Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Good news

I did manage to win my last round at the club against a 1780 player trying to make a comeback after a 20 year exile from the game. This gave me a chance to end with a plus score to my rating.

I used an old friend ( The London) as I began the game doing some social engineering. " So, ( looking at my scoresheet) Bob, You are new to the club?"

Bob: " Yes, I'm coming back after 20 years of not playing in serious events." Me: " Ha Ha. SO the wife now lets you out of the house." Nervous chuckle on both our parts.

Then, in my head, the thought process began. 20 years since serious play must mean he stopped playing after Fisher left the scene and Kasparov was dominating the World. Further meaning, he probably started playing during the Fisher-mania... which meant he was probably a Sicilian player if I snapped 1.e4. I was tempted to go down a Smith-morra but then I said to myself, Hmmm, I'll be he never saw the London. Here's a chance to go "old school" on his rusty behind.

I won't shame him with the post of the game here ( If you really want to see it...ask me and I may post it in the comments). For starters, I deployed my pieces faster than my opponent. Then bob was busier than a super model at a Viagra conference. I was tactically removing the guard like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claiming he got rid of homosexuals in Iran.

But enough of that. I am taking things slow as family life takes a priority. Back in August I signed up to participate in a correspondence chess league team from our club. It's a pretty manageable pace with time limits like 30 days to make 10 moves. I get a notice on email along with a link to the game. I can view it... ponder it, then move and submit... followed by commit. Yes, a three step process.

Once a week at the club, a correspondence game and watching the Boston Blitz is about all I am signing up to do. I will blitz on ICC for some R&R. I am not doing too much in the studying realm as my time really is to my first priorities.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Whoville picks up 1.5 points

I'm in a slump. I am missing tactics. I played MC again at the club, you know, the cute but tough little nine year old girl who is rated in the 1700's. I'd like to think I can still beat her before she becomes a GM at 14. I was happily having an advantage while playing 1.d4 ( pulled an old friend out of thebag to mix it up) until I let her have the initiative and she had a killer Bishop and rook windmill fired on my hedged in king. The Previous week I got lucky and swindled a draw from another prodigy ( 1700 als0) but by all rights the kid should have won me.
I am trying not to get too fixated on this blasted game. I have a rather full plate at home. I do play a lot on ICC but I am losing a lot of blitz on ICC ( missing tactics). I play like a cave man who just invented fire but I singe myself in the excitement. I'm not doing enough "training". I train like I have ADD. I'll start CT-ART, then I'll jump to ICC, then I'll pop on to a blog or three, then I'll go back to Blitz and forget I had started a "TEST" on CT-Art. When I have 49 seconds left on my clock and a winning position, a family crisis occurs ( this could be anything from one of the kids asking to do the impossible to "will someone answer the friggin phone...I know its not for me")
I've got the "MY chess is in the sh*tter" Blues. Given all that is going on external to chess, I suppose its what I have to endure for now. I don't even have the energy to post the lost games from whoville. Maybe at some point I will in the posts.
Whoa is me.
Just staying afloat.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Breaking the cone of silence

I’ve got to stop going to the N.E, Open. It’s a tough weekend for the blunderprones in general and I never really score well. This year was no different from previous year (s).
I had to take a bye for round one as I was taking our one of our daughters up to college with a car load plus a trailer full of furniture for her apartment ( this one’s a junior). Our son, who usually accompanies me to the chess events was going up the following day with his mother. This was a pre-agreed upon arrangement because freshman entering in dorms at the State university have to arrive on a different day than the “upper classman”. Mrs. Blunderprone felt it was a good split and gave me the reluctant green light to go ahead and play in this event. Remember this, because in my experience, women do change their minds as often as I blunder.

After traveling over 180 miles round trip out to western Massachusetts with a full load and back in an old car… that I had recently serviced in the past 30 days, the car started to overheat ( again) on my way to the event ( now 50 miles away from home). I was in Merrimack with 10 minutes before the round to start driving with the heat on and the windows down looking for a car parts store that was open.. because… I KNOW.. the little piddly-ass convenient centers MIGHT have coolant… but not the pre-diluted kind… the kind you have to dump out half and find a faucet etc… I wanted the pre-mixed stuff. I was chess-survivor man... "must make round".

