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Archive for January, 2011

2nd Annual Gerald Anderson Memorial, Decatur

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Updated:  Saturday night 11 PM. (Post tournament and end of live.)


All week long I’ve dithered…  I’m somewhat tired; I’ve went from directing to tournament to playing while directing to Chief TD directing to drawing the last of four correspondence games (and having no time to blog about it) and will be directing on Monday as well as directing and playing in the club championship which begins Monday night.

But I’ve also gotten an early birthday present in a new wood set that is gorgeous for the money.

So  now, at Friday night, decision time is here.  The chess bug has bit.   And I have decided to play in Decatur tomorrow morning in about as long a time control as I ever play (G/75, four rounds at 9, Noon, Three, Six.)  I’m actually glad to have made the decision and not live with the regret of not having gotten down there.

I am in the process of packing up.  I didn’t ask if the venue has WiFi or not, but I’m assuming it does and I’m gearing up for Live Tourney Blogging tomorrow.  Probably no updates until tomorrow at venue (if we have time before Round 1.  If not, after Round 1 if there is WiFi.)

Update:  There is WiFi here.  We have arrived.  Ray, Rob Nunez (who arrived separately) and I are here.  The facility is nice, with a playing area and a skittles area.  We are waiting for first round pairings (expected momentarily.)  Wish me luck!


Round 1:

My first round is over. I had a fairly equal game until I sacrificed by a pawn to try and launch an attack that was refuted fairly easy, then found it impossible to prevent promotion.

I have about an hour until the next round starts. Lunch is a thought…. I’ll have to touch base with Ray and see. Ray just finished his game with Adam Ford, whom I lost to in last year’s Bradley Open. Why do I have the feeling that Ray and I might be playing each other before the day is out? ;)


Round 2:

Round 2, the game lasted longer but I was playing defense ball for almost all of the game. A Queen’s Gambit declined opening combined with an early (foolish?) Bishop advance led to the loss of that good dark-square Bishop. After that it was pure reaction, but I did take it into an endgame. Just a losing one! ;) :D

Round 3 will start at three PM in about twenty minutes. Just enough time to get composure and be nicely ready. (I am also confirming that G/75 is a bit long for me… I am coming nowhere close to needing all the time I have. Which also means that I could be taking more time to make the moves that I have.


Round 3:
Remember that little bit in the Round 1 entry when I wrote that maybe Ray and I will end up playing each other?????

Ray and I will analyze a little bit… If I have a chance after Round 4 I’ll blog it, but if we head for home I’ll do it there. Been a good day so far (at least I’m enjoying myself.) Now if I asked Ray… ???? ;) ;) :D :P

Round 4:

We’ll have to see how it stands up under post-analysis, but I feel like I played the best game of my life so far. A very slow opening in completely unfamiliar opening territory allowed me to build up a cramped position, but allowed me to develop fully without contact with White.

The critical moment came at my move 17, when I calculated: White’s pawn storm on the Kingside would be too slow, that I should not take White’s h-pawn when he offered it and instead allow the trade to occur on the g-file, and that I had the extra tempo to double my Rooks and take out the White’s b-pawn thus cracking open the Queenside. Then I figured out that for move 22 I could take my Queen to h4 (threatening Mate in 1,) and that I would be a minimum of Rook up, and I felt sure that following the trade-downs my c-pawn would promote.

This was one of the most challenging games I think I’ve played, and was grateful for the win. (It would have been one of those games that would have been interesting to me even if I had lost.)


Post Tournament:

This was a tournament of firsts for me.

It was the first time I’ve played in Decatur. The presentation about Mr. Anderson before the second round, coupled with the memorabilia of his life they had, makes me hope that I will someday be held in such esteem by my family and fellow club members. (May that day be far away!)

The last two rounds put me at a total score of 2.0 for 4.0. It was enough to tie me for first place in the Class-E to Unrated section. So it’s the first time I’ve walked away from a tournament with a prize. Two bought meals and a little gas sharing (very little!) means the whole day cost me $9.00 out of pocket. Not bad for a twelve hour day of chess and fifteen hours away from the house.

It was also the first time I’ve played with my advance birthday present, a four inch House of Staunton Royale series wood pieces. (It’s also the first time I’ve played on the mousepad board that Ron Suarez gave me.) I hope to have a photo of Ray and I playing from Jeremy fairly soon.

OK…. Time to put this one into the bag (until I get time, someday, to do personal games analysis again.)

Thank you Decatur Chess Club for an excellent tournament!

