April 17th, 2021

abstract butterfly

Of Hawks and Pawns

Friday evening I walked in Allen Station Park. Twenty-one Franklin's Gulls flew overhead, with their black masks making identification easy.   They migrate through each Spring and Autumn. Earlier, at lunch, I walked in Breckinridge Park and saw either a Greater Yellowleg or a Lesserh. Two folks at inaturalist.org thought it the Greater, so I am going with that.

This morning I watched on Twitch as Grandmaster Pia Cramling analyzed her daughter Anna's game against a chess.com user. Her analysis of the position in a b3 Sicilian was instructive  Anna's opponent played very well against a much stronger opponent, but then the flaws came out in the analysis. I have been a fan of Pia Cramling since she became a grandmaster. Her style is very solid. I figured out how to use the "bits" system, part of Twitch's way of compensating creators. I felt that odd internet sensation when I clicked on an icon in Texas and someone in Sweden said "thank you for the 100 bits!" I prefer bits to subscriptions (or subs) as bits do not fit neatly into monthly recurring expenses.

I drove to Beatrice's veterinary office at 10:30 or so to pick up several of her medicines. The vet office still used pick-up only due to the pandemic. This worked quite efficiently.  The young woman who brought me the meds did not wear her mask, but otherwise things felt safe.

I drove to Oak Point Park and tok a walk. The day was chilly with a bit of wind.  I saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk and an immature Red-Tailed Hawk, among other species. Then I drove to Chicken Express for fish and corn. In the early afternoon, I entered another on-line United States Chess Federation chess tournament through chess.com. Some 39 players played in the event. My seeding was fairly low-they paired based on chess.com ratings. This was a 10/0 event (i.e., each side has ten minutes on the chess clock, and no time increments are added with each move). My "rapid" rating at Chess.com was in the low 1500s, which placed me just above or just below the bottom quartile by rating.

In the first round, I played a player rated 1800+.  I played the Dutch Stonewall Defense, and got a playable position. Ultimately, in a rook-and-knight middlegame I dropped a pawn through missing a tactical point. Then I dropped a couple of more pawns, and resigned. I did not like losing but I felt good that my blunders were not major.

In the second round, my opponent was rated 1100+.  I played the Stonewall Attack. So far this outdated opening has served me well. I am familiar with Slav and Colle System and Stonewall pawn formations and themes. I got a bit of an attack against my opponent. But he gamely neutralized my attack and ultimately won a pawn. Had he had all the time in the world, my opponent had the advantage. Unfortunately, my opponent ran out of time. The good work done to hold off my attack had taken too much time.  This is the peril of 10/0 chess. We messaged each other "good game."  I thought that he had played the way I like to play--keep things solid, defend well, grab a pawn and trade down for a win. But time got in the way.

By way of comparison, in my first rated over-the-board chess tournament, the 1977 Arkansas State Championship, the time control was that each side had 2 hours to make 40 moves, and had to make x moves an hour thereafter. I recall feeling that 30/0 was insufficiently slow for chess. For some years, I have preferred 10 0 and 5 0 to longer controls. This is in part a function of my preference for chess tournaments to last a few hours rather than into the night.

In the third round, I played an opponent rated 1700+.  I played  the Pirc Defense, a defense that I feel I do not know very well, but that I find that my opponents know it less well.  The other side went with a formation with a pawn on d3 and queenside castling. I launched first a pawn push on the queenside and then I broke open the center. Soon I had won the exchange, capturing one of my opponent's rooks with my knight. I won a pawn or two thereafter. My opponent, down to two knights and two pawns, resigned at that point. I think the resignation came too soon, as
I thought good play and a blunder or two by me might save a draw.  But I did have a winning position. When I analyzed the game after the tournament, the computer saID "You were never in trouble."  I was pleased with the win.

In round 4, I played an opponent rated about 1500, as I was rated. I again played the Stonewall Attack. My opponent sacrificed a knight in pursuit of an attack. I fended off the attack and also won some pawns. However, I became concerned that the other side could still attack unless I played conservatively. I allowed the other side to claim a draw by permitting the position to repeat three times. After the tournament, the computer showed me how I should have avoided that and won the game.

In round 5, I played a 2000+ player. In response to the opening 1. e4, I played the Philidor Defense. My opponent played one of those lines in which the white player sacrifices a bishop for a pawn to unleash a knight attack. I dreaded facing this, as I used to know but have forgotten the moves. But my opponent failed to play the best moves, either. Soon I looked as if I might survive the onslaught and emerge with a material advantage. But then I blundered, ended up a whole rook down, and resigned.

In this second on-line USCF tournament, my score ended up; being 2.5 points out of 5. This put me in 15th place. I recognized that in general my play was very flawed. But I was glad to do as well as a I did, as I continue to shake off the rust.

I went for a walk in Glendover Park. The Mallards have had ducklings. Meanwhile, a Robin built her nest on a window ledge near our patio. We try to ignore her to keep her feeling comfortable, My wife tells me she is sitting on two eggs.

Some weeks ago on ccmixter.org, I signed up for Secret Mixter, a "remix someone else assigned secretly and at random" project. I was assigned an artist whose work I admire. The remix is due tomorrow, so I worked it up this afternoon and early evening.  Usually, I would have taken a few samples and made a new song with software synthesizers and various other software gadgets I use. But this time I took a sung vocal track and a set of instrumental samples I created last month, before this project was assigned. I created something very simple and fun, using the restriction of only using those simple samples. Tomorrow I'll post it at ccmixter.org for folks to hear.

We ate tandoori chicken and vegetable korma from Silver Spoons tonight. It was very good.




















from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice