Wednesday, January 28, 2015

7th Annual Holiday Swiss

My first chess tournament of the year was the 7th Annual Holiday Swiss on January 17th.  Papa and I began our drive at about 7:15 a.m.  Sunrise was particularly beautiful, and windmills, which have thoroughly invaded our area of Iowa, added interest to the scene.
After reading a chapter from the Bible, I settled back and enjoyed the scenery along the way.  There were five very impressive stacks of corn stalk bales.  The large rectangular shape of the bales indicates they will be used by an ethanol plant.  Most farmers in the area feed their cattle with large round bales.

I ate breakfast on the way; we arrived at the meeting room of Dahl's Foods in Clive, IA just in time for the tournament.  

My first game was against Steve Jacobs (1456) who was Iowa Reserve co-champion with my papa, Tim Carson, in 2013.  The game developed into a much more closed position than I am used to playing.  Eventually, however, I was able to trade a not-so-active bishop for 3 pawns, and after a queen trade, those pawns served me well.  

I carelessly overlooked 48. Nxb3 and lost one of the pawns, but the others valiantly continued the march.  It was an interesting and fun game.  On the board beside mine, Papa was playing Jim Freerksen (1752).  It was a tough game, but Jim managed to get a one--and then two--pawn lead, and eventually won.

When both Papa and my games were over, we walked over to the deli to try to find some lunch.  A jam-topped croissant caught my eye, and I ordered that and a chicken pot pie.  We took our seats, thanked the Lord, and I enjoyed lunch while we talked with Steve Jacobs, who had just finished his.

I had barely finished half the pie--and hadn't started on the croissant yet--when it was time for the second round.  This time I was paired against Austin Scharoch (1474).  I figured it would be a tough game, but thought I could manage a win.  Sadly (for me), I was wrong.

I won the exchange early in the game, but made a big mistake on move 24. gxf3 when I exposed my king (24. g3 was correct).  However, Austin did not immediately exploit the error to the fullest, and I could have rescued myself with 27. Qb3, preparing Qb8+.  After 27. Rg3, I was a gonner.

After his initial blunder (was it designed to make me overconfident?), Austin played skillfully, and the win was well-deserved.  I learned never to underestimate an opponent, even when I'm 200 points higher rated and up an exchange.  It's never wise to sit back and relax until *after* the game.
The next round I played Bill Broich (1523), one of the TDs and an IASCA board member.  I have played Bill several times, but have never forgotten losing to him at the Des Moines Open in 2007.  One thing I have learned is never to let my guard down playing him.  Considering my fate in the second round, I determined to stay on the qui vive.  
On move 14 I won the exchange.  The rest of the game I was rather nervous, as I knew I had to be careful not to let this game be a repeat of round 2.  Fortunately I was able to pull through.  The third round proved to be a good round for Papa as well.

In the final round I played Mark Kende (1800).  Toward the beginning of the endgame he offered a draw, but I had considerably more time left on my clock and thought I had the better chances of making it out alive.  

I blundered with 30...Qb2, responding to the phantom (or at least not-yet-existent) threat of Rh1.  Better would have been 30...Be4 when I should have been able to hold a draw (31. Rh1 Bxf3 32. Kxf3 Qd4).  The lesson I learned?  Don't anticipate your opponent's every whim by responding to phantom threats!

After chatting with a few of our fellow chess players, we headed for home.  Many thanks to tournament directors Mathew Jacob and Bill Broich, and congrats to Tom Hesse who finished in first place.  It was an enjoyable tournament, and I'm glad I could participate.
Linking with: Our World Tuesday.

Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.” --Longfellow

What "phantom threats" have you faced in life?
How do you counter (often unnecessary) worry?
What kind of hay bales are most common in your area?

98 comments:

  1. Lovely Bethany, that you shared this with us...not hear from you some time...glad your good...blessings❤

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    1. Good to hear from you, Soraya! God bless!

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  2. Such beautiful scenery you encountered on your drive, Bethany! I didn't realise you were so interested in Chess - I confess I've never played it in my life:). But well done to you! I'm sure it was a great experience:). Hugs to you! Kelly xx

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  3. Your chess exchanges are fascinating. Thanks for sharing the photos and info about your area too.

    Have a nice day.