Blogging Live from DeKalb

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Updated: 9:27 PM (Final Post on Live)

Our last little adventure trying to get to DeKalb was interrupted by a blizzard.

This morning, though, it’s supposed to be sunny and roads clear for the first tournament in Illinois of 2011.  My tournament kit is ready and I’ve got just a few things left before we leave for DeKalb.  I’ll be blogging live in this post as I have time throughout the day.

Time to put the laptop away in the kit and get ready and go!



We have all arrived on time and fine.  Roads were beautiful – wished I’d gotten some contrast pictures with the blizzard.

Hanson Hao is also playing here today.  So we have five of us, all in the lower section.


The Crew, Ready to Rock!

Checked in (and Ray pointed out that if we paid the $5 annual membeship for DeKalb chess, then we get a discount on the EF plus discounts from now on.  So now we’re committed for a return at some point.)  ;)  Coffee, restroom and conversation later and it’s time to rock!

No time for photos yet; pairings about to happen.  Wish us luck!

Round 1:

Round 1 was a loss for me – I ended up dropping a Rook in a Ruy Lopez.  I know that I’ve used exactly the same trap before.  :(  But hope for Round 2.

The rest of our crew did about as expected.  Michael and I lost, Hanson won, and Niranjan drew.  Ray got a bye for the round.

Pairings coming up imminently – must move quick!


Round 2:

Round 2 and I had another loss, but in this one we reached an endgame… from a Petroff, which isn’t my strongest opening.  One little pawn promoting made the difference.  This was one of those “fun-to-lose” ones, with enough equality in the game to make it very interesting.

About twenty minutes left on the clocks.  Ray also lost.  Hanson and Niranjan both scored wins… Talk about your hope for the future being in the children!!! :)

Mike got the bye, and we’re heading down to Round 3.  I’m thinking about lunch, or a combined lunch/dinner after next round.  I’d love to show some of the photos, but I’m not sure if I have time.  After coffee and bathroom we’ll see.  If I miss a third round post it’s because I had to get to the board.

Round 2, Now What Mess Have I Gotten Myself Into???  ;)

Round 2, Now What Mess Have I Gotten Myself Into??? ;)


Round 3:

Round 3 and I finally got on the board!  It was a fairly fast miniature against a player rated in the 400s.  But even then, my opponent and I did postgame analysis which reveals on early study that if White had played 14. Qe2 we would have had a whole different ballgame, with me down a Knight and playing defensive ball.

All the other games are still playing at the moment.

Time for lunch/dinner!  Then photos if I get the chance – if not, then results after Round 4.

My One Victory of the Day.  Thanks, John!

My One Victory of the Day. Thanks, John!


Round 4:

In Round 4 I faced an opponent that I had previously met during my last tournament in DeKalb.  I had won in our previous encounter with White leading my Giuoco Pianissimo.  This time I was not as fortunate.  An ill-conceived attack had me trade Queen for a Rook, and we worked it into a Queen versus Rook endgame that my opponent handled most excellently.  It will be interesting to analyze to see what better move I might have had rather than setting up what led to the trade-off.

The Crew Considers Just How LaughingVulcan Could Have Gone So Wrong!!!  :D

The Crew Considers Just How LaughingVulcan Could Have Gone So Wrong!!! :D

I feel fairly well about how I handled the endgame, though my opponent certainly knew what he was doing with it and proved the superior advantage of Queen over Rook.  ;)

(Surprisingly to me, mine was the final game of the five of us from Bloomington, so I didn’t have time to post this from up there.)


I know that Hanson Hao scored 3.0/4 and Niranjan scored 2.5/4, making them the best of our pack.  I think Ray finished with 1.5/4 including a bye, I finished at 1.0/4, and Michael might have finished at 2.0/4 with including a bye.  But I’ll have to confirm that from the ratings.

All in all, I’m moderately pleased with my performance.  In two of my games against higher rated opponents I worked it down into an endgame.  This proves to me that I need both work on recognizing target opportunities (to start focusing myself into endgames where I am on the winning side,) and also work on my endgames themselves.

Overall, I believe that we all had a good time and it was good to get tournament play with a different group of people.  Much thanks to Bill and the DeKalb Chess Club for hosting the tournament (and also his work in pairings to mostly avoid pairing us Bloomington folks together!)  We’ll definitely be back up that way again!

More photos will be available at the Twin Cities Chess Club site as soon as I get the opportunity to process and post them – probably later this week.