The Napa store was closed… a couple miles later a consumer-Auto was still ( barely) open… closing at 6… the same time my round was to start. My youngest daughter was with me. We rushed in and found the right stuff. Threw money at the clerk and dashed back to the car. I instructed Blunder-daughter to sit in the car because “this could get dangerous”. Yes. The warning on the radiator cap CLEARLY states “ NEVER OPEN WHILE HOT” in two different languages… but this was desperation calling for the same measures.

I pulled a handy towel/rag like cloth out of my overly used “cargo” area of the tired Subaru and proceeded with much caution and fast reflexes to remove the radiator with an extended left hand…. Because I am right handed and in my hasty justification as a chess-survivor man if I was going to get scalded that night, I decided to sacrifice my left hand so I could still carry on. How sick is that? I need help.

Mount fuji erupted but I narrowly escaped the hot “lava” and poured more green syrup down its throat. Now, if I was in my right mind, I would have bagged the tourney and headed home…. But NO! I am blunderprone the tenacious ( read: stubborn) and I still had 5 minutes before the round started. I put the cap back on the radiator and slammed the hood and drove off to the event.

Now… like my last rant at the NE open… I must digress a bit. In an effort to save $$ ( four kids in college and all… why am I even thinking about going to these events???), I decided that NH was close enough to commute back to Massachusetts. Since the next round was going to be at 10 AM and this round starting at 6-ish with 40 in 2 hours and SD in 60 as a secondary time control… my calculations were about as accurate as some of my tactical follies.
I was happy to have arrived only 5 minutes after the round started and my opponent not even set up. Little did I know my game was going to be a long drawn out 6 hour slug festival with the Slav. A little after midnight I won the point and drove back home with blunder-daughter asleep. I made record time and the car was not feverish. Nor did I see any blue lights...phew.

The next day, I told Mrs. Blunderprone that it made better sense ( like I was making any at that point) to do an over night at the hotel rather than risk the car breaking down and another sleep-deprived night. Again she agreed…. As I was getting dressed and ready while lacking sleep, I heard a *CRASH* in the kitchen.

The *CRASH* in the kitchen was a resentment landing in full armament like a troop surge in Iraq ( not that I approve of either… but you get the picture). “Why is it these tournaments always end up on Holiday weekends? You’re never around” and then “ I HAVE A RESENTMENT.”

A few more things were said by Mrs. Blunderprone who also refers to herself as a chess widow. Risking castration by a dull antler, I sheepishly said we would have to continue this “discussion” when I get back. Now, that will help me stay focused on my thought process in NH…. Again if I were in my right mind….

Another 6 hour marathon as Takchess mentioned was awaiting me in NH. I ventured a Scotch Gambit and only mustered a draw in a tough endgame with me having two rooks and fewer pawns against a rook and bishop with more pawns. That took the wind out of sails. Had it not been for the wonderful Knight-hood dinner encounter with Jim ( Takchess) the weekend would have been a total waste.

The next game, my brain was turning into a gooey substance often seen with salt-water taffy left out in the sun too long. I lost to someone who I’ve beaten time and again. The next morning I lost rather quickly to a 1300 player in a miserable game where I should have paid more attention. But my mind was back in Massachusetts trying to salvage the rest of the weekend and my poor wife’s state. After the first two children went off to college, she fell into a deep depression that winter. I should have known… with the fourth heading out that things weren’t about to change.

I finally came to my senses and put an end to the madness in NH and withdrew for the rest of the event and was home by Noon. I didn’t even go to the club on Tuesday. The first time I looked at a board was when I was watching the USCL games on Wednesday evening.

One thing is for sure, I realized I need to right my priorities and not get too carried away with this game. After all, its only a game. So, for the rest of the year, it will be only one night a week at the club…I’ll maintain that. I’ll wait until next year before I see a weekend event. Plus I need to tone down my practicing… I have diminishing returns as I am still on this plateau... and as my wife points out... quite bit... there are others who need my attention... and she is at teh top of the list. Balance... I was never good at that.

As for my car dying on Labor-day weekend, Tuesday morning at the shop I was looking at a blown head ga$$$ket. Long story short on this epilog… I have a new car. That was the most expensive tournament I went to.