Wednesday, December 07, 2022 11:15

Archive for December, 2010

So the new year is upon us…

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

…and I have it on good authority that Chess will continue to be played in 2011.  :)

Correspondence update:  From my last update on November 11th.  I was right about the third game.  It ended with a loss, making me 1-2 with one game remaining.  (That one was a forfeit loss because of time, and by the IECC rules a time loss means all games in that event are forfeited.  This is offset by the IECC TDs being more than willing to reset the clocks to zero on an opponent’s apology for stepping over; I like the concept that the clock exists to keep the game moving along and not as a guillotine above the head.)

Anyway, one game left.  As I’ve given my opponent this blog address. I won’t comment on how it’s going….  I’m enjoying the game immensely though, and I think we’re winding it down (if not already past the penultimate moment, it’s very close.)


So, it’s almost the end of the year.  A good time for celebration, reflection, and goal setting for the next year.

Some of the things I have to celebrate:

  • While my first rated game came in December of 2009, it was close enough to say that I really began serious tournament play this year.
  • I played in 21 events in 2010.  (Really taking to heart the rulebook’s suggestion that Tournament Directors should continue to play in tournaments for perspective!)
  • While the vast majority of those were at my home club, I traveled to:  Bloomington once (an open not TCCC sponsored,) Peoria twice (GPCF Winter Tornado and Bradley Open,) LaSalle/Peru once, and DeKalb once.
  • Served as a TD in 16 events.  There was a good mix of scholastic and club events.  I feel very comfortable now as a floor director or computer operator, or sole TD of an event.  (Very different from my first event as a certified TD in February of 2009!)
  • Passed my Local TD exam, a goal of mine made in 2009.
  • I had a win against a player in the 1100 rating range, and I have a very solid win record against other players in my current rating range.  (Which makes me think I’m a little underrated… but who doesn’t feel like that? ;) )  Many of my other games in the sub-1500 range have been pretty close.
  • I’m feeling much better about my middlegames, and I can see where I’ve strengthened as a player in the last year.  My skill at defense has also continued to improve.
  • I’ve developed the webpages for our club, and it’s now at a point of adding content and maintaining as opposed to developing.

That’s a lot to celebrate!!!!!

So, for the year to come….  I’m not really ready to set solid goals yet – still the silly season, isn’t it?  :)  But here are some ideas I am toying with:

  • Develop my endgame play.
  • Take advantage of an offer to receive lessons.
  • My last 12 months of rated play show a 29.7% win rate.  I’d like to improve that to at least 33%.
  • In the next year, I’m playing at DeKalb in January.  I’d like to play in next year’s Bradley Open.  Of the following four places, I’d like to play in at least two of them and as many as possible:  Chicago (preferably North Shore Chess Center,) Freeport, Springfield, Decatur, St. Louis Chess Center.
  • I’d like to attend a day of the U.S. Championship again in 2011.  If there is an open blitz event as well, as last year, this could provide the St. Louis playing opportunity.  Possibly meet the other club members on one day, stay overnight, watch the second day and play in the blitz event.
  • Work towards getting the directing requirements to become a Senior TD.

Hmm… for not setting goals, I have quite a few to choose from!  It’s pretty clear that in 2011 I’ll be enjoying my chess.  I hope that in the new year, you too will

Enjoy Your Chess!

The Return of the King!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
No, not this Return of the King!

No, not this Return of the King!

A little less than a month ago, I blogged about how excellent I felt that I had finally managed to draw a scholastic player that I’ve habitually lost to

Well, Vanity, thy name is LaughingVulcan!

Monday was our usual club night, and we had ten people turn out to play Round 2 of the monthly G/60 tournament.  I found myself paired against Nathaniel.  But this time it was rated, rather than unrated.  An epic clash of the Titans!

No, not THAT Clash of the Titans.  (Bet you thought I'd go for the 2010 version, huh?)

No, not THAT Clash of the Titans. (Bet you thought I'd go for the 2010 version, huh?)

(Actually, I haven’t seen the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans yet.  On my Netflix list, just keeps getting pushed down…  Anyway, back to the point – if I have one…)

I lead out the Giuoco Pianissimo again – for a second I thought about using the Bishop’s Opening (e4 e5 Bc4,) thinking I could transition that over to an Italian – another member in the club has been leading that opening recently.  But… in the end, I decided to keep to something I think I know better.

Instead of lightning striking twice, Nathaniel played his usual excellent game, and I ended up binding myself.  As I was trying to command the d-file, plus either get the Queens off the board or getting a tactical shot in, Nathaniel got my a-pawn with his Bishop, and could then retreat the Bishop with a discovery on my Rook that had to be responded to.  I’m not sure that trading Rooks was the right thing to do following that…  But I also haven’t really done any analysis on the game at all, yet.  That will come in the next few days, I hope.

But I would do a disservice if I didn’t say how much I enjoyed playing this game – it was one of the losses that I can relish.  (And, for that matter, I recognize how excellent Nathaniel is as an opponent – both in play and how he plays a game in his demeanor.  A truly fine opponent to face.)   For this round, it was indeed the return of the King (at least by our record against each other.)

Anyway, here’s the game:

BTW, advice for other lower-rated players… Don’t let a single loss get you down.  It’s the long haul that counts.  The joy can lie in finding opponents that give you challenging games – win or lose.  And, I am hoping that eventually I’ll get my Revenge.

