Saturday, 28 June 2008

A Cup Double

As kingscrusher has previously reported, Barnet won the Lawrance Cup a few weeks ago. Well, now we have the Finchley Cup too! The final was a tight affair, with Barnet edging Barking out by a score of 4.5-3.5.

The Lawrance Cup is played between teams in the North Circular Chess League's A division, while the Finchley Cup is for teams in the B division, so Barnet's first and second teams respectively have done a nice double here.

In both cup competitions, two games are played at a time control of thirty minutes for all moves. I've so far avoided posting any rapid games, largely on the grounds that the quality of play really isn't worthy of a wider audience. Mind you, I've shared some pretty horrible games played at a full time control, so perhaps that's not a convincing argument. Certainly these two games from the final won't stand much scrutiny; but I've played worse - and after all, it's not every day that you win the cup...

(Opponent is the same Opponent who gave me this beating a couple of months back. The games are reconstructed from memory, so may contain errors of move order.)



Saturday, 21 June 2008

Mismatch

A bit of an odd one this. I'm playing on board one for our second team, away to Southgate. When we turn up they have a team list showing players for board two downwards, but have left the top board blank. There seems to be some doubt about whether their man will turn up. As we take our seats I am facing an empty chair.

Meanwhile, a couple of new members (both teenagers, I'd guess) are hanging around hoping for someone to take charge and arrange a game for them. One of them spots the gap opposite me. "Shall I play that guy?" he asks. He seems to be unaware that we're playing a team match. Presumably he is likely to struggle on the higher boards. Supposedly, we're still hoping that Southgate's usual top board will arrive. Nevertheless, their captain waves him on; and I have an Opponent.

For the first couple of moves I worry that perhaps Opponent will prove to be unexpectedly strong, and that I will be humiliated by the first kid who walked in from the street. But it soon becomes clear that this is not the case, and at move twelve Opponent drops his first piece.

Alas, someone seems to have advised him never to resign (which would perhaps be good advice against players of his own strength). Alas again, someone has apparently advised him to use all of his time. It takes two tedious hours to deliver checkmate. The evening is thoroughly unsatisfactory.

I should make clear that I do not blame Opponent for my disgruntlement in any way. We all start somewhere. However, I do think it was a mistake to allow him to play this game. It's a particularly peculiar decision if there was really any expectation that the usual top board was on his way (he never did turn up). Better, surely, to hold out for the regular player; and ask me to play some quick games against the new guy when my opponent didn't show? Or, to shuffle the players who were available up a board and put the newcomer at the bottom?

Here's the game, for what it's worth.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Wrapping up

The season proper came to an end some time ago, and I notice that I have a couple of games left over that I've not yet posted. Here's the first of them; the other will probably follow fairly shortly, so that I don't have to leave a loss at the top of the blog...

Crushing though this defeat was, for some reason I didn't mind it too much. I think it's that I'd much prefer to lose by completely misunderstanding the position and coming up with a disastrous plan, than by blundering away some material (which is more often my way). 14. Nd2 was the start of a bad idea, mistakenly playing for 16. f4. A couple of moves later and it's clear that White has only improved of all of Black's pieces, and that it will be just a matter of time before the final blow is delivered. Full credit to Opponent, though, who finished off nicely from there.

As I say though, I'd prefer to lose by executing a bad plan in a relatively unfamiliar type of position. It seems like this sort of loss ought to be a general lesson that I can remember for future games. In contrast, the repeated appearance of decisive blunders in my play suggests that "don't give your pieces away" is a moral that neither I nor my opponents can really grasp.