The very suspicious: Seattle Chess Classic Rounds 4-5
To be honest, if there’s one thing that’s suspicious, it’s the rate at which I write Joseph’s blogs. I am so lazy, and I hope that he never finds out about this. Last night, he called me up and told me that there was some fast food chain, McDougal’s I think, (no copyright) that was going to pay him a few thousand for his next blog. So I guess I sort of have to write another blog. Ugh. Can’t wait till I can go back to my natural state of laziness....-editor’s note
The photo is the case of the flying shoe, which at that moment was kicking its owner. Photo credit of Joseph Truelson, he received $100 of credit for it- the same editor’s other note
And, since I like writing editor’s notes, here is the blog, which I wrote!- the same editor who wrote the last note and the one before it, as well as this note, and all the ones to come, unless if he gets fired, which is likely
And now to the actual report....
Just a few weeks ago, a famous RAR (a novel concept that involves intimidation and cheating) match between two GMs (Garbage Masters) took place. Both players tried their best to ridicule their opponents, be annoying, while still being able to play chess. And in this they succeeded, since the chess server banned them from playing the many illegal moves they tried to do. One of these players, Ben Finegold, has coined various sayings, one of them being “very suspicious”. I had trouble finding a good title to describe today’s play in this event, but once I heard that, I was inspired. Indeed, it was a great way to describe Day 3 of the Seattle Chess Classic, the Washington Chess Federation’s newest “classic” attempt to rob players of the Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia chess communities.
And I’m not lying about it being a classic event, since I checked the US Chess Website recently and noticed that this Christmas break they will be having the 1st Washington Winter Chess Classic, since this event was so “successful” (made a LOT of money) that they’ll hold another one soon. With a prize fund of $7000 based on 60 entries, and an entry fee of $170, it looks like they’ll being robbing a projected $3200 from the Seattle chess community (Yes there are some expenses, but they couldn’t be over a thousand). This is quite unfair, but I’m not upset, since I’m going to go into tournament directing when I’m an adult and hope to make thousands from it as well. I probably can afford to be slightly more generous than the tournaments here, although players don’t seem to pay attention to prize funds here, so maybe I’ll charge a lot and give no prizes.
So there’s a tournament announcement for you. In a few years be prepared for the first Washington Chess Classic, projected to have a $200 entry fee and a prize fund of $1000 based on 50 entries!
Back to that match, I was watching Garbage Master Finegold winning and winning, with lots of frustration since I wanted Simon Williams to win.
Apparently the feud began when Ben Finegold said that Simon Williams played like 1800 or so. Since Ben Finegold seems to be good at roasting people, I decided to tell some of my opponents that. However, since they were all 1600 players, they actually felt like I was complimenting them.
Simon Williams responded by saying that Ben Finegold would beat him in an eating contest, and that “he might even eat me”. I was thinking about using that roast against some youngsters. But they are vicious, so I don’t want to give them the idea of eating me.
But since my sponsors didn’t pay me to write about that, let’s go back, to a time a long while ago, before the iPhone 8 (which is now a necessity for human life), before a school year in which we were all forced to start being productive once more, before I wrote this blog, before everything.
Let’s go back to August 18, 2017 and hear what I have to say to the world:
“So Advaith?” I pondered as I rolled out of bed. “I should be able to beat that prodigy. After all, my speciality is beating them while they’re young!”. But while I had outward confidence towards winning, inside I was more fearful than ever. All my biggest fears were nothing compared to what I had in that moment. I remembered Advaith being a decent 1400 player, and then 2 months later somehow he was a 1700! I knew that it would take a lot of effort to beat this prodigy, so I decided to try and mentally prepare myself.
There are many ways of doing this. One of my favorites is looking up inspirational quotes. It really can make me get over my fears. Here were some good quotes:
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right”
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everybody else”
And here’s one that I can relate to especially:
“People who think they knew everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do”. How true!
I managed to lighten myself up by this, and skipped giddily (that’s not true, but in literature you can lie if it makes even the most mundane things sound interesting) to the bus station.
It should be mentioned that unlike the previous day, I didn’t know what Advaith would play. I was tired of preparing anyways, so I didn’t. So on the bus ride, I flipped through some chess book, thought about life and how amazing it was, and how I am such a wonderful human being. I thought about all of life’s deep questions, like why we play chess, but since that was starting to make me consider withdrawing to do something better with my life, I had to end my philosophical thoughts. Instead I tried to focus on the euphoria I’d get after my victory against Advaith “The Prodigy”.
I arrived around half an hour early, since I leave my house early for chess tournaments in case something goes wrong, and I was greeted by a whole multitude of players, grandmasters and patzers alike. Singling out my opponent, I told him that I had my cheating and intimidation methods ready. But he wasn’t intimidated by me, he said.
That didn’t bother me at all. I was confident that in this game I would start my remarkable comeback and win this tournament, and I almost did (win the game, not the tournament).
What did I learn?
During the vast majority of the game I was so much better, and figured the win would come by itself. I didn’t try to look for the immediately winning continuations, instead looking to exchange in a pawn up ending. “Keeping things simple” often only makes it more complicated!
As is normal was lower rated players, I am overconfident and certain of victory too early. I start thinking about the next round or other games. If I payed more attention to the game and stopped caring about other people and being nice, I would be a better chess player.