This one I can live with - not that I have all that much of a Dark Side...  ;)

This one I can live with - not that I have all that much of a Dark Side... ;)

But until I get the chance to see if I can get my Revenge (or just another good game,) I hope that you also can

Enjoy your Chess!

First Scholastic Organizing Experience

Monday, December 20th, 2010

I’ve been gearing up for my first experience organizing and being Chief TD of (what we hope will be!) a large scholastic tournament.  Chris (who will run the computer room) and I have been working on it pretty steadily, with lots of good help from the club members.

Up until now I’ve worked the floor, worked the computer room, run the computer room once, and have done smaller tournament organizing.  Coordinating it all, though, takes up a lot more time – even more than gearing up to run the computer room.  (Heck, Chris and I took most of Saturday afternoon just ordering the trophies and medals!  Next time around, should we use the same supplier, it will be a lot easier.  But the first time always takes more time…)

I’ve also developed a couple of really good spreadsheets to help me in calculating income-expense and breakeven points.  (That sheet currently says I need about another nine players to break even.  We are hoping for at least four to five times the number of entries we currently have, but we also only have another two weeks before registration closes.  That isn’t just “hope chess” –  average scholastics here run right around that number.  But it’s different when you’re on point for trying to make that happen.  The other slippery factor is that one needs a radically different staffing layout from a 30-person scholastic to a 120 person scholastic.)

But the point of the prior paragraph was originally to say that once I’ve gotten past the tournament, I’m hoping to turn those spreadsheets loose to the public for others to use in their tournaments.  They are pretty sweet, allowing a rolling projection of how many registrants generate how much income, other income sources, list the expenses one has in a tournament, and show current profit/loss as well as how many players are needed to break even.  (It even uses the current ratio of players to tell you how many additional are needed in each section, and takes into account diffferent net per player in sections by number of rounds and rating fees……)

For any local people reading this blog, too, the proceeds are going to our club in helping to keep our club’s meeting place.  (We’d like to keep meeting there, but the reality is that the club hasn’t been carrying its own weight in location expense., even with membership fees.  Sooo…. we take a risk and hope that scholastic players will come to our tournament to keep us at our home.)

Wish us luck, and as I enjoy my chess by organizing and directing,

Enjoy your chess!

For your reading and listening pleasure…

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Last year I made up some Christmas Chess Filks and posted them on the USCF Forums.

Now I am pleased to bring you this year’s new crop.  I’m a little more proud of these this year, if one can actually have pride over filk.  I am intending, time permitting, to record some of them on YouTube and post the actual audio version here.  :)

Enjoy, and enjoy your chess!

The limit of Chess Devotion

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

This is a pic-heavy report on our trip as we attempted an out-of-town tournament carpool run.  More below the cut…


I can tell it’s scholastic season…

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

…by how tired I’m getting. ;) :O

Last Friday night it was a 3 round scholastic tournament and I was privileged to be one of the computer operators.

On Saturday it was the simul with Dr. Turgut as a participant.

On Monday it was club night. I only played the first round of the G/20 tournament – mostly because I was exhausted enough that I played just to fill a round.

Today (and for the past several nights) it was working on what became a 33 player scholastic tournament that I was USCF Chief TD of today.

Tomorrow (weather permitting) it’s a run up to DeKalb for their Cornfield Challenge II tournament, along with friends from the club. (Glad I’m not driving after all…)

And all throughout it I’ve had the last of my four correspondence tournament games to keep up with.

And on Monday it’s Round 1 of our monthly G/60 at the club.

But it’s a really good kind of exhausted – enjoying my chess. :) :D

Enjoy your chess!

Playing my first Master

Monday, December 6th, 2010

On Saturday, December 4th, Colley arranged for a USCF Life Master to come up from Decatur and play all of us in a simul (simultaneous exhibition – where one strong player takes on multiple opponents at the same time on different boards.)

Dr. Tansel Turgut played fourteen of us, and with a pretty rare condition that each of the fourteen boards had a 60 minute per side clock with delay on it.  (So each of us got up to a full hour on our side of the clock.  Dr. Turgut got one hour on each of the fourteen boards, but the clocks were running on his move while he was at other boards.)  He demonstrated what a Master can do – none of us managed to win against him, though three players were able to score draws.

So, this was my own first game against a Master.  Here’s one of the photos from the event, courtesy of Nathaniel’s mom who was good enough to take a pic with my camera:


In the Twin Cities photo, I remarked that I knew I was lost at this point, but seeing how long I could hold out.  But as I started to double check my post-game analysis with Fritz 12, I learned that I was in fact *not* in trouble at the time of the photo.  In fact, I was holding a draw quite nicely.  (The picture above is after his move 20 in the text below; he is retracting his hand from having moved the Queen.)

I did make a couple of serious errors earlier, but with the simultaneous nature of the game I think Dr. Tansel either did not see the errors or did not want to go sharply tactical at that moment.  (He is playing 14 boards after all, and when I’ve simuled – and yes I have on a smaller scale – you tend to play much more conservatively and let your opponents make the first errors if they’re on my level or below.)  But as of the photo moment, I am still doing pretty well.  It is over the next three moves from 20 that I would go from drawn to probably losing, and then after move 26 or 27 into “definitely losing” territory.

Still, I held myself out for quite a few more moves (even though the last five to seven I really did know I was dead and just playing for the sheer fun of trying to hold on until he promoted.)

Gotta run for now – I would like to post the full analysis, but my in-blog PGN displayer doesn’t do variations.  So here’s the basic game for now.  In the meantime-

Enjoy your Chess!