Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2015

This past weekend marked the 5th year Papa and I have attended the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets.  Always a great tournament, it was held in a conference room on the top floor of the Physician's Clinic of Iowa.  I played in the Open section, and Papa and Charity played in the Reserve (U1600).
James Hodina organizes the event, and this year, Shawn Kmetz served as chief TD.  Robert Keating, one of the top chess players in Iowa and part owner of the clinic, hosts the tournament.  Free snacks, hot coffee, and bottled water are available for all participants.  

The tournament setting was excellent, and I would rate the clinic as one of the two nicest tournament locations in Iowa.  The carpeted floor minimized noise, and the sturdy tables eliminated table-shake from inveterate tap dancers.  There was plenty of elbow-room during the games, and a nice skittles room for between rounds.  The only location that could provide competition would be the Botanical Gardens in Des Moines where Bill Broich used to run the Des Moines Open.  
We arrived early.  I played a couple bughouse games to warm up before the first round, and chatted with friends and acquaintances.  Stan Felgar mentioned that he thought the Leatherjackets tournament is becoming more of a reunion than just another ordinary chess tournament, and in a way, I think he may be right.  It's good to see all our enemies dear fellow participants again and try to get revenge for last year enjoy the camaraderie.  

The tournament started right on schedule, and I was paired against Joseph Wan (2079) on board 7.  The time control was 90 minutes with a 30 second increment.  I held an even game through the opening and early mid-game, and finally felt I had a superior position with control of the open file on move 22.   

I expect post-mortems of my games to be painful, but examining this game with Houdini after the tournament proved to be downright torture.  Wan made a mistake with 28. Re8; I could have won a 3-point advantage with 29. Rxf7.  After missing that, I still could have gained an edge with 31.Nxf7.  My choice of 31. Rxf7 launched me back into a fairly even game.  Unfortunately my endgame skills failed me, I dropped a pawn with 36. f4, and eventually lost.  
Charity and Papa had already started their second round after both winning their first games, so I watched them play and then ate lunch.  Gradually, reserve section players finished their games, and we soon had a couple bughouse games rolling.  Bughouse is one of my favorite parts of tournaments, and it made the time go by quickly on lunch break.  
I was rather worn after my first game against Joseph Wan, so I did not mind when I got a second-round bye.  I relaxed, enjoyed the free Wifi, watched other games, and played a few blitz games.

The 3rd and final round of the day started at 7:15.  This time I was matched against James Hodina (1925).

The game went ok until 25...Rc7 when I moved a little too fast, not noticing until afterwards that I had just deprived my knight of its only escape square.  26...Nf4, which Mr. Hodina kindly pointed out to me after the game, would have minimized my losses, but still would have left me with a small disadvantage.

Charity and Papa both finished with 2 wins out of 4 games in the Reserve section.  It was past 10 pm, so we drove to our hotel.  It was important to get a good rest for the next day of tournament play.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

54 comments:

  1. a friendly reunion of foes. :)

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  2. What a fun event for you and your papa! I have never played chess but always admired people that know how to play. Good for you, Bethany. Love thy enemies----xo Diana

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  3. I won't pretend to understand anything about chess, but I would love to watch sometime. It sounds like you had a wonderful day with your Papa!

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  4. I'm so impressed! And I'm sad to say I never learned chess. I've never been very good with strategy games because I don't use enough patience (the virtue I'm working on I guess) Lol. Great job to you! Xo

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    1. Patience is important--unless we're playing speed chess (say with 1 minute time controls): then it's completely unnecessary! :D It's never too late to learn the game!

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  5. Glad you had fun and such a nice spot to have this tournament. I don't understand Chess, but my hubby likes it.

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  6. I'm guessing it must be really quiet while everyone is concentrating. I love that you spend such quality time with your papa. Dads are very special.

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  7. I know this is a passion for you. How cool that you guys got to participate in this event!

