Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Pondering the unthinkable

With one day to go (before I find out if I'm in), I've been contemplating the fate of this project should I not be invited to play in the Championship. Options:
  1. Continue the weblog as a non-participating reporter (this only makes sense if I play in the Hauptturnier -- a concurrent tournment for non-masters)
  2. Play in the Hauptturnier and report on it rather than the Championship (seems like there would be even less interest in this than the current project)
  3. Convert the weblog into an open-ended account of my tournament chess experiences (the problem is that I conceived this as a timeframe-certain project)
  4. Abandon the project

Not an appetizing set of alternatives to choose from.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Ladies reign

I did in fact get to play the last round of the August Thursday Night Swiss and reached 1.5/4.0 by defeating Walter Driscoll -- not a great result, but it could have been worse.

Interestingly, when I left the club around 11pm all the remaining games (about 3, I think) had reached queen and pawn endings.

Update on Championship selection

I spoke to Bernardo, tournament director extraordinaire, regarding invitations for the Championship. There have been five acceptances so far and they are looking for 7-8 players. The deadline for acceptances is September 1st at which point they will look to the Reubens-Landey top finishers to fill out the roster. He said I have a reasonable chance of being invited if they decide to go with eight.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Caissa's wrath

Tonight will likely be my last tournament game before the championship. After several solid tournament efforts over the past few months (clear 2nd in the May and June Thursday Night Swisses (TNS), tied for second in the Reubens-Landey and a plus score over that period against experts), this month's TNS has been a disaster. I currently stand in last place with .5 out of 3. In fact, depending on who shows up tonight, I might actually receive a bye. Here's hoping I get an opportunity to salvage something positive.

Caissa can be so cruel.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

On adjournments ...

In the July/August 1998 issue of Chess Horizons I wrote the following on the topic of adjournments:

Adjournments - I'm sure not everyone will agree, but I believe the potential for adjournment at some of these events is a significant plus. I have learned more about endgames by spending several days working out my adjourned positions than by any other method of study. In addition, the rituals around adjournment -- the sealed move, the envelope, etc. -- bring back for me the grand old traditions of the game.

"Nightclubbing - Our man goes forth from Boston, looking for new worlds to conquer" by David Glickman, Chess Horizons, July/August 1998, pg. 38

In the same issue of the magazine GM Larry Christiansen weighed in with his perspective:

CH: What do you think of adjournments?

Christiansen: As far ago as 1975 I wrote in puzzlement, "Why do they have the adjournment rule?" It's a stupid, anti-chess rule. The Soviets loved that rule; they could scientifically take a position apart, with their team methods, and analyze it to death. They were the best at it, because they usually had a team approach to these things, like

CH: But there were adjournments well before the Soviets even started playing chess.

Christiansen: I think then adjournments were based on the honor system.

CH: And time controls were longer then.

Christiansen: I don't know if the quality's gone down [with shorter time controls], but you see great games with 40/2, SD/1. If you make mistakes, so what? Adjournments are like having a marathon where at the 23rd mile you stop, rest, sleep, and then finish the marathon. During this
Kasparov-Karpov match in New York 1990, they had adjournments, and it was stupid to explain, "Oh, well they're stopping now; they're going to analyze it." It's cost me some tournaments; in the 1975 World Junior, I had a big adjourned game against this Russian guy Chekhov, and the guy was collapsing. He got to the adjournment, but my position was improving with every move. He called the Moscow Chess Club, he had some trainers analyze the hell out of it, his own second was a professional analyst; he scientifically analyzed the position. It was more difficult than I thought it was. I analyzed it with my second for four or five hours, and thought it was a simple, easy win. I show up and fall into a trap five moves deep, and he ends up drawing the game. That cost me the World Junior; I came in second. And I'm dead sure if that game had not been adjourned, he would have lost.

"Larry Christiansen - Chess gladiator from the West" by Peter Sherwood, Chess Horizons, July/August 1998, pg. 52-53

I must admit that my view has evolved over the years. While I still think adjournments present great learning opportunities, there are real problems from a competitive perspective. Even at the club level, players will spend hours consulting masters, GMs and computers to determine best play. One of my recent opponents, after we completed an adjourned game, said to me, "Fritz didn't understand this position at all, but I spent a couple of hours analyzing this with GM [name withheld to protect the innocent] and he thought that ..."

