Monday, February 19, 2007

My experience in the 114th Annual Minnesota Chess Open, part II

The highlight for the tournament for me was Saturday morning. I had stayed a long enough time on Friday night to find that Rich had drawn his game, even being a piece down. Incredible! Before I left to go back to the tournament, I told Melissa that it would be a hoot if Rich and I were paired, since we each had a 1/2 point. I wasn't sure how many people drew on Friday night, but there was a chance.

I saw Rich just moments before I walked over to the wall chart for round two. Yep, "Rich Durocher v Joe Erjavec." I got a big smile knowing I was going to play my friend. (And we agreed the day before that we would get lunch and coffee together. The good thing about playing each other was that we would both be done at the same time!)

The first move was 1. d4. I hadn't played the following for a while, but it was time for me to break it out again....f5! I played the Dutch.

Unlike my last post, I'm not going to get into the details of the game right now. Rather, I want to talk about the spirit of the game. I feel such a spirit of fellowship, despite the fact that chess is extremely competitive.

Rich and I played an extremely hard fought game. I thought both our openings were strong, we made the position as complicated as possible for each other, and despite the fact that the game was going long (it ended up finishing after 2:15, a four-hour game), I kept focused on playing my best game, as did Rich.

During the game, I kept thinking about this Zen parable that I found in an old book. I posted it on my website with credit to the author. I don't think it's been reprinted since 1970, which is a shame, because it is a delightful paperback rich with nuggets of wisdom.

He had me in a bind, and I opened the position up with some mild complications by sacking my Knight for two pawns to open up some lines against his King and other pieces. He defended well, including having to face some repeated checks. Once the position was simplified, though, he had a Bishop and Pawns against my Pawns, and he won the game.

We did get to go out for lunch, but it was not too casual, as the next round was supposed to start at 2:30. But it was nice to have a few minutes of downtime to recover and talk about the game that we just finished! It is never enough time, and soon we were back into the throes of battle against new opponents shortly thereafter.

Tags: Minnesota, chess

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