One of the gripes of playing in Ryde Eastwood RSL was that we seldom get to play in one of the larger rooms anymore. I know space is a prime commodity these days but last night, we have 3 teams of 4 members (+ their team captain who may or may not be playing) each coming from other clubs. That means there were at least 24 players being squeezed into a room the size of half a basketball court. We also had the regular social club players as well and this was getting a bit tight. Unfortunately, there was insufficient tables to setup a board a good distance away from the games going on which meant that post-mortem analysis was always going to be a problem.
I spoke to the U1400 Team Captain Greig Edwards and the U1600 Team Captain Les Mikolajczyk and it was agreed that I should play in the U1400.
In the meantime I saw Joshua Christiansen and congratulated him for his excellent performance in the Sydney Weekender which concluded a couple of days ago. We talked a little about the game and he said it was one of the best games he had the pleasure to be in, including holding a draw against Max Illingworth(2246). Well done, Josh!
Anton Smirnov and his father Vladimir (it's hard to miss them as Vlad is fairly tall and Anton is a cute 6 year old who plays a mean game of chess) turned up. Vladimir asked me if Bill Gletsos was going to turn up and I said I was not sure but he sometimes turned up at around 8pm. Unfortunately, Bill was a no-show in the end. Sorry Vlad, if I gave you the wrong information!
By 7.40pm, we were asked to start our games. It was a weird scenario. We had players missing, and some of the other clubs had players missing as well.
The U1600 Board 1 player for our club, Sotarduga Sitompul came some 15 minutes late and this would later have a profound effect on the game because he lost on time (failed to make the required number of moves before the first time control by 1 minute! He had to make 8 moves in 1 minute before the first time control).
By 7.50pm, 20 minutes after the game was to have started, I had no choice but to start the clock. One minute later, my opponent Hareesh turned up. He was in a bit of a fluster, so I stopped the clock and asked if he wanted a drink and for some time to steady himself before starting the game. He said ok before returning to the board a minute later with a cup of water. We shook hands and proceeded to start the game. The game was a bit unusual and the pieces were flying off the board to reach a R+2P v R+4P endgame. At one point in the middlegame, my brain keeps telling me something about the position looks odd and there's something in there but for the life of me, I could not see it (sure enough, Fritz would later tell me that I could have trapped his Queen with an unusual Knight sacrifice).
Overall, I had a nice game against Hareesh. He agreed to my request for a post-mortem analysis of the game and we managed to find a board to analyse our game (only 1 meter from an actual playing board). Hareesh is a very polite, friendly chap and a gracious opponent. I hope he does well for the rest of the competition.
In the U1800, Steven won his game after his opponent panicked in a drawn N+6P v B+6P (!) endgame and unnecessarily sacrificed his bishop for pawn play. Joshua picked up a nice win against his opponent with an amazing attacking combination. David French lost on time to his opponent and Konrad Zielinski won his game when his opponent's mobile phone rang! Score: 3-1
In the U1600, Vince Chiara and James Hickey won their respective matches while Les and Sitompul lost. Score: 2-2
In the U1400, Douglas Eyres won his game, Simon Parker drew with Anton Smirnov. At this point, it was late so Steven and I headed home with Greig's game still going.
Truly a madhouse night.
Up next week on Tuesday, I'm playing against the St George Dragons and their players are (the March ratings are shown with the June 08 ratings in brackets):
Astorga, Peter 1643 (1654)
Press, Brian J 1542 (1553)
Britton, Geoffrey J 1510 (1513)
Wall, Terence 1506 (1496)
It's going to be a tough fight!