Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Tied for First

The Frisco [a town in Texas] Quick Quads quommenced at 9 o'clock this morning. I had had a number of RSVPs, but some of them did not attend. Six people total attended, fewer than the ten I had hoped. Yet we had a great time nonetheless.

The ratings of the combatants were:

1. Vincent, at 1900
2. myself, at 1619
3. Julia, at 1550
4. Chris, at 1330
5. a fellow whose first name escapes me, last name Kao, at 880
6. a new fellow whose name also escapes me, whose kind mom drove him all the way from east Texas, unrated, first tournament.

We played a double round robin, with each opponent playing each opponent twice, for a toal of ten games each.

In the first round I drew Vincent. I won the first game, in a knight and pawn endgame, when his flag fell. In the second game, I had winnning chances in a 2 passed pawns and bishop v. rook endgame, but I squandered the chances, permitted an exchange, and lost.
I was nonetheless happy to split the two points with this stronger player.

Then I played the new fellow, who promptly made an unsound knight for pawn sacrifice. I managed to not only return the material, but to actually drop my queen for another knight. In the resulting queen v. two knights and other pieces middlegame I should have been short work for him, but he "dropped his back rank", allowed me to get in an attack on his king, and when the dust cleared his queen was off the board and I was two pieces up. I won the second game also, with less melodrama.

I played Chris next. The last time Chris and I had played, he had held me to a draw in one of our two games. This time, though, I merely did what I do best--bided my time, won a piece in one game and a pawn in the other, and traded home to a won endgame. I won each time.

Julia, a talkative, likable teen chess regular I had played three times before, scoring one win and two draws (her memory is that they were all draws) and I played two lively games. In the first game, she played Bird's Opening, the quirky attacking formation I used to enjoy playing myself for a change of pace. Although I pride myself on knowing how to combat this opening, in point of fact Julia got a great deal of pressure on my king. I managed to trade, however, into a rook and pawn endgame a pawn up. Rook and pawn endgames can be drawish, and this one was no exception, as my extra pawn was doubled on the same rank as another pawn. We agreed a draw when Julia proved she could enforce repetition of moves if I did not wish to lose material.

Our second game was a critical game. The winner would be a "leg up" on winning the whole tournament. I played a the reverse Janofsky Indian which I've been using lately, in which my bishop anachronistically visits f4 despite a g2 bishop fianchetto.

In a hotly contested set of opposing attacks, I developed a fierce mating net on her kingside. I had an easy mating combination, and missed it. I settled instead for a draw by repetition of moves. I am not so upset about missing the mating combination, but I was disappointed to agree a draw with substantial time left on my clock. Had I focused, I might have found a different approach. We split our games 1-1 through our two draws.

My next opponent was young Mr. Kao, who played very well considering our rating differnce, but against whom I picked off pawns, as per plan, and rode home simple endgames.

The tournament ended with me and Vincent tied for first with a score of 8-2 [in my case, 7 wins, 1 loss, 2 draws]. Julia unexpectedly lost both her games to Chris. Vincent and I split the huge prize fund of 35 dollars. With my 17 dollars and 50 cents of winnings, I nearly broke even, which would have been a feat, given the poor attendance. My financial loss was something like 22ish dollars, which was certainly worth it for all the fun. My change of venue cut my losses. Chris won the "under 1400" prize of 20 dollars.

I am happy that I played overall quite well. My quick rating will go up once more, after a few straight tournaments of downward trend.

I had lunch with Julia's dad, who is a national level tournament director, who runs large tournaments (I am a local level director, who runs the smallest tournaments imaginable). We made tentative plans to run a "real" tournament in a few months for which he will tournament direct and the prize fun will be more substantial. That should be fun.

My wife and I then went to Firehouse Subs and then to play a set of tennis, which she won 7-6. We are evenly matched. Although she is much smaller than I am, she has the more powerful volley, while I tend to rely on lots of spins and junk shots. Our sets seem to be decided by who tires first.

Then we took our dogs for a walk which was punctuated by their excitement at all the numerous bunnies hopping in our neighborhood.

The skies are red tonight--sailor's delight.

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