Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Trip

I took a couple days off to head back home for Thanksgiving. The whole family gathers in Madison each year for a great time and way too much food. I wasn't planning on playing any chess on this trip, but my high school coach invited me to play a simul at my old chess club and I couldn't turn down the opportunity. In all, I ended up playing 7 opponent's simultaneously, ranging in strength from near beginner towards about 1850.

Two games went quickly, with opponent's dropping material early on.

One game followed my favorite simul formula: The opponent let me play Bg4, to pin his king-side knight. Eventually I was able to play Nd4 and take on f3 to destroy the pawn wall in front of his king. My opponent defended better than my normal elementary school opponents do, but eventually I was eventually able to mate on g2 in the whole that his pawns had created.

I played the Pirk in one game and immediately regretted it because white has a dozen paths to a safe position there. Fortunately, white sacrificed two pieces for a rook and eventually lost another exchange. Converting the extra piece was straightforward.

The game I was most concerned about was against the 1850 rated adult. The last time we had played in a tournament game I ground out a win in tough fight. Somehow, despite finding myself out of book by move 3 (1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. Nf3!?), this game went very smoothly and he resigned right before I was going to promote a pawn.

I failed to complete the sweep because my brother Daniel, also a graduate of West High, played the exchange variation against my French Defense. In the past Daniel never studied chess seriously, but still reached around 1800 when he was still playing 7 or 8 years ago. I never managed to get more than a slight advantage in the nearly symmetrical positions we had all game, and I was even lucky to hold a draw in the king and pawn endgame.

In the most exciting game of the day I had white against a promising young player. This game is a good example of the challenges of simul-play. I got a great position out of the opening, but missed the tactic that could have given me a quick win. Instead, I entered tactical complications that didn't work out, and suddenly I was worse. Fortunately, my opponent went for an endgame instead of playing for mate and I ended up with the largest pawn phalanx I've ever had. A few days after the game was played I tried my best to recreate it from memory. I'm sure there are a few mistakes, but you can play through the game below.

No comments:

Post a Comment