Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mountain Home Spring Tournament

Who needs to text and drive?
Mountain Home is a rural community outside of Boise and notorious for it's military and Air Force bases.  It will soon be home to a chess club.  The Idaho Chess Union held a four round, G/45 tournament at the Mountain Home Community Library and the Stagecoach Espresso Bar in order to inspire and support a beginning chess community.  Eighteen players from the Treasure Valley and the Wood River Valley competed with four Mountain Home players in a relaxed and fun event that pitted beginners with veteran chess minds.

Field Trip Rule #1:  Don't step in dog poop when you have to ride a bus for 2 hours.
I brought six high schoolers from our chess club to the event which introduced four of them to a tournament for the first time.  It proved to be very educational and I was surprised to learn how to deal with a particular position that has creeped up a couple different times in my own chess games.  This is truly the best way to learn about chess and for the older, more experienced generation to pass their knowledge onto new players without the pressure of ratings or titles interfering.
Playing with an arrow in your head! (it is a painting on the wall behind  Desmond)

One of the most pleasing aspects of this tournament was the fact that it was played in an espresso bar.  It was a  quiet Saturday afternoon, however, and the only frothing was because of my latte orders.  There was an occasional  customer that spectated and a rare library patron that entered the area with a raised eyebrow.

Round 1 began without any board numbers on the tables so I felt like I was at a church coffee social, shaking hands and introducing myself, hoping the hand I held was my opponent.  It was the same for all.  People settled, clocks and pieces were adjusted and Jeff Roland, our Tournament Director said a few words, then the espresso machine made one last gasp before  . . . . . . . d4.  I played one of my students Tyler Avila.  After our game we analyzed and talked about the game.
Round 1:  Peter Olsoy vs. Desmond
During Round 2, I made a move that I suspected was a loser, but I just couldn't see how it would be.  So I tried it out and soon found out why!  If I took with pawn on I could get a discovered check on the king, or I could just go right for the check with my queen.  Fritz tells me dxc6 was an advantage (0.92) while Qxc6 is a disadvantage (-0.13).  After 10. Qxc6+ (my move), Bd7 (of course), 11.  Qc4 (to save my pawn on e4) Rc8 (my bishop and possibly rook suddenly disappear).  I resign after a superfluous defense and go watch my students with my ears frowning and Paul chasing me down with analyses.
Round 2:  Paul Edvalson vs. me

Do I take with pawn or with queen? (me vs. Paul Edvalson)
I always try to encourage my students to play gracefully with the poise of a grandmaster.  But, the game (and this tournament is a fun one), and I watch my students inflict pain and tortuous moves on each other since they are struggling against the older players.  Martin Felix insists on mating Riley Clark with a pawn in one game, and while waiting for round  3 to end, mates Kalen with 6 rooks!

A loud, "Fuck!" breaks the silence of the last round and their is a hush as everyone in the room looks first at the exclamator and then slowly turn their heads to me for my dirty look - it's one of my students.  I smiled.  Was it a blunder or a good move, I wonder?  Youthful entertainment at its best!
White to move.  Nothing like leaping without looking!  17. Qxd6??
Corey Longerhurst, of Meridian, wins decisively with 4.0 points. And our group of seven heads to Winger's for dinner with three of us earning 2.0 points and four of us earning 1.0 points.

ICA article


  1. Just wanted to leave a comment to say I enjoy your blog. I grew up in Ontario Oregon (60 miles west of Boise) and spent a lot of time in Boise, driving by Mt. Home and camping in Idaho. My wife is from Boise and her family had a cabin in Sun Valley - so we spent a lot of time up there as well. And then on my side of the family - we spent a lot of time at Stanley. In fact my sister-in-law's family owns and manages Redfish Lake Lodge these days.

    So anyway - between the chess and seeing the places where your team plays, I really enjoy the blog!

    Take care,

  2. Thank you for your kind comments. I am hoping to run a chess tournament at Redfish Lake Lodge and the Roundhouse on Baldy, someday, in fact.


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