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  4. Beautiful sunrise and I never knew about the corn stock bales being used for ethanol production... Rare to see hay bales and hardly even any horses or livestock over here on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

    I enjoyed many a game of chess in my high school days and even got reasonably good at it. More recently my only chess challenges against the computer have resulted in total routs with me being the routed! :)

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    1. I think I would be terribly discouraged if I only played computers; they don't seem to make mistakes! The human factor is a major part of what makes chess interesting: your opponent can make as many mistakes as you can. FICS (www.freechess.org) is a great place to get some good games in against fellow homo sapiens. ;)

      Happy chess-playing!

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  5. Lovely and captivating photos, dear Bethany.

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  6. Bethany the first shot is amazing. It seems you have a big farms there..

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    1. This is definitely farming country! Iowa has, perhaps, some of the best soil in the world.

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  7. Beautiful photo of sunrise, Bethany.
    Chess I know nothing at all.

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  8. I know the moves of chess,but can't play! My 12 year old son is much better!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. He's at the perfect age to excel at the game!

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  9. Hello Bethany, your sunrise shot is gorgeous... I usually see the big round bales of hay here.. Sometimes I see the rectangular hay bales too. I am glad you had an enjoyable time at the chess tournament.. Have a happy day!

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  10. Hi Bethany, Neat write up on the chess tournament. This is the first report on chess you’ve done since I’ve been following your blog and I’m not at all surprised to see that you’re into this kind of challenge. Congrats on your wins. I like the way you come away from the game with a lesson. It will be interesting to check back here later and see how people will respond to your questions at the bottom of the post. I will tackle the one about hay bales … Over the holidays I spent some time in Montana where the bales are smaller and rectangular shaped and used mostly for feeding cattle and horses. I went along with a friend to pick up some hay for his horses. Wow, the bales are not all that BIG, but they sure are HEAVY! We talked about how it is getting so expensive to feed horses during the winters in Montana. I guess the lesson I came away with was to have more appreciation for folks who work on farms and ranches. City dwellers seem to take a lot for granted. John

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    1. I always enjoy reading your thoughtful comments, John! You are right about the smaller rectangular bales being heavy. We get a few every year for our chickens...and those bales can be hard to handle. I bet you're right about it being expensive to feed horses!

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  11. Bethany, even though I am not a chess player, I still enjoyed your post. There was one comment you made that I could TOTALLY related to. When you were playing Austin and he made a blunder, you wondered if it had been done to make you over confident. My husband is good at doing that to me when we play board games or card games such as Skip Bo, etc. I'm not as easy prey as I once was. :) Great post, my friend!

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    1. We always need to be careful of what tricky opponents may have up their sleeves. ;)

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  12. Wow, what beautiful scenery along the way. Both your photos are fantastic. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

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  13. I did not understand alot of what you just said...lol, I know nothing about chess, but I'm glad you had a good day out with your Papa

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  14. Hello Bethany!:) I'm glad you enjoyed your tournament. I used to play chess with my husband, but haven't played for a while now. My grandson enjoys a good game though, and has won a few tournaments. Lovely sunrise capture!:)

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    1. Awesome that you have a tournament-chess player for a grandson! Congrats to him on his victories!

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  15. Such a beautiful scenery ( it truly left my mouth open, the colors are very intense) you won't believe me but, Iv'e never played chess before, I am curious ...curious to know how it is played, the strategies everything I am hoping to learn someday. Glad you enjoyed your tournament and that you had a great day. Hope you are having a great week. :)

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    1. Hope you do get to learn one of these days, Laura! It's an awesome game. Have a wonderful week as well.

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  16. i don't know chess any more, but thanks for explaining those bales! :)

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  17. What an interesting and intriguing day you had, Bethany! Your photos of your drive are beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Happy weekend!

    Poppy

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  18. I never knew that about the rectangular bales as opposed to the round bales of hay. Thanks for that bit of trivia. We see trucks full of the rectangular bales yesterday, the shape makes it easier for transporting long distances I guess? Off to the ethanol plant, fascinating! Your chess session was intriguing too. I don't play chess but from what I can see here, I have been missing out. Thank you for making me laugh in your comments on my blog Bethany. The next time I go to England I will bring you back a bar of chocolate, legally ;)

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    1. Aw, does it have to be legally?!

