel teachers, coaches and parents have a responsibility to make sure their students and children are conducting themselves in a manner that reflects the child's good character.  As a teacher and coach I put a lot of emphasis not only on how they play the game, but how they treat tournament directors, chess volunteers and their opponents.  At my high school there was a plaque on the building next to the athletic fields.  It said "Win without boasting, lose without excuses."  It's a philosophy I've tried to follow not only in chess, but in the other sports I've competed in through out my life.

Sunday I played at the Westfield Quads.  I ended out at the bottom of a quad where my opponents' ages were 13, 9 and 7.  Their ratings were 1872, 1795 and 1719 respectively.  In the first round I got beat up by the 13 year old girl.  The 7 year old beat the 9 year old.

In the second round I played the 9 year old and the 13 year old beat the 7 year old.  The 9 year old had time pressure issues in the first round, and again in the second round when I played him.  I didn't pay much attention to him in round one, but when playing him I could help but to notice what was contributing to his time management problem. 

He spent a lot of time on moves in the opening.  I find in these fast time control (g40 with 5 second delay) games it's important to try not to waste time in the opening.  There are times where you will need to take time in the opening, especially it's tactically sharp and you're not familiar with the opening.  There was nothing overly tactical about my opening.  I played the English and it was fairly quiet and routine. 

However the problem wasn't the time spent on moves, it was the time spent checking out other games.  At one point he made a move and immediately left the board.  I made my move fairly quickly, and he was still watching a friend's game.  Then he and the friend started having conversation in the tournament room.  Then he noticed I had moved.  This happened several times during the game.

I did get my bishop trapped and I did get a couple of pawns for it, but he was going to win one of them back.  

The position to the left is how the game ended.  Black lost on time.  He didn't even seem to be aware of the time remaining on his clock.  He went into a deep think and used up his remaining time.  It's not an easy win for him, but with time he should be able to win. One possible continuation might be 1... Nf6 2. Bg2 (White can't play 2. Bxg6? because of 2...Bxd4 3. exd4 Qg5+ 4. Kh1 Qxg6) 2... Bxd4 3. exd4 Qxd4 4. Qxd4 Rxd4 5. Ra1 Bd7 6. Ra8+ Kf7 7. Ra7 Rxd3 8. Rxb7 Rd1+ 9. Bf1 c5

Who knows how the game would have continued if he had more time.  However this is not a game one should lose on time if he has Black's position.  I felt a little bad about how it ended, and the inner coach within me thought it might be appropriate to say something to him before the next round.

I couldn't find him until right before the third round was to begin.  When I saw him I praised him for his good play, and felt he should have won.  I told him with such a short time control it's better not to leave the board, and that he shouldn't be talking to people while he's playing.  I also reminded him that he needs to be more aware of how much time he has on his clock. 

He seemed to have taken my advice.  In round three he never left the board, and I saw him checking out the time on the clock.  He went on to beat the 1872.  This opened the door for me to tie for first in the quad if I won my last round game.  Unfortunately for me I was having my own clock issues.  The game got rather tactical and I managed to win the exchange.  I was using my time to make sure I wasn't walking into any forks where I would give back the exchange.  I fell way behind on time and had stopped keeping score.  At some point during the time scramble I did pick off his knight.

Here's the game up to the point where I stopped notating:

I'm not use how many more moves we had played to a position that roughly looked like the one to the left. Unfortunately I  had a brain fart.  I inexplicably played Rxc5 which led to all the rooks coming off the board.  We captured the remaining pawns to end out with lone kings.

Sometimes I need to listen to myself when discussing time pressure and how much 5 seconds really is.  It wasn't like I only had 10 seconds left.  I had 44 seconds and my opponent had 87 seconds.  I got sucked into the frenzied moving of pieces that occurred after we both stopped keeping score. 

I always have a debate with one of my teaching colleagues who gets on my case about continuing to keep score when I get below 5 minutes.  I can keep score with the Mon Roi without using up all 5 seconds of the delay.  For me the extra glance at the position on the unit as I'm inputting helps me be a little more aware of the position.  Once I stop notating the game turns into blitz chess.  I don't do so well with blitz chess.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wacky Wednesday Becomes Freaky Friday!

It bites to be on the lower end of the food chain.

