Sunday, May 20, 2012

CyChess 49 - Part 2 of 3

CyChess 49 - Round 2 (picture courtesy of Dave the Barefoot Chess Player)

  In the second round of the May 13th CyChess tournament I had the black pieces against Milind Jetty. I had received an email from his father Siva last month telling me they were moving to Iowa from Arizona and wanted information about chess tournaments in the area. I gave him the IASCA web site address and the email address of a local tournament organizer. While I was talking to Roger Gotschall before the tournament, someone said to me ‘Hank Anzis’? I turned around and was facing someone I’d never seen before. It was Siva Jetty. He recognized me from the picture that gets sent with my emails. I didn’t realize my emails sent a picture! Siva introduced me to his wife and children and we talked about chess for a bit. Siva’s 2 sons have been playing for 3 years but have only gotten serious about it in the past year. A quick look at the USCF web site shows that Milind has gained 400 rating points in the past 12 months to his current level of 1515, which will put him in the upper echelon of Iowa K-6 chess players. It made me a little homesick for the days when I’d be bringing my kids to chess tournaments and they would be the wunderkinden of Iowa Chess.

  As I mentioned last time, Milind beat Dave the Barefoot Chess Player in the first round in a 200 point upset. They were playing at the next table over and I remember Milind offering Dave a draw and Dave saying no because he thought he had winning chances. I thought Dave had won and was surprised to find out he lost in the endgame when Milind managed to queen a pawn and win.

  Playing kids is rough for some adult chess players, but not for me since I’ve been playing my sons since they were 5. I never let them win but Ben beat me for the first time when he was 5 and Matt started beating me when he was 8 and I know that they liked nothing better than to play and win against adults and I learned to never mind beating them in a tournament or club game. I think a lot of adults don’t like to play kids because they think they‘ll hurt the child’s feelings if they win and be humiliated if they lose to a kid. When some of the other adults mention how they feel like they’re beating up on kids when they play them, I wheel out one of my favorite chess phrases: “There’s only one thing worse than beating a little kid. Losing to a little kid.” There’s no humiliation in losing to a better player of any age in my mind, but when worrying about hurting a young chess players feelings, it’s important to realize that behind that cute, innocent, cherubic face sitting across the 64 square battleground lurks the heart of an assassin! If you’re worried about hurting a child’s feelings by winning the chess game, promise yourself you’ll be extra nice after you win and get on with it.

5th grader Milind Jetty
  A few years ago I was going to write a book to help chess parents compete more effectively against children over the board. I never got around to writing the book, but I still have the outline. My main tenets for playing against children are a) Don’t let them attack because that’s likely what they’re best at, b) Use a lot of time and try to project an attitude of infinite patience because children tend to get fidgety and impatient waiting for their opponent to move, and c) An adult is more likely to outplay the child in the endgame because children tend to win their games with attacks, not endings and will not have the adult’s endgame experience. I tried to put these ideas into practice against Milind, but was a little perturbed knowing he beat Dave in the ending. Milind wasn’t fidgety at all, took more time than I did, and would look right in my eyes when it was my turn to move. This caused me to pull the lid of my baseball cap down way low so I wouldn’t see him looking at me and also to keep him from seeing what part of the board I was looking at. I noticed he would forget to write down the moves from time to time and then when he would remember would pick up right where he left off on the scoresheet without filling in the missing moves. This may have been a sign of nervousness or possibly because he had a scorebook and Roger wanted everyone to use his carbon copy scoresheets, give him a copy, and then use the original as a guide to transcribe the moves into scorebooks, large scoresheeets, etc... after the game. I would have liked to have done this at the Okoboji Open so I’d have a record of all the games, but I didn’t want get the players out of their comfort zone. It’s all a matter of taste.

pgn4web chessboard courtesy of
  This was a very lucky win. First I was lucky I didn’t get crushed after my poor 17th move Qf6 and then I was lucky that Milind misplayed the ending with the ill-advised 37. g5. I hope I remember this game the next time I lose because I fail to take my opponent’s hanging queen or hang one of my own or crash and burn in an ending, but in short time I’m sure the only thing I’ll likely remember was all my ‘brilliant psychomological preparation’ and also taking most of my remaining time to be sure of the only winning move 38…a5.

  Milind made quite a favorable impression on me. His conduct at the board was impeccable, he showed a lot of patience and maturity in his play, and while he wasn’t happy about losing he didn’t seem inordinately upset either. Since our game was the last to finish, I only had a few minutes to talk to him and his parents afterwards and forgot to ask why he rejected my draw offer. In theory, the bishop should be slightly better than the knight with pawns on both sides of the boards so perhaps he thought he could outplay me or perhaps he thought my offer meant that I believed I was losing the game, or perhaps after outplaying Dave in the ending in the first game he though us older Iowa players to be poor endgame players. Or maybe he just didn’t hear me.

  Tim Harder drew top seed John Herr in the other matchup of round 1 winners, which left me with the only 2-0 score. Tim, John, Will Polzin, and Jaleb (having won against Bill Broich) were half point behind. I would have White against Herr in the final round with the knowledge that a draw would get me at least a piece of first place.