Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My experience in the 114th Annual Minnesota Chess Open, part III: Chess and music

My parents are occasional readers of my blog. My mom said "If I didn't know you, I'd say you were obsessed with chess and music." Yeah, that's very accurate.

Besides my chess equipment, the other important item I brought with me this weekend was my iPod. ( Melissa bought it for me for a Father's Day present, and I have shown my appreciation by using it often.) In preparation for the tournament, I added some new music to it. My staples for the Thursday Knighter events are live shows from The Dead, Hydra and STS9. I describe these latter two as "electronic hippy music."

But because this was an entire weekend of chess, and I know how grueling a tournament is, I downloaded some more driving music, including KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Tool, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

After my four hour game with my friend Rich and a short lunch break, I came back to play number three seed, Lonny Arvidson. (I did mention that I was playing up almost every round.) Before we got going, I started the Chili Peppers.

I got Black again, as in the last game, and he played 1. d4. Since I felt like I laid everything on the line with the Dutch in my previous game, I did not want to play that again. Rather, I played a King's Indian Defense against Lonny.

I had a good opening and middle game in which his pieces were not in ideal spots, and mine were putting lots of pressure on his. However, in the late middle game, where I think I have the greatest difficulty, the position became simplified, and Lonny ended up with a passed Pawn. His remaining pieces were able to coordinate an attack while continuing to push that Pawn to Queenhood. I resigned on his 40th move.

Neither of us used that much time, as we each had 50 minutes left on our clock. The upside was being done quickly, and having some time to recover for the final round of the day at 7 p.m. However, I was very exhausted from the 6-1/2 hours of chess I already played that day, so I savored every minute away from the tournament hall.

Just after 7 I walked into the hall, ready to face my next opponent, Kevin Lu. He is an elementary grade student and a quiet one on the outside. However, his game was everything but quiet.

I played White this time, and we got into a Sicilian, specifically 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3. His 5th move was e5. I've only played against this variation one other time, and not knowing that the proper response was Ndb5, I played 6. Nf5. His 6th and 7th moves were d5 and d4. Already my position was a goner, and he kept on coordinating his attack against my very poorly placed pieces.

I tried to keep myself going while listening to KMFDM and Tool, but music was far from my problem in this game. It was my only horrible game in the tournament, but one in which I wish I had known the opening theory.

Minnesota, chess, music

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