A day like last Sunday is one of those that makes it hard to play chess. It was fine and sunny, just perfect to be out and about, away from any kind of indoor activity. Yet I just had to drag myself out to Parra, anyway, for the third round of the NSW State Championships. But not before I managed to put in a few hours of Sunday morning doing my usual. First stop was a detour at my local cafe for a long, slow, caffeine fix then on to a movie.
With my regular flick-fix out of the way, off to chess I went.
That playing hall was a little like attending a wake. No more than twenty or so were there. Just a little while ago this event used to attract more than double this year's attendance. Everyone, seated and hunched over their boards, looked as if they were in mourning. Some faces expressionless, while others grimacing. But doubtless in the back of some minds was a real sense of mourning over the hopelessness and now seemingly irrelevant Championships. It was very sad. These days the Championship is basically dead. Anyhow, however few games are played there are always the little stories to tell.
Least of my expectations was a little bit of positive news from Norm Greenwood, the treasurer. It seems that I'd won $65 two years back and forgot about collecting the prizemoney. The cheque is still showing on the association's books. Well I better get to that very quickly. Then again - at the rate that these guys are bleeding cash, I could do them a favour and give the money back. Still thinking about it.
By the time I arrived most games were still on the way including Canfell - Furst on board 2. The defending champion was never in trouble eventually winning with a methodical breakthrough against the black kingside position. On the other hand, no game transpired on board 1 as Camer defaulted. Who knows what will happen to him? He's still on zero, seems to have difficulty presenting himself at the venue, and may yet opt to protect his already falling rating by bailing out early. Let's hope not.
The last game to finish in the Championships was Rose - Bolens. It was painful to watch. Their clocks were on the edges and both players were understandably committing serious oversights. We then come to this position:
Rose now played 1. Kd7 attacking the rook. Bolens confidently answered with 1...Rb6, with not a hint of emotion on his face, attempting to pull off another one his tricks. Rose now simply continued with 2. Rxb6 and he had to suffer a series of queen checks before finally winning! But could he have opted for the simple 2. e8=Q?
In the majors section, two games stood out. First was Kordahi - Rachmadi. By his own admission, Nick Kordahi was a lucky man. Essaying the Keres Attack, Nick held the advantage almost straight out of the opening while Herman was nowhere to be seen. But as is often the case when you have the big upper hand, Nick suddenly began to dilly dally. Bishop f1 to g2 then back again for no reason! It was all very weird. And Hermann was threatening to claw back.
"I was about to cry", Nick said.
What could we do but sympathise? You just had to feel for the guy. Lucky for him Hermann seems less sharp these days and made some fundamental errors. Our mate Nick eventually won!
Finally, here's Glissan - Christensen. Joshua, playing black, may have given up too quickly. During the postmortem everyone seemed convinced that 21...Qc8 lost on the spot. Actually, it didn't. Bad maybe, sure, but recoverable. I don't know what happened here but it seems that Joshua just threw it all in with 23...hxg6 when the straightforward 23...Rxe1+ would have done OK.
2007 NSW State Ch
1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Bd2 Qc7 7. Bd3 Bg4 8. h3 Bh5 9. O-O e6 10. Ne4 Nbd7 11. Re1 Be7 12. c4 O-O 13. Rc1 c5 14. d5 exd5 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Ng3 Bg6 17. Bc4 N7f6 18. Ne5 Rad8 19. Qe2 a6 20. a4 Rfe8 21. f4
21...Qc8 Dismissed by Joshua as a bad move. Both players agreed that 21...Bd6 may have been the better choice. 22.Qf3 Now Joshua sees that f4-f5 is threatened. He wants to counterattack a piece, so he plays 22....Bd6 It's OK. But now, apparently distracted by white's "attack" on the Nd5, he seems to forget a tactical resource. 23.Nxg6 hxg6?? 23...Rxe1+ 24.Rxe1 hxg6 25.Bxd5 Nxd5 24.Rxe8+ 1–0
Til next Sunday then. With this ridiculous APEC thing going on in Sydney, as well as the near total lockdown, I'll probably head to Parramatta again. To read more reports from the Championships, visit Trent Parker's blog.