Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mike Serovey Wins Class "C" Prize in FCA Quick Chess Regional Championship

Yesterday I played in my first FCA membership required chess tournament in a long time. It was a game in 29 minutes time control and the clocks were set to 25 minutes with a 5 second delay.

In Round 1 I had a rematch with Roshan Jayarama and again had White. I again played the English opening and this time we drew. After the game Roshan asked me if I always play the English. The answer is "No", but until he outplays me in the opening there is no need to play anything else against him. I was winning this game until I noticed that I was behind on time and started rushing my moves. I dropped a pawn and then was able to win it back in the time scramble. With nothing left on the board but a King and Rook each I said, "Draw!" not asking for a draw but declaring it one. Of course, Roshan had to agree in order to end the game there and he did.

In Round 2 I again had Black against Terry Feeney. The first time we played I played the Modern defense and Terry missed a chance to win a pawn in the opening. He was better for the first 20 moves or so but eventually lost on time. So, this time I played the Sicilian defense and must have caught Terry sleep walking because he played terribly and quickly lost.

In Round 3 I got my friend Robert Clark and I thought that I would have an easy draw because of the number of times that I have drawn or beaten Rob in the past. I was mistaken because Rob plays for a win in every game, even against friends. I tried something new and it backfired. I now know that in the games with really fast time controls it is best for me to stay with openings that I know well.

In Round 4 I got one of Mike Hoffer's students, Truman Hoang. Before the start of the tournament I overheard Mike telling one of his students that he knew how to beat me and then Mike pointed me out to him. I was warned by Mike that he had prepared something special for me and I believe that it is a new twist on his "chick bone" thing. So, I played the Sicilian defense in order to avoid the prepared line. Truman was about 5 minutes late for the start of this game and eventually blundered in time pressure. I may have lost this one if he had been on time.

I am a little annoyed, flattered and amused all at the same time that Mike is teaching his students how to beat me! I am amused because Mike has yet to beat me in a rated game! He has outplayed me at times in part of our games but blunders in time trouble and gives back any advantage that he may have had! I have yet to see his students handle time trouble any better than he does. I am annoyed because he wants me to do him favors because we are friends yet he is unwilling to share with me the file that he is keeping on me and my games. His paid students learn how to beat me but I have to figure out on my own how to beat them! I wonder if his students know about this blog and my chess site. If they do then they can look up my games going back longer than these little kids have been alive! I am a little flattered that a higher rated player than I am thinks that I am a threat to him and his students!

In the final round I got one of the people who tied for first place, Andres Hernandez. The USCF rules state that because White has a slight advantage with the first move he or she gets his or her choice of playing equipment to include the chess clock. Andres insisted on using his clock even though it was not working correctly. We were at least ten moves into this game when I realized that I was 5 minutes behind on time because my clock was still running when it was my opponent's turn to move! When I called this out we used my clock. I wanted to start the clock with the full 25 minutes but Andres insisted on taking 5 minutes of both side's time. I don't think that I had actually used 5 minutes of my time yet and may have been penalized for agreeing to this. Unfortunately, the tournament director was not nearby at that time. Because I had rushed some of my moves when I thought that I was behind on time due to a defective clock, I went into the time scramble later on down material. I don't mind losing to a higher rated player who is better than I am, but I do mind blundering due to a defective clock!

A score of two and a half out of five was enough to win the Class "C" prize of $35 so I recovered my entry fee and got $5 for gas. That was all that I had hoped to accomplish when I started this event. Now, I am trying to figure out how to play mistake free chess and also how to get more chess players to show up for these Tampa tournaments.

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