Saturday, July 2, 2016

MVCC Tuesday Blitz

Students continue to play into the summer and seven of us visited the MVCC on June 28 to play some blitz chess (G/5 d0).  Tournaments are a fun way to up your chess level and feel the heat of competition in your checks, as well as, a means to find excuses for losses!  In my first round, I played Otto and he really took it to me in the first game forcing me to run out of time.  Nothing like keeping the board complicated for an old player allowing excess time to disappear as quick as a blitz game!  I ran out of time.  Too slow.  Otto beamed and enthusiastically rushed to each game.

Darwin and Tyson (with Fred watching)
I watched Tyson Spellman, our ex-alumna President of our club, enjoy each game thoroughly using all the time a game would allow with his opponents.  He is one of the most polite chess players we own as he points out illegal moves and neglects claiming a win.  He plays for the joy of chess and wants to play games that are "legit".  He feels that he is somehow cheating if he claims victory over technicalities.  Later in the night, he "dropped" a pawn and it's head bounced across the floor.  Is this some sick metaphor?

Quentin jumps at every opportunity to play and tonight he quietly sat across from each opponent and methodically moved his pieces.  He is working on his hand movements as he plays to mimic the gestures of an experienced master.  His face displays defeat when he sees the pairings.  I was able to observe his games as I sat as his opponent and he doesn't like to play coach.  He clings to mainstream ideals of fairness in competition that don't exist in the chess world.  But I love his tenacity on the board as he will never just quit and he looks to play the best move possible when playing me.  Whereas games with my other players take on wild positions and risky sacrifices, Quentin's games are more positional, classic, and by the book.

I think for the first time in our MVCC Blitzes, I did not have to play Darwin.  Tonight he was excited to play and did not use the word "boring" to describe his games.  He handedly won some and ended with 3.0 points in 6th place behind me.   He described his unique draws and stalemates and he learned the benefits of playing a game out to the end against experienced players.  Sometimes experienced players forget how to mate with a queen and a king under time pressure and screw up won positions.  These stalemates feel like victories for the lone kings!

Desmond was convinced to come and play, as well, even though it was "his night off."  Desmond now plays better than me and his games were complex and still displayed growth.  He can compete fully with the experienced players and he downed most of the veterans, scoring 4.0/6.0 points.  Fred, Dave, Barry, and Gary have to be on their guard but can achieve victory if they win a piece against Des.  Des gives in when he goes down in material as he likes to see the path to victory and uphill battles are a nuisance.

Liam was our 7th player and Mom needed to be convinced that he could handle playing at this level.  He is a rookie that loves the camaraderie that traveling chess players exude.  He performed great and learned much, despite not winning a game.  His victories included learning the etiquette and nuances of a tournament.  He has only participated in scholastic tournaments (occasionally, as he is in Taekwondo and misses a lot of chess opportunities) and was no worse for the wear after 3 hours of blitzing into the night.

These are my players and I love to travel with them and see their antics, trials, and tribulations as much as I like playing the game myself.

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