Friday, April 16, 2010

Chess: I'm having a very good day

In my dad’s favorite movie Let It Ride (1989) the lead actor Richard Dreyfuss plays a character named Jay Trotter who has the dream day of his life at the horse track. The uncles on both sides of my family were track fanatics. With great delight my dad went into great detail explaining what appeared to be odd behaviors, in my dad’s eyes the movie nailed track society. In the movie art expressed the greatest track fantasy.

On Friday 4/9 my job was eliminated: declared redundant and unnecessary due to acquisition and reorganization. Yet on Saturday I was kind of up-beat walking into the BCF because of how good the club looked. To celebrate our reopening , after being closed for several weeks due to the two great floods, the BCF hosted the $10 Under Water Open. 33 players arrived to play four rounds of game60/55.

Round 1 I faced Miro Reverby (2220) who arrived 12 minutes late. Because of the time gap, and me with black, I decide to go turtle and play the Fort Knox variation (a Rubinstien) of the French Defense. My opponent aggressively plays for a quick attack but realizes my mate arrives before his , so he has to break off. Time is running down for him and he forces a perpetual with 1:35 on his clock. Not bad for an 1813 player to hold a master to a draw. Griffin .5 point

Round 2: While the parings are printing out Denys Shmelov

photo: Tony Cortizas, Jr.

and I get into a conversation where I make the claim that Soviet chess teaching is based on control and dealing with what the position allows you to do. But to me chess has a little bit of poker in it and when facing an opponent who is equal to you, you might have to “go all in” at some point to press for a win. To which Denys responds: “Poker is a game of chance, Chess is not that way…….” It’s then when I find out from director Bernado InglesiasI have white against Ilya Krasik (2281) and Ilya is going to be a bit late. Illya arrives with 22 minutes on his clock /55 on mine. I play a Smith Morra declined but I’m forced to give up two pawns because of my play and in order to keep developing; the position is very crazy. Illya, pressed by time, makes this not so good move that allows a combination that eventually wins a rook. Illya runs out of time. Griffin 1.5 points against masters. I am having a very good day.

As Denys Shmelov walks into the skittles room he says to me: “You know Mike I had planned a lecture for you, but you went on and ruined that idea with that game!!”

IM Marc Esserman gives me the secret Smith Morra victory hand shake that only Smith Morra players know after registering victory with the “theoretically” unsound attack. Marc withdrew as he was suffering neck pain, with two points in two rounds. I wonder if he’s giving me a chance to try and catch Shmelov. Man aren’t I dreaming big?

Round 3: What does this play get me: black against opponent Steven Winer (2446). Never in my life have I faced two masters never mind three?! I play the Classic Dutch against Steve’s d4. What is amazing around moves 10 thru 12 I realize Steve doesn’t know the theory and is winging it. To be honest I have never witnessed a live version of the Classic Dutch, only in databases. The Dutch Leningrad is the norm with an occasional Dutch Stonewall. The game comes to a critical position, later In post mortem Steve says to me: “As I was thinking Mike can’t play into this position, you proceed play to that combination.” This combination dissolves the position with me having a slight pull. Steve asks: “ I offer you a draw.” It was as if the oxygen was sucked out of the hall, all of a sudden people are hanging over the board. I immediately accept knowing I probably would find more ways to lose than win. Griffin 2. points against 3 masters no losses. I am having a very good day.

Dazed I step into the skittles room out of the fog steps Marc Esserman and says: “Mike you are playing at 2300 strength today , keep this up and you are due………………” .

Starting Round 4: I’m thinking give me Shmelov(2480): Appropriate Chess vs All In. Karma is on my side today. Many players in the open have withdrawn; probably because I am way out of balance the gods pair me with Paul Sciaraffa (1807). I have white and kept on pounding Paul’s kingside eating up a great deal of time. Paul parries every threat. I force a perpetual because I’m out of time. Griffin 2.5 points Back to earth.

Natasha Christiansen approaches me and says: “If you can continue to play this way you won’t need your day job. “

What was cool about the day was how happy with me were my chess comrades.

Have you ever had a very good chess day?

Please Comment.

Thank You

Mike Griffin


1 comment:

The Meddlesome Priest said...

Really enjoyed that Mike. Hope you share more of your reflections with readers here. It's great to find out what's in the minds of these focused and silent brains as they plot, scheme, feign and faint to victory in at least a draw: 5 extra points to you.

--Mark McIntire
Professor of Philosophy
Santa Barbara City College