Round 3

Round 3 started on time. We arrived about 5 minutes late. My game was already underway. My capitan was there, but the other two were not. Each individual game gets to start when one player arrives.

My round
I fought a much better game as black this afternoon. I was able to build a very strong defense to protect my King and started working a good offense. It was obvious the line of offense my opponent was working, so I was able to protect against it while still chipping away at his defense.

But, it all came to a screeching halt when I could not get one piece moved. I had to sit back and be patient. Eventually he won in 27 moves using his original offense. I feel like it was a good game, he was just able to develope better than I could.

Our other team members arrived and lost their games pretty quickly. Daniel lasted longest but eventually lost his game as well. This was not a surprise as the team we were playing was a much stronger team. I am not sure how the scoring goes, but we are actually playing teams that are not in our grouping and their average skill level, which is a numerical rating, will be taken into consideration in the final tally for the diffenet groupings. We have now won 2 of our 12 possible points.

My son’s round
His team won 3 of their 4 matches this afternoon. He played as white. The loss was his unfortunately. He did not tell me really how it went, but the girl he was playing against looked like she had control of pretty much the whole game. I was able to see his match from my playing position.

His team also won 3 of their 4 games last night. The one they lost was the one in which we had to pull my son out of because of time. His team has won 10 out of a possible 12 points. Good job.

We each have a substitute playing in our stead tomorrow for round 4.

No cell phones. No real excitement.

Round 5 has been moved up 1 hour to be played at 4. So out of the 5 rounds, 3 of them have had their starting times changed.

Round 2

Things started much more on time today. We started about 10 minutes late which was reasonable.

My round
I played white against Alejandro. We played 14 moves before a piece was taken from either side. He wanted to play defense which forced me to try and develope my strategy with a lot of pieces on the board. That has not normally been my experience, so I was not very good at it. But I did what I could to oblige. A bad move here, a mis-read there and he had a few of my power pieces. Fortunately, I had some of his too.

Through a very benign move on my part Alejandro was able to put me in checkmate. I had moved my King to position myself for a very nice attack on his Rook. I just happened to move my King into a square that would allow his Queen to put the mate on me. I don’t think there is any way he could have really planned that, it just happened and he took advantage of it.

My team lost all four of our games. Daniel, our capitan, was not informed of the time change for round 2. It was supposed to be played at 9:00 this morning, but after play got started last night, they announced a change. No one knew a phone number to inform Daniel, so he showed up at 9:00 this morning and no one was here. When no one showed up he left and came back at noon. Had he walked in the door at 11:59, he would have been able to play his game. Since he came in at 12:05, he was 5 minutes over his aloted time. I feel this was really not his fault since the start time was changed after the tournament was started.

Our two younger players both lost their games, but they held on longer than I did.

My son’s round
He played well as white and beat his opponent in 5 or 6 moves, he could not remember. He has a little trick mate that he does. It only takes a couple of moves to set it up and once you put it in motion, the opponent has to see it right off or it is over. This works at the kids level, but most adults know to look for it.

Two of the opponents did not show up and his capitan won his game. So his team won all 4 points. We are not sure how many points they won last night as we forgot to ask.

Not nearly as exciting as last night, but there was a phone that rang during play today. Everyone’s head turned to see who was going to lose this time. It was the head judge! Since he was not playing, no DQ.

Round 1

The tournament was to have all registrations done by 4:00 today. First round was to start at 4:00. Not hard to do both at the same time in a small tournament like this. There were about 60 players. This is a team event. So once your team is signed up, they just needed to pair you up with the other teams in your grouping.

Sign up and adult game postings were done sometime between 4:30 and 4:45. I should have gotten the exact time because it would have come in handy later. The dignitaries were introduced and adults were sent to their tables to start play. The kids (up to 12 years old) still did not have their team pairings.

My round
My team drew a bye which would net us 2 out of 4 possible points. There were 9 teams and one had to get a bye. I was a bit relieved just because I am still a little nervous about starting the tournament. Our best player Daniel, whom I mentioned before, left. Myself and two younger players (maybe 13 and 14) stuck around. They are brother and sister and had another brother playing in the kids group.

Somewhere around 5:00 another team registered for the event. They then were paired with us and we three were told to go ahead and play our round. Since Daniel had already left, he would have gotten a loss and since the team we were playing were all crusty old men, we figured that the three who were left stood no chance to win any other point.

Being the stickler for rules that I am, and because the two younger players were almost in tears at the thought of having to play without our capitan Daniel, I protested. I simply told the judge (we’ll call him the white judge) that we drew a bye, our best player had already left and the other team registered late, therefore we were not obligated to play. He took the matter to the head judge (the blue judge) who countered with “they have three players, just have them play anyway.” The white judge plead our case saying that even though this is a local tournament, I have a right to have the rules of registration respected. The blue judge conceded and allowed us our bye and gave the other team a bye.

To be fair to the other team, they have a valid point in that registration has always been lax at the local level here, so they should be allowed to still play. I am fine with that, just don’t steal my 2 points. If I were tournament director then when 4:00 rolls around according to the atomic clock, registration is closed. But I am not and I understand that here tradition is more powerful than the rules.

My son’s round
The kids finally got their game assignments sometime after 5:00. First round was to start at 4:00. He played well as black. He kept a good attack going on the opponent’s King. But he had no real killing strategy. Their game moved very slowly and it was almost as if they were doing everything they could just to keep from getting captured. Neither one really played much offence. I think each had 2 pieces in the end.

5:30 passed. I had a class to teach at 6:00. 5:40 came and went. I was getting pretty depressed by this time. I knew what needed to be done and I did not want to do it. At 5:50 I could not wait any longer. I had to ask my son to resign his game. Two hours was plenty of time to play before I had to go teach. But since his game started more than an hour late, that put him in time trouble. Not from the play clock, but obligations. At 8 years old I could not just leave him there and come back for him in an hour and a half.

By resigning he lost a point for his team. Had the tournament started on time this would have never happened. Theoretically it could have happened because each player had 1.5 hours to make their moves. So he could have run out of time and had to retire because 2 hours might not have been enough. But I have rarely seen a kids game last much more than an hour.

As I was sitting behind my son and his game I heard a phone ring. The new rule is that if your cell phone rings during a game, you automatically lose the game. I was curious as to who was going to lose his game. Quickly a man jumped up and started digging in his pocket. It rang again as he answered it running out the door. His opponent shot up his hand and told the white judge what had happened. The judge did not see the event, so had to talk to both players.

The white judge and the offender argued for quite some time. It was very clear to me that his phone rang at the table. He said it did not ring until he had left the table and was walking out of the room, but that the vibrate function goes off before it rings, so he knew it was about to ring.

After 30 minutes of arguing with the white judge over exactly what the rule said, the blue judge was called in. The blue judge went and got the rule book. I snuck over to hear the reading of the rule. The rule states that if the phone rings in the playing room (not just at the table) then the player forfeits his game. The offender started backtracking then and saying his phone did not ring until he was out of the room. Then he said something quite humorous to his opponent. “You are just using the rules to your advantage!” Isn’t that what rules are for? To be used? And doesn’t that always imply that someone gets the advantage over another player? He then said he wanted to file a formal complaint against the judges for being so technical about the rules. So the blue judge gave him a stack of paper and a pen.

That was about when we had to leave. Quite entertaining amongst all the other goings on. Hopefully tomorrow will be more on time. Of course, tomorrow we have no obligations after the rounds, therefore time is not as essential to us.

My second chess tournament

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 México 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.

minilogopodcast.jpgI hope no one is really depending on me to carry our team for a win. I will do my best over the 5 rounds.

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.