Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Creepy Rooms and Monkey Chess at SIO

Jeff v. Caleb in an intense game with draw offers on the table.
The Southern Idaho Open 2011 was as entertaining as it was competitive on Saturday, November 12.     Desmond, me and two other Wood River Valley residents attended the one day, 4 Round G/60 event.  Des, Riley and I were slated for the U1400 Reserve Section, but Nick Bruck wanted to play in the Open Section.  I won 1st place (3.5 pts.) and my son, Des, won 2nd place (3.0 pts.).  Cash prizes were for placements while chess books from the library of the late Glen Buckendorf, 10-time Idaho State Champion, were donated to 3rd and 4th places for each section.

The Obenchain Insurance Company provides the ICA and the ICU with the space to conduct chess tournaments and we are very appreciative of this.  However, after years of playing in this room, I do not know whether to appreciate the sterile environment which is devoid of sound and windows for my concentration, or to believe it as "creepy" as some of our younger chess players describe it as with stale smells and eerie, unnatural lighting.  Some rounds I discover that my focus and concentration are as intense as a cat, and in others, I might as well be a monkey playing chess.

Gettting a bit ripe in the tournament room?

Round 1 had me paired with a seven year old, Jacob.  Jacob definitely has his mainlines memorized as I opened like a monkey and screwed up the Caro-Kann on . . .oh . . .about . . . move 2!  E4?  What the heck opening am I playing, again?  Well the game only got a bit worse . . . as Jacob began threatening my pawns guarding my castled king.  By move 14, Jacob was eyeing the h7 square and checkmate.  In accepting the offered material gain, I gave up my position!  After I successfully doubled my pawns and removed any defense they might offer me at all, I suddenly had the mobility to counter and chase away Jacob's attack that had my face flushed like a baboon's kaboose for about 5-10 minutes.

After move 16.  I look like a monkey with most of my pieces in the starting gates (I'm black).
Alexandr v. Des.
Meanwhile, Desmond was engaged in a tense game with a Russian gentleman that possessed an extra piece of Desi's and a messed up pawn structure (like my game).  Alexandr looked like he was going to win, but Des fought hard and earned a piece back, and with a significant rook exchange, successfully promoted his pawn with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.  A quick, back-and-forth button pushing session elicited an illegal move.  Des paused the clock, raised his hand and to my surprise, someone other than the TD said, "Well you made an illegal move too," to Des.  Umm . . .really?  Neither of the players recognized Desi's illegal move, but Alexandr's was sitting there on the board for all to see.  Jeff Roland, the TD, decided to fairly replace two minutes on each person's clock.  At that moment, a mouthful of Russian filled the air, and a highly animated Alexandr began pointing at the clock and claiming that he won on time (which he didn't).  For the next few minutes, Jeff and Jay tried to convince Alexandr that nothing sketchy was occurring and Alexandr changed his time claim to cheating (indicating that Jeff changed the clock's).  Alexandr would not sign the scoresheet and scoffed his hands at the clock and stormed out of the room with veins on the side of his head popping out like a horror movie.
Black to move (Des is black).  Do you see how to win this game?
Meanwhile, Nick was engaged in his own battle with Jeff Roland.  I got a quick glance of the game which had virtually no pawn structure for Jeff, and I confidently asserted that Nick was about to win.  But tough games are even tougher in the endgame and Jeff pulled out a win.  Riley is still fairly new to chess and I appreciate that she is willing to play at this level, less than a year into learning about the game.

In round 2, I was paired against my friend, Kevin Patterson.  Deja vu positions for most of the game, but a glitch in the matrix produced a bishop sacrifice to open up the files (and diagonals) in front of the king for a juicy mate.
Adam v. Kevin.  White to move.  How do you think I proceeded?
Round 3 action pitted me against Desmond, and I did not have the heart or mind to open with anything but what we have been working on in chess club.  His Colle was met by a French Defense with unusual lines that produced a very equal position.  After I offered a draw on two separate occasions, Desmond finally relented when just rooks and pawns, and a long endgame were beginning.  He offered a draw and then asked me to play the position out.  Indeed, a draw.

Father - Son Chess

Desmond v. Adam.  Black to move.  Is this a drawn game?
In other round 3 action, Jeff Roland left his board for a bit only to return and discover that his opponent had retracted a played move.  "E4?  Where is the piece that is on e4?  Hey, you can't take back a move.  That piece wasn't on e3.  See, you even crossed it off, but I recorded your move." The atmosphere just got creepier.

The weirdness subsided when round 4 began in slow motion, and I began dodging a rain of attacks from my last opponent.  I was paired with Alexandr and Des played Jay Simonson.  Des had a much easier time than me this round, as I went full term but won on time.  Alexandr is a very difficult opponent.  I remember my first tournament game with him.  He played very safe and took all my pieces.  Then mated me with an overloaded board that looked like a moving truck out of the Grapes of Wrath piled high with bishops, queens, and rooks.

Adam v. Alexandr.  White to move.  Where should I go?
The next ICA tournament is the Western Idaho Open, Dec. 10-11 at Boise State University.  The next scholastic tournament will be sponsored by the WRHS Chess Club at WRHS, Common Room, on Dec. 3.

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