Monday, November 26, 2007

A Quiet Draw

I had gone out to dinner with a friend from out of town and I had overdone it a little with the caloric intake. I prefer to subscribe to Alekhine’s advice that “During a chess competition, a chess master should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk.”

My opponent was playing up from his Class A rating. I don’t mind people playing up, but I question the wisdom of it. Does he hope that somehow by jumping into deep waters that he’ll learn how to swim with the big fish? Until a chess player demonstrates that he can dominate in his own section, my revolutionary prediction is that he’s going to get slaughtered playing up, and unless you’re a rapidly improving player (e.g. teenager), there’s going to be very little learning in repeated slaughter. I believe that there’s a certain amount of technique (pressing an edge into a winning advantage, converting the middlegame and endgame advantages, winning the won game, and just overall avoiding mistakes) that chess players ought to learn in playing people below or at their level. Without technique, a chess player’s game is always going to be pretty shaky and subject to sudden reversals. Plus, why not play in your own section in the hope that you’ll win some money?

That being said, I had somehow noticed that my opponent had tied for first in the Class A section in Far West Open 2007, so he had done some “dominating” in his own section and that he might be pretty dangerous. Before our game, I asked him if he was also at 1.0/3 and he said no, he was at 0.5. After drawing me in this game, he withdrew, which surprised me a little. I would think that he scored a moral victory in drawing a higher rated player. If you’re going to play up, I think you should be mentally prepared for bad results. But I can’t really fault him for withdrawing, since I spent the first half of the tournament contemplating withdrawal myself. But I had been getting my head handed to me by my own class of players.

This game wasn’t terribly interesting, but I learned a little about my opening repertoire.

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