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    1. Playing chess has to be one of my all-time favorite things to do.

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  8. So glad it was a great tournament for you!! I would really like to get the beans playing chess! Happy week to you!! Nicole

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    1. To you as well! I believe playing chess is great mental exercise--hope you're able to get your children started!

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  9. Fascinating games. It's so nice to be able to play through them with you.
    I used to play a lot of online chess, but found it to be very frustrating sometimes - so I stopped.

    Thanks for this very interesting post.

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    1. Ha! I know what you mean. Sometimes playing online I get terrible losing streaks, but then I can just take a break for a while, and play another time control or variant until I recover.

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    2. Great strategy. I admire your tenacity too.

      Have a nice day.

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  10. Glad to hear the event was nice for you! :) I love the chess widget that actually showed how the game progressed; it actually made it easier for me to understand.

    xoxo Morning

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  11. Surprising just how taxing an intense game or two of chess can be... you must have been frazzled at the end of your day!

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  12. Great that you had fun with this chess tournament.
    I really know nothing about chess, I never learned.

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  13. Such a fantastic experience for you dear Bethany! I'm so impressed! And it looks like a great room in which to play:). Glad you had a good time...what special memories you and your father will cherish of these times together!
    Love and hugs!
    Kelly-Anne

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  14. Hello Bethany, sounds like a great tournament and a lovely time with your Papa. Have a great day!

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  15. It sounds rather intense to me. You must have a fabulous memory to [lay this game so we;;.

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    1. I take notation during the games so I can study them later...(and because it is required). Memory is important in chess--especially in remembering mistakes made before to avoid making them again. But whether I have a fabulous memory overall is debateable...very debateable! I am very good at taking notes about things I should remember though!

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  16. Hi Bethany -- I'm an old high school teacher. One thing I really enjoyed about teaching was having a student in class who had an excellent knowledge about a subject I knew little about ... and was willing to teach me a thing or two about it! :-) So, your writing about chess tournaments leaves me with a smile. I know so little about chess (relative to your knowledge) and did not realize there are regional competitions going on all over the country. It amazed me to read about Bughouse! Thanks for sharing all this and I'll be looking forward to Part 2. John

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    1. I also enjoy learning about topics I do not know as well on your blog! I think there is a lot to the world around us that can easily be missed because it's just not part of our immediate circles...

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  17. There's a lot of intensity in that room! It looks like fun but I know nothing whatsoever about Chess and I would be useless... even watching.

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    1. Ah yes, intense is a good word to describe the games ongoing each round!

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  18. I don't really understand much about chess, but I do admire those who do. Where does the name Leatherjackets come from?

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    1. I think we are supposed to wear leather jackets to the tournament. A few people did.

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    1. Depends how you look at it...everyone is a potential foe, but it's all in good sportsmanship.

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  20. This post helps me understand a little more about playing chess, and appreciate the tournament setting as well, Bethany. I am impressed with those who hone their skills to play! In that sense you are very much a winner to me :)

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    1. Thanks Gracie. :) It is a fun game to play, but usually it does take a lot of skill and concentration to actually win.

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  21. I am jealous I can't play chess

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    1. You can learn if you want to (and have the time). :)

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  22. I don't understand chess, but our grandchildren play. nice that you do this with your Dad.

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    1. I'm very grateful that he taught me how to play! It's good to have moral support at tournaments!

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  23. Looks like a great time, Bethany. I love chess but haven't played it in years. :)

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  24. Glad you are participating in tournaments, Bethany! Chess is a tricky game and am glad you are having fun!!
    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

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  25. Bravo for you! My husband was in Chess Club in high school and played in a state tournament. Can't remember how he did (it was 40 years ago), but he insisted on teaching me and our children how to play. I never hold out hope to actually win a game against him but it's fun trying. :)

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    1. It must be--awesome that he taught the whole family! All the best in getting a win in one of these times! :)

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