Adjournments are also a logistical nightmare for those of us with jobs and families. It is often difficult to find another evening or weekend afternoon to devote to the game.

That said, the trend to shorter time controls and sudden death finishes is not completely satisfactory either. Many games simply become very delayed forms of blitz and several hours of building a solid, interesting game go down in flames in a flurry of thoughtless moves.

In the end, I think this debate is largely moot. Large international tournaments and even world championship matches no longer have adjournments. And the vast majority of club tournaments have introduced sudden death time controls. While adjournments aren't quite dead yet, they are well on their way.

In any case, the BCC Championship still provides for adjournments and we'll see what occurs as the tournament progresses.

So where's the chess?

This is supposed to be a chess site after all. So while we are waiting for the championship to start, here's my last round game from the Reubens-Landey qualifying tournament.

I must admit that I was playing for a draw from the beginning. While a win would have secured first place, a loss would have made it very unlikely that I would be invited to the championship. Therefore, I eschewed competitive spirit for practical attainment of tangible goals.

[Event "BCC Reubens-Landey"]
[Site "Somerville, MA USA"]
[Date "2004.08.02"]
[Round "5"]
[White "
Glickman, David"]
[Black "
Warfield, Simon"]
[Result "1/2"]
[WhiteUSCF "
[BlackUSCF "
[ECO "
[Opening "
[Variation "
[Sub-Variation "3...Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 Bd3 main lines"]

1.e4 e6

[My opponent typically plays the Sicilian so the French was a bit of a surprise]

2.d4 d5 3.Nd2

[My choice of the Tarrasch was clearly intended to keep the draw in hand]

3...Nf6 4.Bd3 c5 5.e5 Nfd7 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.0-0 0-0 12.a3

[More to the point are moves like Nc3, Nf4 or Re1]

12...Bd7 13.b4

[In the ...Qb6 lines (instead of Bd7) my plan with a3 and b4 leads to an equal game with few prospects after 13...e5]

13...e5 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Ned4 Nfg4

[However, here black can benefit from having left his queen at home. According to Fritz8 15...Nxd3 16.Qxd3 Qe8 with the idea of Qh5 is =/+]

16.h3 Nxd3 17.Qxd3 Ne5 18.Nxe5 Bxe5 19.Be3 a6 ½-½

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

News item on Reubens-Landey Qualifying Tournament results

From the BCC website:

Warfield Makes Championship Cut

August 2nd saw
Simon Warfield sew up first place at the Reubens Landey tournament at the BCC. This tournament is a qualifier from the BCC Championship, and Simon assured himself of a place in the championship with his score of 4 out of 5. Simon gave up draws to Walter Driscoll and David Glickman, but defeated Jason Rihel, Alex Slive, and Christopher Williams. There was a three-way tie for second place: Alex Slive, David Glickman, and Christopher Williams all tallied scores of 3.5 out of 5.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Ratings & Qualifying for the Championship

I am working under the assumption that most readers of this blog (if there are any readers at all) have at least some knowledge/interest in tournament chess. Therefore, I probably will not spend a lot of time on elementary discussions of tournament types, rules, etiquette, etc. However, I thought a few resources related to the US Chess Federation rating system might be of interest to some:

About USCF ratings
Distribution of USCF ratings

As far as the BCC Championship goes, all members rated > 2200 (USCF Masters) are automatically invited to play. In addition, the top finisher in the Reubens-Landey Under-2200 Qualifying Tournament also receives an invite. After all invitations are accepted/rejected, remaining slots are filled by the next highest Reubens-Landey finishers with overall positive scores (3 or more points out of five). Therefore, the field for the championship is generally made up of several masters (> 2200), a few experts (2000-2199), and an occasional A-player (1800-1999).

Should I be invited to play (as the 2nd place finisher in Reubens-Landey, my chances are quite high) I will be that A-player. While my chances of winning are virtually nil, the chance to play so many strong players is well worth it.

Some info about the BCC

The Boylston Chess Club was established in Boston, Massachusetts in the early 1900's. Over the years it has moved several times and is currently located in Davis Square in Somerville. Here are a few links from the club website:

Membership Information
Upcoming Events
Club News
Photo Gallery

Well, this should be interesting

So here's what I'm up to -- This September I expect to be playing in the Boylston Chess Club Club Championship tournament. This is still not a certainty yet as I did not qualify automatically by winning the Reubens-Landey qualifying tournament. But I am the first alternate and typically several players are asked to join since not all the master-rated players in the club choose to participate.

