Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tuesdays with Bisguier

Tuesday night is my chess club night. The Metrowest Chess Club in Natick, MA has a strong membership. The players range from all skill levels and on any Tuesday we have 80 players on a regular basis. Our club has been the home for some of the strongest players in the area ( though Boylston CC does seem to have the strongest top section.) It is also where Arthur Bisguier has settled in our area for a regular chess club and we are honored. This former US champion, 3 time winner of the US Open championships, interzonal contender for world championship plays folks like me on a regular basis at the young age of 81. A much more approachable GM than my recent experience with Jann Elvhest

Since the world open, I’ve been preoccupied and consumed with other pressing things outside of chess but I do take the time for once a week to attend this great chess club and take my lumps with these old lions. The second round in this month’s tournament had me paired against the former US champion. I hadn’t been practicing since my warm up to the world open and, like I said, an outside issue has me a little preoccupied. I played black against his 1.e4 and played a new line of the C-K advanced variation I’ve been trying to get a better grip on. I play 3…c5 which at fist looks stupid because it ends up like a French defense with a tempo down. But I forgot what I was trying to accomplish. At one point I thought of reverting back to a more standard line with 3…Bf5 but I told myself that the only to get better is to dive onto this variation and take my lumps against the strong players so it leaves a more lasting impression. And what in impression it left. Arthur’s remark was “ When you play the opening that poorly, you can’t expect too much.” I thought that was funny.

Here this crappy game. Yes, it’s not spectacular but I’m not afraid of showing some of my weaker games. I get a lot of good feedback from the comments and grow stronger from the experience.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Day four into the 39th World Open.

Typically my performance at the past World Open events had me too nerved up in the first few rounds to pull off any wins until round 4 or 5. This year, it seems to be different. I am meditating just before each round and staying as centered as possibly knowing that my months of preparation is adequate to play some decent chess in the U1800 section of this major event.

Yes, it would be nice to win money. However, I see to many folks like myself before, all worked up and with r/e next to their names as they re-enter ( and pay even more money) to have a shot at the big prize. Not me…not this year.

My goal is just play some decent chess, have some fun and click my rating up 16 more points to reach my next milestone at 1800! I am well on my way. At the half way point I won 2 games and drew two games. I took a bye for the evening round 5 and spent the time with my wife and a night out on the town recuperating after a grueling 6 hour marathon game that ended in a draw.

The timing of the rounds is not good for someone who is used to eating at certain times of day. At about hour 5 into the Saturday marathon, I decided to buy a couple of hot dogs that were being offered by the hotel just outside the playing hall. These things were sitting around most of the day in lukewarm water way past freshness date. Needless to say, I awoke in the middle of the night, sick and sweating. Not a good start to day four. I was still peaked by the start of the round and my insides were raw. I suffered my first loss and it wasn’t pretty. I just wasn’t myself. The good news is that I had plenty of time to revive myself before the next round. Food poisoning is not fun at a chess event.

Enough of the unpleasant news, here are a couple of my earlier round victories. One is against a player by the name of Dragan and as my name is George… my patron saint is St. George the Dragon slayer! I won with a pawn mate! The second game I won because my opponent blundered away his queen. Been there done that.

That’s all for now, I thought I’d blog from the front lines. I am enjoying watching the “big games” Gata Kamsky , Elvhest, Lendermann and many others showed up for some chess. A quick note about Jann Elvhest. I was getting my usual breakfast sandwich at this corner market a block away from the hotel ( because its much better for the price than the over priced stale hotel offering) and ran into Jaan Elvhest. I say hi to him. He just looks at me, winces and looks back at the menu. Not a word from the grandmaster. Getting snubbed by a GM…I am so honored!