Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ankeny Chess Tournament

We left home for the July tournament in Ankeny early Saturday morning.  On our way we stopped at Casey's for donuts and later at McDonald's to buy McMuffins.  The tournament location, the FFA Enrichment Center, did not seem familiar, but Papa reminded me of a tournament we had attended there several years ago in the large conference rooms. 
This time, the main part of the building had been rented out for a wedding, and a sign greeted us at the front door telling all chess players to come in the side door.  We complied, and upon entering the side door were greeted by a sign directing us upstairs to the classroom where the tournament was to be held.  

There was a nice place to relax off the hall with chairs, magazines, pop machines, and a tv, but the whole section where chess players were allowed was staked off with signs warning us to be quiet and stay in our own area, and informing us that if we misbehaved in the hallways we would be kicked out of the building by security officers.  Considering that chess tournaments are such quiet events that if someone cracks his knuckles it can be heard across the room, the signs were...interesting.

The first round, I played Gokul (1946).  I had played him in the first round of the Wellsburg tournament and had lost with only one second on my clock.  We had a good game to start with this time, but again I cracked embarrassingly under time pressure.  When I played the incorrect Bc2 (better is Bc1), I had 1:44 remaining.  Then I gave away my queen.
Papa and Charity were also competing in the tournament, and Papa's game was the longest-lasting match of the first round.  After the game was over, we drove to McDonalds to pick up lunch and hurried back.  I had a double cheeseburger plain, and was still eating my hot fudge sundae when we reached the the tournament room.  I was unfortunately a few minutes late for the second round--sorry to make my opponent wait on me, but it was to my own disadvantage since my clock was ticking.

My opponent was a young scholastic player, Thomas Nguyen (1194).  I was able to gain one pawn, and then another.  He put up a good fight, and my play wasn't completely accurate, but I was able to pull through a win.
Thomas Hesse faces Milind Jetty.
The third round I played Thomas Gaul (1840).  I've played him several times, most recently at the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets earlier this year when we drew.  Before the game, I was fumbling with my clock figuring out how to set it again (Last time I played Mr. Gaul I set it incorrectly).  The tournament director quickly noticed and provided me with a clock already set, which saved me the trouble of remembering how to set my own clock till the next round.
(I'm pretty sure I have my clock figured out now--let's just see if I can remember till next tournament...)

Once again, I was in time trouble.  At move 43, he had 7:33 and I had 2:57.  He offered me a draw at around move 46.  I said I bet it was a draw but wanted to continue playing a few moves.  After move 47 I quit notation.  I'm pretty sure the line we followed though was 48. Bc7 Bg8; then he either moved h3 or h4--I don't remember which.  With only a minute left on my clock, it looked drawish to me, so I offered a draw.
William Polzin concentrating on an opening.
My final game was against Kevin Townsend (1767).  The game started off as heaven on earth for me!  We played the Sicilian Defence, Dragon Variation, Yugoslav Attack line straight from the book.  I absolutely love this line and play it whenever given the chance from either side of the board.  This opening is preparation for a game with "never a dull moment."

On 13 or 15 I should have played Bxh6, but I've never come to grips with that move...oh well, one of these days (maybe next time) I'll get the nerve to play it; it was foolhardy to avoid it.  Due to the odd contortions of my pieces in arranging another defence, I ended up with two sets of doubled pawns and soon found myself a pawn behind.  I was rather discouraged, but the position wasn't hopeless, and fortunately for me, this time I wasn't the one under time pressure.

