Seattle City Championships 2016, or the Case of the Lazy Pieces
Photo 75969 courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
Despite the Seahawks playoff, which distracted many players (it was running on a computer in the back of the tournament hall), this local tournament had a nice turnout of 62 players including quite a few masters.
I have a theme for this tournament report: mysteriously lazy pieces. This one is the Case of the Lazy Bishop.
It is no shame to lose to a master, but it's not so good to let one's pieces sit around on the back rank. In my defense, having missed the Friday night round I had to play in the accelerated Saturday morning start, and game/60 is not at all my cup of tea.
The remaining games were, at least, at a better time control (40/2, SD/1). In round 2 I faced a teenager who was rated 1200 last time I saw him and is now rated 1650, having gone up like a skyrocket. Good to play him now before he gets completely out of hand!
This is Lazy Bishop Part II.
A nice Dutch, and one expects the Stonewall QB to have a difficult life, but move 16 is still rather late to be finishing one's development....
In the third round I met an Oregon expert who had wiped me off the board in about 15 moves in the Oregon Open. I resolved to play more carefully, but I was tired to the bone by this time, as can be seen in my opening choices: in this game the bishop, tired of being accused of laziness, runs around the board like a maniac.
I admit I groaned when I saw the fourth round pairings. Jason Yu played up into the Master section of the WA Class and did decently well; he's improving at a ferocious rate. He also had every reason to want revenge as our last game cost him a $150 first prize. This one is the Case of the Lazy Knight....
Jason had won his second round game by winning a drawn rook endgame. Clearly he has been working on these endgames. His tendency to play too fast when ahead nearly cost him in our game, but his technique was able to pull out the win.
I found myself watching neighboring games from time to time: I saw two Classical Dutches where Black's attack fizzled out just the way mine often has, and a game won by Brendan Zhang which was so brutal it was hard to look away--fork! skewer! fork! promote!-- the entire Black army got tossed off the board in a few moves.
The final game, against a local A-player who I've surprisingly not played before, is Lazy Knight Part II: the worst of all, as it doesn't manage to budge until move 22.
A sad end to Baxter's solid play, but it was nice to end with a win. As it turns out I tied for First Under-2000, getting a 1/5 share of the $85 prize. The title of Seattle City Champion goes to...the Oregon Champion, Nick Raptis, who managed to beat Viktors Pupols in a position I thought would be a draw for sure.
My result was good for +6 rating, pretty much a wash: I played like a 1900 player. I would have liked to do better, but my level of personal stress in the previous week was so high that this was quite a good result. I found myself playing some really impulsive moves, even one or two when I did some analysis and then made a move without the essential intermediate step of deciding which was best--just suddenly reached out and made it. (The exchange into the losing rook endgame against Jason, alas, was one of these.)
I fear I will start seeing a lot of Exchange French games, as more than one player has noted it as a way to avoid Frenchy positions which I know how to handle well. But every tournament seems to generate an "I really ought to work on this opening" comment--for a different opening.
Baxter's comment to me during our post-mortem was that the little kids really benefit from coaching and hard study, and we adults are dilettantes in comparison. I need to get back to my study plan, put aside due to life turmoil.
Chess is fun, though, which is how it should be. Even the losses were pretty fun, though I'm glad there weren't more of them.