I've been contemplating blogging about Newfoundland chess for a few weeks now. Chess in Canada is not as popular as in other areas of the world already, and this is especially true for Newfoundland. Our number of active players has often dwindled, which is likely the same for the other smaller provinces as well. Nevertheless, there is a rather dedicated chess community here. As a resident of St. John's, I attend the weekly St. John's chess meetings as often as I can, as well as the end-of-month tournaments. You will see the same faces over and over at these meetings, throughout the summer and even the holidays. These players will always welcome new blood, and are ready to share their knowledge. I owe a great deal to these players who have taught me much over the past two years.
In this blog I'm hoping to showcase some of the events here, as well as the players, to give the outsider a look inside our community. Chess players in Newfoundland are not to be underestimated; many are capable of playing moves seemingly outside of their rating. This is mainly because, as an island, no "new" rating points enter the island. The same players are often playing against each other each tournament, so even if they all improve at the same rate, theoretically there is no resulting rating change.
I hope to make a post at least on every monthly event, showcasing some of the best games played over the course of the tournament, with annotations which I hope will be educational to the reader, as well as myself.
And now, with that intro out of the way...
First up is a recent rated exhibition match I played with a friend named Steve Martin. Steve is known to play just about any opening, and sometimes I wonder if he only decides what his first move will be after sitting down!
Steve proposed the idea of playing a four-game match, which I thought would be interesting and educational. Both he and I have 1800+ ratings so it would at the least make for some interesting chess. Despite mine being marginally higher, I assumed Steve would be a favourite, given how rarely we've played together and that he has much more experience than I.
That still didn't prepare me for the lopsided result of 0-4 for Steve!
The games were all interesting, although I was disappointed in my performance in most of the games, as I would occasionally gain a better position but quickly ruin it. Time trouble was a big factor, as I am notorious for taking enormous amounts of time in non-critical positions, leaving me with no time when I need it. Steve played very well throughout, aside from a few tactical shots he missed.
The time controls were 75 minutes with a 30 second increment after each move.
I feel I learned a lot from these games. I feel I played the worst in the first game, and although I had some good continuations in some of the others, I had managed my time poorly and could not find my way through the variations. Steve played a very solid game throughout the whole match.