Playing Ray Robson 6
Even a few days after the GM Ray Robson 30-game simul, the local chess community still buzzes about the large turnout, drawn game, and excitement generated by GM Robson. Last night we reviewed at Big E's the simul's two longest games.
Some of the strongest players in the area gather at Big E's on Tuesday nights to play chess and view a lecture by Greg High, who is an Expert ranked chess player and reputed as the strongest chess player in the Sarasota area. Besides his chess prodigiousness, Greg is a current teaching tennis pro, former touring tennis pro, and all around good egg. More about Greg can be found at this link.
I had never met Greg before I started attending his lectures but later learned that my wife and Greg's wife play tennis together. And there was a soccer connection between my past and one of Greg's siblings. I've often noticed that good chess players quite often happen to be good tennis and/or soccer players.
During the 8 or so weeks between the scheduling of the simul and the date of the event, Greg's lectures often focused on some of GM Robson's previous games and the types of defense that might give us a chance to put forth a strong battle. I chose to focus all of my prep efforts on the French Defense and played it exclusively during that time (and saw my chess.com blitz and bullet rating shoot up!). The big potential problem, of course, was whether Robson's opening move would lend itself to the French D.
As play started at the simul, I anxiously watched as GM Robson moved clockwise through the boards making his openings moves. He played many different openings in no pattern that I could make out as he made eye contact with each opponent just before the move. At the board before me he played N f3. Stepped over to my board, bore into my eyes, and reached down for a pawn to play .........................................E4. Bingo! I knew I could last for more than 10 moves.