There are days when I'm playing chess where I feel like the poor frog I encountered on a hike a few weeks ago.  I feel as though I'm fish food for every fish in the pond regardless of rating.   I'll have one of those games where I just get demolished so quickly it's almost like I'm a total beginner and have no business playing.  Last week at the Marshall that's how I felt after the first round of the Thursday cracktion tournament.

I have to admit that at times I can be a little snobby about playing much lower rated players.  I have won some games so quickly I feel like it's a total waste of my time.  In my mind I might think I can give a much higher rated player a worth while challenge.  There are times where I do give a 2300 a run for his money.  Then there are those butt ass ugly games where I get totally demolished, and wonder why I even bother showing up. I then have to ask myself, "Does my opponent think I'm a total patzer who has no business playing in the same tournament as him?"

My first round opponent had not played since last July.  If he expected to have a challenging first round game as a warm up for the second round, he was sadly mistaken.  I don't know what I was thinking about during this miserably short game.


The game took slightly less then 10 minutes.   It's rather embarrassing to walk out of the playing room after such a short amount of time.  That gave me about an hour until the second round.  He did go over the game with me, but how long can you analyze a game that took less then 15 moves to complete?

With a lot of time until the next round would be easy to let my mind do a number on me.  Despite a few losses in my club championship, overall I was feeling better about my game and mindset.  I had a couple of good tournaments in a row, and thought perhaps I was finally coming out of my funk.   Since writing about my biggest enemy being myself  I've been trying to be more mindful of what goes through my head as I'm playing.  I've been working on focusing on actual moves instead of these broad generalizations such as "My position sucks.  I'm going to lose."  Focusing on the board and looking for specific ideas and moves is far more constructive then the proverbial "declaring defeat, and going home" mentality I'm prone to at times.

The best thing to do with game like that is get over it quickly.  Laugh about it, and move on.  In my case I laugh about it, and then let my readers laugh with (at?) me.  Sometimes a game like that has the makings of being part of a future lesson plan.  I'm not sure what the lesson is, but I can always take the position right before the mate and see if my students can find it.

PS. This story does have a somewhat happy ending.  I bounced back and won in round 2.  I ended out 1.5 - 2.5 having gotten paired up all four rounds.  Only in a tournament like this can I have minus score and still pick up rating points.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day Parade of Rambling Thoughts.

I am amongst the living despite not having written anything since April 16th.  It's not that I have done nothing in the last few weeks.  Actually I've probably have done too much.  Since my last post I've played in 5 cracktion tournaments, and I've played 3 rounds so far in the Westchester Chess Club Championship.  Long time readers might recall that last year I did not write anything about it until it was over.  That's because I didn't want to jinx myself.  Sad to say that is not an issue this year.  I'm doing a really crappy job defending my title.  I started out 0-2.  I finally won in the 3rd round, but time is running out as there are two players who are 3-0.

What follows here are a few observations on things I've seen or been a part of.

Click a Bic

Some chess players have really strange quirks.  Sometimes it's unclear whether they're even aware of what they're doing, or if it's an intentional routine to annoy the hell out the opponent or those sitting near by.  There's a fairly new member of my club who joined over the winter.  My first encounter with this guy was at the start of the club championship.  I was not paired against him, but he was sitting next to my opponent and me in the first round.  Like many players, he likes to write his move down first and then play it on the board.  Don't even get me started on the heated debate of 2006 over the issue of writing one's move down before or after it's been played on the board.  I don't really care one way or another.  However by the time my game was over I wanted to take the guy's pen and break it.

Every time he'd write a move down he'd click his pen several times to bring the point out, and after he was done he click it several times again to retract it.  he did this on every single move of his game.  I have to hear when he was writing his move down, and then he'd go through the same thing when he'd write down his opponent's move.  To go along with the pen clicking he'd hit the clock button several times every time he moved.  Naturally he has the Chronos clock with the noisy buttons.  Needless to say, since that round I've made it a point to sit as far away from him as possible.  If I have to play him him in a later round I may have to resort to noise canceling headphones.  I don't think I'll end playing him since I'm going to have win 2 more games to match his current score.