Why blog about a chess tournament? Well, unlike most tournaments these days in the United States, the BCC championship is a round-robin (all play all) at classical time controls (40/2, 20/1, SD/30). Therefore, two factors come into play which are not typical of the more usual swiss-system tournaments: 1) advance preparation since your opponent and color is known ahead of time for each round and 2) adjournments of games after the first time control. I think it will be interesting to document efforts related to these topics as the tournament progresses (interesting to me, at least. Let me know if you concur). In addition, I plan to post game scores, standings and anything else interesting related to the tournament.

Let's start the experiment ...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Category Summary: Non-BCC Championship Games

Posts which contain full scores of games which are not from the 2004 Boylston Chess Club Championship:

So where's the chess?
Round 1 Results
An opening preparation anecdote
My opening preparation for Round 5

Category Summary: Opening Preparation

On (no) preparation
An opening preparation anecdote
My opening preparation for Round 5

Category Summary: Adjourned Positions

Glickman-Slive Rd. 1 adjourned position

Chase-Martirosov Rd. 1 adjourned position

Round 3 adjourned positions

Chase-Mac Intyre Rd. 4 adjourned position

Glickman-Chase Rd. 5 adjourned position

Martirosov-Slive Rd. 7 adjourned position

Riordan-Chase Rd. 7 adjourned position

Riordan-Chase Rd. 7 adjourned position #2

Category Summary: Upsets

While the three qualifiers (Glickman, Slive and Williams) had their chances against the Masters, they were only able to come away with one win and two draws:

Round 3: Glickman-Riordan 1-0

Round 2: Martirosov-Williams 1/2

Round 2: Cherniack-Glickman 1/2

Category Summary: All Championship Games

Here are all the games from the Championship with associated posts on adjourned positions, opening prep, best games and additional analysis/ annotations. I hope you are not in rush.

Round 1

Glickman-Slive 1-0 C02: French Advance, Euwe Variation – Adjourned Position

Mac Intyre-Cherniack 1-0 C19: French Winawer, Main Line 7. a4 – Mac Intyre’s AnnotationsBest Game

Williams-Riordan 0-1 D79: Gruenfeld Fianchetto, Symmetrical Variation

Chase-Martirosov 1/2 B30: Sicilian Rossolimo Variation – Adjourned Position

Round 2

Slive-Chase 0-1 E91: King's Indian, Classical Variation

Martirosov-Williams 1/2 D35: Queen’s Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation – Best Game

Riordan-Mac Intyre 0-1 C82: Open Ruy Lopez, 9.c3 without 9...Be7

Cherniack-Glickman 1/2 D30: Queen's Gambit Declined, Systems without Nc3

Round 3

Cherniack-Slive 1-0 A18: English Opening, Flohr-Mikenas System – Adjourned PositionSlive’s Annotations

Glickman-Riordan 1-0 B22: Sicilian 2.c3 – Adjourned PositionOpening PreparationBest Game

Mac Intyre-Martirosov 1/2 B45: Sicilian Taimanov

Williams-Chase 0-1 A04: King's Indian Attack

Round 4

Slive-Williams 1-0 A42: Modern Defense, Averbakh Variation

Chase-Mac Intyre 1-0 A05: Reti, Double Fianchetto – Adjourned PositionBest Game

Martirosov-Glickman 1-0 C00: French Defense, King's Indian Attack

Riordan-Cherniack 0-1 A45: Trompowsky Attack

Round 5

Riordan-Slive 1-0 D34: Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch Defense (by transposition)

Cherniack-Martirosov 0-1 D35: Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation – Best Game

Glickman-Chase 0-1 B07: Pirc Defense, Miscellaneous Systems – Adjourned PositionOpening Preparation

Mac Intyre-Williams 1-0 B06: Modern Defense

Round 6

Slive-Mac Intyre 0-1 E94: King's Indian, Classical Variation

Williams-Glickman 1-0 B01: Scandinavian Defense 2…Qxd5, Systems without d4

Chase-Cherniack 0-1 C66: Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense – Best Game GM Patrick Wolff's annotations

