Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'm a bit fried after a busy week!

Starting with last Saturday, I have spent four out of the last eight days heavily involved with chess. Last weekend was the Minnesota Class Championship, last night was round four of the Twin Cities Chess League, and today I helped out the Harrison's with the computer work for their scholastic tournament. When I got home this afternoon, I felt very tired!

Last night was a good night in the TCCL. We had a change in our lineup this month, as John, our board three, was absent. Will, a past regular at the Chess Castle, was playing last weekend in the Class Championship. I asked if he would be able to fill in, and he was. As his rating is over 1800, he became our board one. Kelly and I were each scooted down one board, to boards two and three, respectively. Blaine had board four.

We played Slackers, composed of Matt, Paul, Skyler, and Jeff. Matt was rated similarly to Will. Paul, unknown to us at the time, is also near 1800, and Blaine and I were each rated above our opponents.

My game was the first to be decided. I was Black and had an even position with my opponent out of the Caro-Kann main line. However, he blundered a piece relatively early, and he resigned at that point.

Blaine had a good game going next to me. As I finished mine, I watched his quite a bit. He had a strong Queenside Pawn majority. Jeff left one of the key pawns in his chain unprotected on a move, and Blaine worked that chain apart. At the end of the game, he just pushed a Pawn to a6. Even with a sacrifice of his Rook at that point, there was no way for his opponent to stop that Pawn. Well played, Blaine!

I was a bit concerned with the board one game. Will was a piece behind in a tactically-complex game. It was a tough position to hold, and Matt was able to take advantage of the position to cause further piece loss and Will's resignation.

So far, we were assured the minimum of a draw. Kelly had a materially even but very energetic game going. I hope to get a picture of one of the late middlegame positions, as it was quite exciting. He played well with a Rook, his Bishop pair, and a few Pawns on his Kingside to erode Paul's material equality. They were down to nearly a minute each when Kelly mated Paul.

It wasn't until after the game when we were talking in the hallway and we discovered that Paul was 1800 strength! Great job, Kelly! Great job, Tal Tales! I'm very proud of our team!

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