Not so secret admirer

Years ago I directed a tournament in small town north of me.  There was nothing special about the tournament.  I don't even remember how many people played, who played or who won.  In fact I kind of had forgotten about the tournament until a number of years a later a player who had played in it saw me at the Manhattan Chess Club.  He kept reminding me what a wonderful tournament it was.  He also kept telling me what a great tournament director I was. Between every round he talk about the tournament and express his admiration for my directing abilities.   I kept trying to change the subject or ignore him, but he just wouldn't stop. We ended out getting paired one round, and after 5 moves he offers me a draw.  I refused it and somehow within about 20 moves he managed to find a way to force a three fold repetition.

Every time I saw him he bring up that particular tournament, and if I had to play him he'd offer me a draw early in the game.  One game against him I played horrendously.  I was getting smashed,  he had mate in two and he offers me a draw.  I refused the draw and promptly resigned.  I'm not sure why he was so obsessed with only wanting draws with me, but I found it really annoying to the point of it being kind of creepy.  I got to the point that I asked the tournament director to avoid pairing us if possible.

Up until last month I had not played the guy since 2003.  He plays at the Marshall sometimes when I'm there.  He says hello to me, but we don't have long conversations. He doesn't bring up that tournament anymore, and doesn't go on about what a wonder director I am.  I knew given the length of the tournament and our equally poor scores that it would be impossible to avoid him.  I didn't even ask the director to try to avoid the pairing.  I figured after 6 plus years it was safe to play him again.  The game was pretty normal.  He was playing aggressively and didn't offer any early draws.  I thought perhaps he had gotten over the idea that trying to win against me wasn't a crime.  At some point during the game I had a major brain fart and just hung a piece for nothing.

In the position below he had just played 28. Bh3.

I'm not sure what I was thinking about, but I thought moving my rook to g6 would take care of defending my knight on g4.  I think I just forgot that he now had three attackers including a minor piece on it.  When it was just the rook and the queen hitting the knight it was safe just being protected by the other knight.  Having a piece of equal value added to the attackers changed the situation.  However some how I missed that and simply defended with 28...Rg6.  I was rather surprised that after 29. Bxg4 Nxg4 30. Rxg4 Rxg4 31. Qxg4, I was down a piece.  He's also threatening mate, but that was easy enough to stop.  We played a few more moves, and he offers me a draw.
What is with this guy and his stupid draw offers?? Once again I refused it.  I could have taken it, but it wasn't going to help me in the tournament, and it wasn't going to impact my rating.  I don't like taking a draw I did not deserve.  I'm down material it's a simple win for him.  I just can't stand it when somebody does something like that.  We played another 8 moves and I ran out of time.  He actually made the time claim.  I told him afterwards that I did not need his charitable draw offer and stop doing it.

Obnoxious kid gets away with one.

For once I was not involved with this one.  The story was told to me by his opponent.  I have played the kid in question.  He's one of those annoying kids who slaps the pieces down in a haphazard manner and then ends out adjusting it on the opponent's time.  Or he doesn't adjust it and the opponent has to do it himself.  One tournament he got a bye and a friend of mine ended out being a house player and played him.  The way my friend tells it, early on the kid is looking for a draw since he's much lower rated then his opponent.  Later he wins a piece and now he's all cocky about his chances of winning the game.  We all know what happens when one gets a little cocky.  Sure enough he blunders his queen.  Now he's down a queen for a piece.  He starts in with the repeated draw offers.  "Draw?" with his hand extended for a handshake.  It's kind of comical seeing these kids who make a draw offer and leave their hand out waiting for an answer to the offer.  I've seen kids wait with hand out for a couple of minutes while the opponent mulls over the draw offer.  What's with that?  Do they think if the opponent touches their hand by accident they can claim that the opponent agreed to the draw?

Getting back to my friend's game. He kept refusing the draw offers, but he's one of these really nice laid back people who won't tell an opponent to knock off the crap.  Unfortunately it doesn't pay to be so nice.    Eventually he gets annoyed and distracted by the repeated offers and blunders his queen.  He doesn't even get the piece back.  He eventually loses the game.  When he's telling me this story on the way from the tournament I tell him, that he can't let the opponent get away with that nonsense.  He has to tell him after the second draw offer, not to make anymore offers.  Now since he got away with it, he'll try it on someone else.  I dare him to offer me more then one draw. 

That's all for now.  I will post some games this week.  Look out for a Wacky Wednesday miniature.  Unfortunately I was the victim of that one.  I have some other interesting games to share, and thoughts on what's up the road for me chesswise and otherwise.