At move 31, I had 32 minutes while Kevin only had 8.  So I deliberately endeavored to take my time and try to survive a while.  Kevin had to play the next 20 or so moves under increasingly stressful time controls.  The room was freezing cold due to a powerful air conditioner, and I think it must have been nearing 10 pm or so.  Also, the wedding party was starting to rock away; the walls absorbed most of the sound, but we could still hear the music.  We agreed to a draw on move 54; by then I was starting to get under time pressure myself.  I was pleased to keep a draw, but I will say I am not confident I could draw against him again in a temperate climate, without clocks, and during the day.
Mathew Jacob, our TD.  Though deaf, he is one of the most active tournament directors in Iowa chess.
I was glad I attended the tournament.  Since it is my duty as a blogger to bore you with the nitty-gritty, here we go with the good and the bad.  
  • Good: The floor was carpeted.  This helped absorb sound to minimize the annoyance caused by the "tap dancers," i.e. the inevitable couple players who have to tap their feet while thinking.
  • Bad: The tournament started 15 minutes late.  This was to wait for all the players who had pre-registered to show up, but it really put the schedule out of whack.  I think lunch (which I do consider important) delayed the tournament further, so a couple people ended up having to withdraw.
  • Good: The room was adequately spacious and had a reasonably "nice" feel.  There were windows we could look out of to enjoy the view, and in spite of the hot day, it was cool inside.  Also, having a skittles area was great.  The other participants were a nice group of mostly "regulars:" there were only two people I hadn't met.
  • Bad: The tables the games were played on were desks.  If you sat on one side it was great, but the other side of the table had limited leg space.  
  • Good: The entry fee was very reasonable, only $25 for an individual or $25 total for a family or group.  Divide $25 between the three of us in my family who came, and the entry fee was only about $8.33 per person!  That is the best price I've seen for an open entry fee in a very long time.  At that price, complaining would be ludicrous.  

I'd like to congratulate James Neal for winning the 2015 July Open (he only yielded a draw to Gokul Thangavel), and I'd like to thank Mathew Jacob for directing and hosting this very enjoyable event. 

24 comments:

  1. I like your list of the good and bad. Always best to find the good in any situation.

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    1. Yes! Fortunately the good outweighed the bads here. :)

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  2. i like how you present the goods and bads. :)

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    1. I think just about everything in life has a little of both.

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  3. Hi Bethany, those chess tournaments always sound like fun, although I still haven't learned to play yet. One of these days... :)

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    1. Hopefully if I keep posting about chess tournaments, one of these days you will be sufficiently tempted to give it a try. :)

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  4. I really enjoy reading about your tournaments! Even if I don't understand chess terminology. :-)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading about it Gabriela! I definitely enjoyed playing in the tournament. :)

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  5. What a pit y I can't play ches because it is an amazing game.

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  6. Hello Bethany, I enjoyed reading about your chess tournament. And I am glad you included the good and bads, win or loose it is a great event. Have a happy weekend!

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  7. Looks like a good turnout and competition. Thanks for reviewing it with the entry fee and everything. That really is the sort of helpful information I like to see. :)

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  8. Dear Beth, it is a pleasure to read your texts, I love the way you combining words, ideas, photos - such a clever girl! Looks like, you always enjoying a lot these chess tournaments and I am glad you enjoyed this one, too :) Wishing you a super lovely weekend! Liuba x

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    1. Playing chess at home, online, and at tournaments is one of my favorite things to do. Have a great weekend too!

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  9. Such a lot of thinking, planning and plotting to this game, yes, but I am glad you and some of your family members enjoy it! Wishing you a happy weekend, Bethany :) xx

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  10. Sounds like a really nice day; good and bad combined. I think I would have tagged along just for the hot fudge sundae :)

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    1. Ice cream on a hot day is hard to beat! :)

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  11. I sure don't understand chess but I'm glad you enjoy playing and can hold your own against anyone.

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    1. I can put up a good game against a lot of people, but unfortunately there still are many chess players good enough to outright crush me...guess I need to keep practicing. ;)

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  12. Hi Bethany, One of the many things I like about your Chess Tournament reports is seeing the young people seriously competing in a game that does not require a computer. I have always been impressed with the level of concentration required in chess. I am curious ... Do you play Papa and Charity at home? I enjoyed your report on the "good and bad". Nice work and thank you for sharing!

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    1. I play my family members occasionally at home, but except for against my youngest sister, not very often. We used to play each other frequently (Papa taught me how to play chess so he would have an opponent). But when you play a person too often, you learn his/her style quite well. Mostly we practice online with other chess players from around the world. It's a lot of fun to play in over-the-board chess tournaments though. I guess it's a way of putting all our practice and studies to the test. Thanks for visiting!

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