Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Indulge Me...

Our chess blog is for more than one thing: Local chess and club news, to have fun, to join in the conversations of the chess blogosphere, as an opportunity to write, to keep in touch with each other, to let others know what we're like - perhaps in case they'd like to join our club - and, so on. But: I warn you now. This particular post is about one thing, and one thing only.

Me bragging!

Because, this weekend, I achieved something I thought I'd never do. I drew against an International Master. No, I don't mean on the internet, or in a simul, or in a friendly game, or in a rapid-play game, none of which to me really matter so much. I mean in an over-the-board game, in an Open tournament, where money was at stake, a graded game, and at slow time-limit. In other words, in all the right conditions for serious chess, the kind that counts. And yes, I realise that for the stronger members of our club, beating titled players isn't exceptional. But I am not one of the stronger members of the club.

It was rather an interesting game too, I think. My opponent was off-form Colin Crouch, and here are the moves to play through:


Except for a last round collapse, the rest of the tournament went much better than I had expected too. My four other draws were all against higher graded opponents - including two in the 190s.

Sick of me yet? Spot any missed wins in the above game? Shall I shut up now? Ah well. Indulgence over. Normal service to be resumed shortly - of that be assured, because this won't happen again for a long time; if ever...

16 comments:

Jonathan B said...

Nice one Tom.

I'm all for a bit of bragging on the blog.

tim said...

who did you lose to last round? i would be interested to see your loss please :)

dutchdefence said...

A draw against an genuine IM? That's sweet. I can understand your excitement over it.

ejh said...

Me too

Tom Chivers said...

Thanks, Jonathan and Edwin. Btw, to add to the brag factor: I just noticed a draw of mine from the tournament was versus a FIDE Master (Mark Lyell.)

Tim - I lost to David Haydon...

Justin - intriguing that James Sherwin was so distraught. Colin was visibly relieved and verbally thankful to draw, *despite* the undeniable gulf of class. I remember playing IM Mike Basman (in the Civil Service Congress) and a similar thing struck me in the post-mortem, which requires a bit of a story. I had gotten the better opening - a pawn up - and played ..g5, attacking his bishop on h4, which only had g3 to retreat to. He spent twenty or so minutes over Bg3, and after I asked him had he really been thinking about Bxg5, the only alternative, for so long? And why? It looked to me awful... He answered that, no, of course not. He'd spent the time instead just thinking over how bad his position was.

There was something about this - so detached, so honest, so personal, so committed, all despite the fact he was a lot worse against a 160 - that really made an impression on me. It seemed so different to how I'd seen anyone else approach a position.

Does that make sense? Maybe not. Anyhow to me, both Colin & he shared this sort of individualised commitment, perhaps for want of a better phrase. I wondered after on Sunday if this is maybe the kind of thing that distinguishes IMs from strong players who never make that level. A sort of rugged, honest competitiveness with the board, without a single qualm for the opponent.

But maybe not, what with James Sherwin...

Anonymous said...

Oh: to play ...g5 against Mike Basman and have him contemplate it for 20 minutes...

Mark Lyell creamed Danny Gormally not so long ago, I think in a CCF all-play-all.

Did any other S&BCC members play at Ilford?

Angus.

Tom Chivers said...

Yes it was sort of amusing... Curiously after that, I missed a win or at least a -/+ with ..g5 in a couple of league games. I guess I became allergic to the possibility! It strikes me now (and only now) perhaps the scar from the Basman game was why I repeatedly omitted this move! Incidentally, Michael Basman thoroughly outplayed me in that middlegame after his (typically) disastrous opening... to reach a major piece endgame where I had to find some very precise moves to cling to the draw. I found all of them except one, and lost it.

Mark Lyell was almost beating me for the whole game. He got into time trouble though at the exact moment the endgame exploded with tactical complexity, and I suspect played it a bit too safe. After the time control I found a somewhat study-like solution to my problems, sacrificing all of my material to reach a theoretical draw. I think he was naturally pretty gutted about that.

As for other Streatham chess club members - no, I think I was the only one. However, Mel did come along for an afternoon to see what was happening - it was great to see him.

ejh said...

Lyell is one of the four FIDE Masters I've beaten. The game's on Chessbase Online Database: I play White.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Tom! Top board for S&BCC 1st team next season ;o)

Antony

Anonymous said...

Good effort Tom. Well done! Who were your other draws against btw and do you know the results for the top places?
Andrew

Tom Chivers said...

Thanks Andrew.

My other draws were against:

Peter Taylor (191)
John White (165)
Mike Lexton (180)
Mark Lyell (193)

The Lyell game was by far and away the hardest and most satisfying for me. I had to make more than one super-tough decision, and was fundamentally worse from around move 10.

The tournament was won my an IM whose name escapes me, but I will try to remember and let you know. (I was in 'player' mode rather than 'blogger' mode.) Anyhow he won only narrowly so - I think he finished with 4.5/6, and was possibly the only undefeated player. It was an extraordinary violent tournament that turned into a real youth v experience contest. In one of the rounds, each of the top three boards saw a junior versus an IM. One junior, Subin Sen, I think scored 2.5/3 versus the three IMs he played as well - extraordinary. And he had a lot of pressure in the .5 too, I thought he was winning almost. But then he lost to another junior!

Anonymous said...

Taylor and Lexton are also pretty decent opponents, so draws there are good results.I am sure Antony will delight in telling you two of Lexton's reults this season. Was the winner Philip Morris (the chessplayer not the US cigaretter giant)?
Andrew

Tom Chivers said...

That name rings a bell Andrew, I think it might well have been him. I can't find a photo on-line though to confirm it. The third IM who played, incidentally, was Augustin Madan.

I played Taylor in the first round, and I think he hadn't quite got into gear. He let a superior position v my hanging pawns slip away, to the point where I might have complicated to push for a win - but I chose to liquidate to a clear draw instead (time-trouble.) I think I was a bit lucky v Lexton. I had what I thought was much the better of the opening, but then started to drift; I realised I was losing the thread, so offered - and perhaps had he realised how confused I was he'd have declined...

Anonymous said...

Think it was Madan that I drew with in Angus's rapidplay 2 weekends ago (let him off the ropes!).
Andrew

Anonymous said...

I see that 13 year old Pinner player Akash Jain qualified for the British at Ilford. I indeed earlier this year played for Pinner in a match with Akash and his younger sister Radha, who is representing England in the World Under 12 (I think) girls.
Andrew

Anonymous said...

Tom have a look at this http://www.essexchess.org.uk/files/Ilford_Congress_J1.pdf
- an IM claiming and getting a win against Yang-Fan Zhou with a N versus a N and P. Could be basis of future article.
Andrew