Tomorrow starts my second chess tournament. I am a relative newbie to the game. Though I have known how to play for many years, I did not actually start playing with any real learned strategy until a little over a year ago. My son said he wanted to take chess lessons at one of the activity centers in town. I thought he would want to go after something like Karate or Tae Kwan Do, but he chose chess.
The class was free and the teacher, as I understand it, is one of the coaches for the state Olympic team. In MÃ©xico Olympic games are held every year to help choose competitors for the world Olympics. So the state actually pays for my son to take chess classes. Good deal, huh?
Since my son needed me to take him to class and interpret for him the first few weeks, I decided to sit in on the class. And, since sometimes there are kids that don’t have a playing partner, I fill in for them. Don’t worry. I don’t beat them mercilessly. I fight for all I can and still lose most of the time. Monday, Daniel, a 14 year old boy, took me out 2 games in a row. We were playing 5 minute blitz and he beat me on time the first game and by mate the second game.
Today I played 9 year old Uyts (we have a lot of Mayan names here). He definitely had the better knowledge of the game. We did not have a clock on the game, so we were able to take our time. He had me running scared until he lost his concentration by goofing around analyzing the game next to us. He made 2 bad moves and I got a material advantage on him. Though I had no ending strategy, he could see that he was in bad shape. He ended up resigning. He had a lot more faith in my abilities than I did.
Anyway, that brings us back to the tournament. We are playing in a team event this weekend. My son will play on one team and I on another, for obvious reasons. My son is only 8. But, remember Daniel that I mentioned? At 14, he is considered an adult in the chess world (at least in this event). He is the capitan of my team. The girl he was playing against today, who was quite skilled and about 13 years old, is on my team as well. I did not meet my fourth teammate, but will tomorrow.
For those of you in the know on these things, my son played in his first (and only) rated tournament last December. He has a rating of 1107. Although I was able to attend most of his games, I was not able to play in the tournament, so I will be picking up my first rated tournament this weekend.
My favorite chess podcast by the way is: Chess is Cool, with Alexandra Kosteniuk. The podcast is really good with chess news and tips. Usually very short. Less than 15 minutes. Though it is not weekly because of her travels playing high profile tournaments. She just finished playing in the Russian Men’s Championship. She has some great pictures at the site.