      Thanks ;)

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  19. Lovely phoos of the sun! And it's great to hear about your chess exchange!

    xoxo Morning

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  20. I adore that first photo with the windmills. I saw a lot of them when I was in Europe last summer and they fascinated me. I have to admit I know absolutely nothing about chess, so I am very impressed! Thank you for sharing.

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  21. I never did understand the game of Chess and thus never learned to play it. I'm glad you had a good time though. The sunrise shot was gorgeous. I also liked the view of the baled hay. Your food sounded good too.

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  22. I love your photos of the drive! We drove through Iowa about 3 years ago and enjoyed the windmills.
    I'm impressed with your chess skills. I've never understood it.

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    1. The number of windmills in the state has steadily increased. They just invaded the area close to my house in late 2014. It has changed the view: now with the horizon blinking with the windmills' red lights every night, it's like having Christmas lights up all year!

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  23. Ooh, that first photo is lovely!
    Congratulations on doing your first chess tournament of the year. :) I didn't realize before that your father was a chess-player as well!

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    1. He started playing when Bobby Fischer was famous; I'm glad he taught me!

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  24. I have enjoyed winning at Chess against my little brother in the past, but would not want to play against you.

    I once worked for a lady from Mexico, who was a Chess champion!!!

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    1. Sounds like an interesting lady! Winning does make the game more fun, but I think I have probably learned most from my many mistakes and the resultant losses. Glad to hear you play!

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  25. I used to play chess every weekend with my brother, he was younger than me, 7 years. I would win all time. Then, as he got to be a little older, he started to beat me, he was really great.

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    1. That's how it goes with younger siblings ;).

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  26. i don't know how to play, but you make it sound so fun!!!!

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  27. Very pretty sunrise and amazing stacks of hay!

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    1. Agreed! I don't know if I've seen so many corn stalk bales (or for that matter--so many of any type of bale) in one place before.

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  28. Hi Bethany, Just stopping by again to say thanks for your comments on my blog. I also wanted to see the comments others left on your post here. One of the things I've found fascinating about blogging is the variety of comments I get. One comment here really left me smiling ... the one by Aimee Noelle ... like her, I've played chess in the past ... but would not want to play against you! :-) Have a good weekend. John

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    1. We might have a good game! Thanks for visiting and the kind words you always leave.

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  29. First- that was a beautiful sunrise and how sweet that you have a hobby with your dad. I feel like you told that before, but like everything else, I forget most of what I read (poor short term memory).
    Second- I love checkers and have tried chess, but I have great difficulty scheming future moves in my head..I tend to play off the cuff and don't think. This is why I am awful at chess, or any other game that requires brain power. :)
    And third- your three questions- in no order, pray, pray, pray, round, mostly, is what I see in the fields, and we buy square, and last- most of the phantom threats in my life are simple things that I have blown out of proportion, so I just try to realize that, and pray, pray, pray.
    Have a super weekend!

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    1. Praying is often the best strategy when faced with worry! Good advice.

      I have a chronically scheming mind...a good thing when it comes to chess, but sometimes I do miss seeing some moves ahead, and that is what usually gets me into trouble--if we could invent a remedy for that, it would be so helpful! Checkers can be fun too!

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  30. Fascinating post, Bethany! The sunrise is spectacular and having grown up in farm country, I found the hay bales interesting and beautifully photographed. I haven't been back to Quebec for quite a few years, but the bales were rectangular when I was a kid. I didn't follow all of the chess moves but your passion for the game really catches my interest. Love the Longfellow quote!

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    1. Interesting to hear about the hay bales in Quebec. Thanks for visiting, Carol!

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  31. What a great post! I love how you do so many things with your family!
    The sunrise image is breathtaking!
    You see mostly round bales here now.
    Debbie
    xo

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  32. Such an amazing sunrise! Thank you for explaining the different purposes between the rectangular and round bales. As a city girl, I had no idea.

    Sounds like you and your papa had a great time at the chess tournament. I've never played, but it was interesting to read about it.

    Lindy

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    1. The large rectangular bales are a relatively recent development in our part of the country; until the ethanol plants started using them, we just had the large round bales and small rectangular bales in the area.

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  33. It's a beautiful sunrise. Just spectacular. I love to enjoy the gifts of nature.

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    1. The good Lord has certainly adorned nature with beauty!

