Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lone Star Open 2013

I didn't do too well in the U1800 section of the Lone Star Open this year.  I faced some pretty stiff competition the first two games.  In the first game, I ended up losing by a pawn ... when the endgame came, I could not keep his extra pawn from queening.  In the second game, I simply dropped my queen and then resigned.  The third game should have been a loss too, but my opponent couldn't pull it off, so we drew.  Then the 4th game, today, was a fairly easy win against a much lower rated player than me.

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what chess does for me.

After a Pros vs. Cons analysis, I found that:
- I love chess as a pass-time
- I love the thrills and intensity it gives (when there are good games)
- I enjoy the challenge of thinking under pressure
- I love trying to find and solve tactics

- I don't like 4 hour games ... especially when I lose games that are really close.  In long games, I feel deprived ... even when I win games.
- In shorter games, I don't feel deprived so much
- In longer games, I see lots of things - but what drives me insane is trying to keep track of all the different lines ... I sometimes feel like I'm going crazy trying to keep it all together

There might be more pros and cons ... but I think I came to a realization this weekend: I don't like long games.  My limit seems to be about G/60.  G/30 5 feels like a good time control.

Another thing too ... I don't like tournament chess anymore.

Friday night's game was nuts ...

First,there was a wedding going on at the same time - across the hall.  They played bongo drums for about 30 minutes!  It was insane.  The TD let people who lost or drew that first round, re-enter for free.

Second, quite regularly, I try to chat with my opponent at the beginning of the game or afterwards in the skittles room.  More often than not, my opponent seems very anti-social and even sometimes rude.

Third, germs and kids and un-showered people, long finger-nails, body odor, coughing, sneezing, runny noses, tapping, wiggling and squirming, thumping, slurping, etc, etc

Fourth, driving long distances ... the Lone Star Open was actually close to where I live, so I really liked the location of this tournament, but most of the other ones around Houston are on the opposite side of town.

All of this leaves me with playing shorter, more frequent chess games on-line.  I might still play an OTB when I have a free weekend, but I don't think I'll miss it much if I can't make it to an OTB.  I think I'm pretty content with finding 30 5 and 60 5 games on-line ... playing them in my comfortable, quiet and clean home.


  1. You are right, these OTB's take to long. I play seldom less than 4h. We play sundays 10:00- Comming home at 16:00, No real meal, no sunday. Something like 2h or even less should be enough.

  2. Hi Rocky,

    You're right about tourney chess, it's not fun. But it's a great way to get better.

    As you write, somehow tourney games make an impression, by playing over the games while the memory is fresh one can learn some really useful things. For instance, the queen pawn loss. Play it over and look at other one pawn advantage games, understanding that a pawn advantage is usually a win eventually is a big jump.

    You're also right about many competitors, a lot are jerks but they know chess but some are OK too. Usually there's an analysis board somewhere with players jabbing and moving pieces quickly, I used to stand back and watch. After awhile, you can see who knows what they're talking about and if they seem OK personality wise. Next time you see one of the players that look intelligent, at a free moment ask them to go over one of their wins, everyone loves to show off a win. Ask him what he was thinking at key points, it won't take long until you gain a lot of chess feel.

    Tourney chess isn't fun but you can often find a decent chess buddy and get a lot of chess knowledge from the entry fee at least.