It’s been said a lot, so I’ll say it again. 1 bad move can spoil 30 good (as we saw, maybe not “good”, but I never gave up the advantage for a while, which is good) ones. Always pay attention! (Except if you play me)
I tried not to be upset about this loss, I mean draw (it certainly felt like a loss, especially as I write this, I still cry over the loss of rating points). I congratulated my opponent on being lucky, was confident that my own luck would return, discussed a few lines that we had considered, and bid each other farewell, knowing I would never see him again. I did not complain on and on about drawing, like a certain player in this community does, and instead waited in the skittles room for more friends to come by. Maybe we could do another 5x bughouse match or have a water fight.
In the meantime, I decided to check the standings. “Wow, Roland Feng (the top seed) is doing really well!”, I exclaimed. Amazed by his performance, I told him that he was doing great. He didn’t have anything to say in return sadly.
But there was one person who had an even better start. The evil Brendan Zhang (2093), having had beaten 2 masters, Megan Lee (2279) and Ignacio Perez (2220). At this point he was actually clear first, due to the large number of prearranged draws (Roland Feng had taken a half point bye) happening in this tournament.
Unfortunately, water fights and bughousing was not going to happen. Most of the parents were taking their kids out to eat. I asked them if they’d take me too, but they expected me to pay for my own food, so I wasn’t interested. But I figured I shouldn’t just wait around, so I left the SCC to go to the nearby Northgate Mall with my friend Alex.
And we had a great time! Complaining, of course, about nearly everything about chess (who doesn’t).
We talked about a lot, how opening theory changes the game, how much studying is necessary, prodigies and their exceptional ability, etc. Chess is becoming less fun since you need to work hard to succeed in it. In chess, what you need is the results, not fun. After all, as every person on chess.com knows, you play to win, not to have fun. They (not sure who this “they” is, but let’s just go along with it) tell you that “if you’re not having fun anymore, stop playing”. Many non chess players have told me this. But they don’t understand you, like I do.
I know all your fears and thoughts, and thus I have a truer saying to all of you:
“If you not winning anymore, stop playing”.
And if you are winning, just make sure you don’t do it against me.
After our lively lunch, (he bought me free food for no reason since he’s a good person, I, of course, being evil, ate it all) we returned to the Seattle chess club, to prepare ourselves for what could be an important round. It should be mentioned that both of us were having bad tournaments, he’d gotten upsetted as well.
When we came back, I played some more bughouse, but it wasn’t fun. The kid I played against really good, and every time he beat me he kept telling me how bad I was. If only I could get better at it.... (Yes, I know you’re reading this evil person, and no, I don’t forgive you)
After I got tired of being called terrible at something that I wasn’t terrible at, I decided to watch the masters analyze games. Someone said how that was good for your chess, so why not? Plus, I always make a lot of jokes in analysis.
One common one, which I used here, was when one of them managed to outplay the other in analysis. I tell the crowd watching, “This guy is good!” And they all laugh.
My other jokes are sort of lame, but still get some people to laugh. After a while, it becomes an expectation to laugh, even if I’m not funny. Sort of like if you listen to stand up comedians. They’re not funny, but you feel like you have to laugh.
In game analysis, masters love to talk about their plans. They’ll say how they’re going to play, for example, Nc3-e4-f6, and they actually move their knight to f6, effectively gaining a turn. I frequently chime in at this point and ask, “If you can get free moves, why hasn’t the game ended yet?”
Generally, the older players (and me, although at 16 I am actually old in the chess community!) dominate the analysis, while the youngsters just sit quietly and watch. This is an evil trick by them, because when you play them in the next tournament they will use all your preparation and ideas against you.
So if there’s one thing you’ll want to remember about this blog, it’s that prodigies are ruining chess by their good moves.
Back to the tournament, In round 5, it was obvious that I would be paired down. The Swiss gambit was working. I was a little surprised to be facing Harish Srinivasan, being rated 1947, but I guess that’s ok, if I beat him maybe I’ll have chances of keeping my expert rating! (Which at this point, seemed really unlikely). And I was playing white.
I entered the playing area to play my game (I figure I should be super descriptive, so it takes up more space). Soon after, the TD announcements started, giving me one more minute to configure my engine. Of course the announcements aren’t special, usually they say the same stuff each round. They tell you the time control since they thought you forgot.
They also tell you (actually me) to be quiet which is wishful thinking on their part.
I felt like I was ready to play good chess, certainly not expecting the following to happen:
I can’t even describe how I felt after this game. I didn’t feel guilty though, not at all. But I felt like luck does exist in chess.
It’s hard to explain how I’d improve on this game. Once I had the bad position, there was not much I was able to do about it. Getting positionally dominated is one of the most annoying things in chess, I can name 300 things that are more annoying.
For those of you interested (all of you, that is), a similar thing happened in my first tournament this year against Joshua Lewis Sandy in a much worse position, only proving that I’m more lucky. You can find that game here.
And so, I was on an even score. I was also only half a point behind the top players in my prize group.
I got a ride home from Alex again (Thanks for saving me an hour! I know you’re reading this) and late at night checked my email and saw the pairings for the next round:
Vikram Ramasamy vs. Joseph Truelson.
Yet another familiar opponent. Last time I played him, I beat him quite decisively in the Advanced Caro Kann as Black. And I had black again, so I would know what to expect.
Did my preparation outdo his though? Did I fix my mediocre play and secure a surprise upset? Or was the game another expected result, a draw?