Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Taste of South Florida Chess

I went to the South Florida Chess Club in Margate today. The format is g/90, one game a night each Wednesday for 4 weeks. It's a good system, since it allows you to focus on a single game. I wish the pairings were put up in advance, since eventually it'd be fun to prepare for specific opponents. In any case, I got to play John Haskell, who runs the Boca Raton Chess Club (which I also plan on going to). 2 good long games a week is enough competitive chess to keep improving, I think. In a sense it's better than weekend tourneys, since it's hard to fix things in your play between rounds during a weekender (not the case with weekly games), and the lessons learned are easy to forget by the time next month's tournament rolls around.

I have to say, going to a chess club made me feel much more relaxed and at home. Chess players are similar every place I've been. Contrary to the popular image of chess as a game populated by grouchy introverts, chess players are some of the most social and accepting people I've met. There are of course exceptions, but by and large a room full of chess players is room full of friends.

I've been here two weeks, and so far I've found good chess and Tai Chi, a good gym, and I'm starting to learn my way around. My neighbors have even quieted down, though I doubt it will last. In any case, here's the game:


So not a bad effort. I'm pretty good at openings and the early middlegame (perhaps because I've studied them so much?), but I tend to lose advantages going into the ending. Maybe I should play out better positions against Fritz to try and tighten up my technique. Incidentally, that's what I've always admired about GM chess: their technique. The way a player like Kramnik can maintain a minute advantage all the way through the middlegame and convert it into a win even against players as resourceful as Topalov or Leko is just amazing to me. I think if I could improve this part of my chess I'd reach my 2009 goal of 1800 pretty soon.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I took a look at this game, along with the annotation. Tom is both a talented player and a talented annotator. I have added my comments just as another perspective.