Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Des Moines Time Odds Blitz

Our next stop Saturday was Pioneer Park Shelter #3 for the Des Moines Time Odds Blitz.  Unfortunately traffic was heavy and slowed us down considerably.

  There was no time for lunch; we jumped out of the van just as the tournament director Hank Anzis was finishing the pairings for the first round.  "Here's the Carsons!"  Hank said, and walked right back to his computer and re-did the pairings; we were so happy not to have to sit out the first round!

Time odds blitz means that players with lower ratings get more time to think while players with higher ratings have less time.   In this tournament the lower rated player always had 8 minutes to start with.  If his/her opponent was 500+ points more highly rated, the opponent would get 2 minutes, with a 400-500 point difference 3 minutes, 301-400 4 minutes, and so on until a player rated between 0-25 points higher would have 8 minutes.  

There was no delay on the clocks as that would defeat the purpose of the time odds.  This is called "sudden death;" if you run out of time, you lose.  Unlike most chess tournaments, this tournament was not touch move (you touch a piece, you have to move it), but clock move (you hit your clock, your move is sealed).  There were a couple other rules slightly different from regular tournaments.  After the rules were reviewed, the first round started.

My first game I had 3 minutes as my opponent was much lower rated.  I was fresh and have a lot of practice with speed chess from my games on FICS, so I won without spending a whole minute.  

My second game I had only 2 minutes, so it was harder; but my opponent lost material and had a tough time.  The third game I had 6 or 7 minutes to my opponent's 8.  I was playing an experienced opponent closer to my rating, Steve Jacobs.  I focused on moving quickly in hopes of equalizing the time so he would be under as much (or more) time pressure as I.  Eventually, I won.

A promotion to board 1 for the 4th round meant playing Eddie Divonavic the highest rated player at the tournament.  The time odds were in my favor (I had 8 minutes to his 5), but he won easily anyway.  The next game, I was demoted to board 2 where I faced Matthew Jacob.  He pressed home an advantage and won.

The final round I played Ana, a rapidly improving scholastic chess player who tied for 2nd at this year's Iowa Girls Chess Championship.  Early in the game I was pretty sure I had the advantage.  However, under the time pressure I carelessly left one of my rooks unprotected.  Ana recognized the opportunity immediately, and I (poor me!) was left without a rook.  After that, the game was all hers, and she brought it to a quick conclusion. 
I was delighted to see my brother win the tournament, and it was a pleasure as always to meet with the old faithfuls--fellow chess-players whom I've seen at tournaments for years.  Many thanks to Hank Anzis for directing.  Time-odds blitz is definitely a fun way to play chess, as it makes games between players with large rating differences more challenging.  My dad remarked that it was one of the funnest tournaments he's ever played in;  I have to agree that it was up there near the best.  

Future time odds blitz tournaments will be at the same place in June, July, and August (see here for more info).

We stopped in a shady spot for a quick lunch, and then returned to the busy streets, driving toward our next destination...

Photo credits:  Thank you to my dear mother and Christine Denison for photos.  Other photos are my own.

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