Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Chess and San Francisco Part Deux

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving Boston chess fans! My wife and I flew out to the California Bay area to visit my two boys for the second annual California Thanksgiving celebration along with visiting with my new grandchild Abigail Frances Griffin (born 10/08/2009).

Friday November 20th my wife an I decided to take the Bart from Berkeley into San Francisco to do a little sight seeing and Christmas shopping. We arrived at Market and Powell and discovered that the cable car ride to the waterfront was temporarily out of service.

My wife had to get something at the Radio Shack and I was mesmerized by the activities of several guys setting up tables and chairs out of the back of a City of San Francisco pickup truck at the chess location known as The Slab.

As each pair of chairs were placed under the table it was immediately occupied by chess players. A player approached me and asked if I wanted to play. I asked what the deal was and he said that typically the play for a small wager.

Because of my experience at other park places I suspected that any player willing approach randomly to play for money typically is expert to master strength at least at speed chess pace so I suggested a dollar per game to the winner. Probably because of that old business superstition not to turn down the first transaction of the day; my opponent agreed.

I introduced myself: Mike Griffin and asked my opponent's name to which he answered John. When I asked for a last name John hesitated, eyes searched beyond me before he came up with "Powell". As there were maybe dozen signs with Powell around us and given the hesitation my eight year teacher experience down justed this man's credibility rating. My wife came by and said she was going to do a little shopping and for me to take my time.

Game one, me having black, was an uncommon Dutch Classical and I got my f & e pawns moving on his king position for the win. I've beaten experts with this so maybe I got lucky.

Game two: a center counter with me having white. I used a flakey Nc3, Bc4, d3 setup to play against black's white squared bishop and focus for sacrifices on e6. Surprisingly I won that one as well?! Wondering if I was being set up for higher stakes, as I got a being sandbagged sense when a couple of moves by opponent were not good. So I stepped away and felt ok about being up +$2.00.

Now having to find my wife. When I did catch up with her I found out that my wife had begun Christmas Shopping and I was in fact down -$148?

! What are some of your park chess playing experiences?

Please Comment

Thank You

Mike Griffin


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