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  34. I dearly love early morning adventures....especially accompanied with someone you love. Beautiful picture...Janey

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    1. Thanks Janey! There is something special about getting up early and setting out on an expedition!

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  35. Hi Bethany,
    I loved the photograps and the chess move symbols. I have played a little chess, as a kid, and gotten defeated many times by my sister. Your post brought back some Ver fond childhood memories and I thank you for the same.
    Good Luck with future games.
    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

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    1. Thank you Chandra! Glad you have pleasant memories of playing chess with your sister. Hobbies are always better when family members share an interest in them.

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  36. For some reason I have been visiting your 'About' page so I must have recorded the wrong link. I wondered why you hadn't posted there for a while. I know nothing about chess but was intrigued by the formulae. I am useless at maths so would never make a chess player.

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    1. It is interesting how many chess players are good mathematicians. I think a good understanding of math helps greatly, but I imagine there must be some non-mathematically inclined chess players as well. And yes...my About page could get boring after a few visits! Thanks for visiting! :)

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  37. What a sky. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  38. Hey Bethany! I gave you an award on my blogged and tagged you. creatingpreciousmoments.blogspot.com
    Love,
    Ashley

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  39. Nice sunrise! So many beautiful colors!

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  40. Este año como cada año, nuestro tren parara en alguna estación, depende de cada uno de nosotros dejar ir a la tristezas, miedos, frustraciones, malos momentos, desamor. Agradece a cada uno de ellos.. su compañía y sus enseñanzas, aunque hayan sido dolorosas, déjalos ir, déjalos bajar de este tren. Deseo que en esta parada, a tu tren suban miles de bendiciones, sueños alcanzables, amor, abundancia, fuerza y determinación para seguir tu viaje.
    Hoy en mi vagón quedaran puestos desocupados y espero te sientes a mi lado para compartir junt@s este nuevo viaje. FELIZ NUEVO COMIENZO EN ESTE AÑO 2015!!!

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    1. Gracias Victoria! Bien dicho, es mejor a olvidar los miedos y frustraciones nuestros, y dejarlos al pie de la cruz. Que Dios te bendiga mucho!

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  41. The sunrise photo is breathtaking! Glad you had fun in the chess tournament. :)

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  42. Hi Bethany, Thank you for your comments on my blog. You mentioned Montana and wondered if it is still as awesome as it was advertized to be in the 1940s. I live in Seattle, but one of my favorite travel destinations is the state of Montana. The state is home to some of the most gorgeous scenery in the USA and two National Parks, Glacier and part of Yellowstone. I'll bet you would really enjoy a visit to the Treasure State. John

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    1. Your description of the state makes it sound even better than the 1940s advertisement! One of these days I'll have to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  43. You're in a chess tournament? I love playing chess. It's been a long time tho, my son and I used to challenge each other. How fun...and how exciting for you. I'm hoping you become a champion.

    That sunrise is absolutely stunning!! And yes, those wind generators are spotting our sky too. Everywhere.

    Good luck Bethany.

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    1. Thanks Anni! One of these days you should join the Free Internet Chess Server (www.freechess.org) so we can get a game in!

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  44. I loved the picture of the sunrise and the corn stalk bales. I enjoyed hearing about the tournament, too. I'm not a chess player, but reading your post helped me to understand the game a little better. Have a wonderful evening... :)

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  45. Congrats on your chess tournament.

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  46. Hey Bethany! I asked you a question on my blog under my latest post. I guess I should've asked you on your blog, but if you would like to answer it, it's on the award post. :)
    Love,
    Ashley
    creatingpreciousmoments.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for letting me know, Ashley! I missed that. :)

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  47. This is wonderful Bethany, you have an amazing spirit for the game. I never learned how to play!! And what's beautiful sunset!!

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  48. I LOVE that amazing sunrise, Bethany. Incredible. It sounds like it was an incredible chess tournament :)

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    1. It was fun...and I do think that sunrise was remarkable!

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  49. That sunrise is absolutely amazing! What a beautiful shot!
    I loved playing chess with my grandfather as a little girl :) You did a great job. So wonderful that you and your papa are going to these tournaments together :)

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    1. That's neat that you played chess with your grandfather! Yes, I'm glad that my papa and I can share a fun hobby!

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