Chess Wars

On April 25th and 26th I played in my first chess tournament since September 2012. Two kidney surgeries and finding a good home for the Boyd & Nicholas, Inc. family and moving them to Simione took my attention and time in between.

In 1986, in the playoffs, the Giants beat the 49ers 49-3 despite the 49ers having Montana, Craig and Rice. My first game was like that.

In the first game I suffered my worse defeat since 1960. The 10th grader played a version of the Wing Gambit (never heard of it). He trapped me a couple of times and I resigned in 15 minutes and nine moves. Bad enough for me to consider taking up solitaire as a hobby. At least it was a gambit I can spell unlike The Chigorin’s Queen’s Gambit, The Boden-Kieseritzky-Morphy Gambit and others – none of which I know either. I miss The King’s Gambit, The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and The Blackburne-Hartlaub Gambit all of which I use to know.

My next game was against Mr. Ho, who had bought his 10-year-old son to play also. I feared for a minute that I was playing junior. I lost a pawn early but fought hard for 4 hours to draw the game. Both Mr. Ho and the 10th grader are rated higher than me but if that was any comfort the Oakland Raiders would be a happy football team.

My 3rd and last game I was afraid I would be matched with Ho junior but I guess Ho-Ho was not meant to be.

I got paired with a 7-year-old Russian kid. The boy was rapidly kicking my butt from the beginning. In football they talk about which end of the field the teams are playing on and that you are in trouble if backed up at your end. Heck, I never got past the 10-yard line for the longest time. Then, I remembered my past observation; time and youth rarely agree. The kids are used to 5-minute chess and quick games. Two hours for each player is way too slow. I started taking longer to make moves. I also traded a knight for two pawns to get me some space and move up to the “40 yard line.” I should still have lost but suddenly after some trading of pieces and with a cleared field my pawns “raced” (this is chess) towards the end zone, wanting to become queens. The kid was hard pressed to stop them and victory was close except that I had used so much time I barely had two minutes left. By now he looked like he was going to cry (that happened to me {kid crying – not me} at a Las Vegas tournament once.) I offered the draw which he accepted. Justice for both in a way. I used 118 minutes and he had used half that.

You know they have tournaments where only under 18 can play. I wish they had tournaments where only over 40 can play. There is a Senior Open this year in Florida; I hope someday to play in it.

Take care. Have a hobby. Play it.
Tom

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