Martirosov-Riordan 1/2 A80: Dutch Defense, 2.Bg5

Round 7

Martirosov-Slive 1-0 D37: Queen's Gambit Declined, 5.Bf4 – Adjourned PositionSlive’s Adjournment Session NotesMartirosov’s Adjourned Position Analysis

Riordan-Chase 1/2 B90: Sicilian Najdorf, Unusual White 6th moves, 6 Be3 e5 – Adjourned PositionAdjourned Position #2Best Game

Cherniack-Williams 1-0 D35: Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation

Glickman-Mac Intyre 0-1 C23: Bishop's Opening, 2...Bc5

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Category Summary: Ratings-related

Ratings & Qualifying for the Championship
...on any given Wednesday
Reubens-Landey rating report
10/04 USCF Ratings
...on any given Wednesday (Updated)
Ratings magic
The theory of relativity

Category Summary: Outside Articles

A collection of posts with exerpts from chess-related articles (with proper attribution, of course):

On adjournments ...
(More) On adjournments ...
...a matter of technique?
Ratings magic

Category Summary: Humor

Posts that were intended to elicit laughter; only you can decide if I was successful:

New chess boards for the club?
...a matter of technique?
Hauptturnier literary controversy
The BCC Oktoberfest Open?
... it was just a coincidence?!
Election Night 2004

Category Summary: Adjournment-related

On adjournments ...
(More) On adjournments ...
Who seals the move at adjournment?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Category Summary: Weblog Development & Promotion

Usability vs. Aesthetics
Championship Wall Chart
One BCC Championship to go, please

The Boston Globe covers the BCC Championship (Thanks Harold!)
The Chessville.com weekly newsletter mentions this weblog!
'2004 boylston chess club championship' in print?

A couple of administrative items
Answer: A search party
Small fish, very tiny pond

Visitor Tracking:
Playing in traffic
You could be the 1000th visitor to this weblog!

Category Summary: Commented Posts

For those who like to read comments, here are the posts that have two or more (there are many more with one interspersed throughout the weblog).

As of November 23, 2004:

Take me to the Haup ... oh, baby
Hauptturnier literary controversy

A BCC Members' Blog?

Waiting for Results

Well, this should be interesting
Chase-Martirosov Rd. 1 adjourned position
Standings (after Round 2) - preliminary
...a matter of technique?
In search of...
Round 5: Riordan-Slive 1-0
... it was just a coincidence?!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Category Summary: Boylston Chess Club

Some info about the BCC
Somerville News article on the BCC's move to Davis Square
BCC Champions 1975-Present

Election Night 2004
BCC election results
Thus spoke Zarathustra

A BCC Members' Blog?
An update on the BCC Members' Blog

Category Summary: Hauptturnier

The Hauptturnier
Take me to the Haup ... oh, baby
Hauptturnier literary controversy
Hauptturnier standings
Top of the Haup

Category Summary: Reubens-Landey

News item on Reubens-Landey Qualifying Tournament results
So where's the chess?
Reubens-Landey rating report

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Category Summary: Round-by-Round Standings

Standings after Round 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Preliminary Standings after Round
2 - 3

Prize Winners
The theory of relativity

Category Summary: Round-by-Round Results

Round 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Results of Round 3 adjourned games
In search of...
Waiting for Results
Riordan and Chase agree to a draw!

Category Summary: Background & Color

Before the Tournament:
Well, this should be interesting
Caissa's wrath
Ladies reign
Pondering the unthinkable
Because the stakes are so low
On (no) preparation

During the Tournament:
A moment of silence
Tonight on BCC1...
Back to the future
... it was just a coincidence?!
Trafficking in gossip
23.5 cents

Category Summary: Rules

Ratings & Qualifying for the Championship
Prize Fund
Schedule, Entry Fee and Forfeit details
On (no) preparation
Who seals the move at adjournment?
...better than kissing your sister
Prize Winners

Category Summary: Schedule & Pairings

Schedule, Entry Fee and Forfeit details
Drawing of Lots
Schedule & Pairings
L'Shana Tovah
Round 6 rescheduling details

Category Summary: Qualification, Selection & Participants

Ratings & Qualifying for the Championship
News item on Reubens-Landey Qualifying Tournament results
Update on Championship selection
I'm in!!!
Championship Participants (so far)
Championship Participants (final)