Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Never seem to find the time
Sorry about that. It was just something that happened to be on my mind. Really, I've not been listening to this muso stuff for twenty years now. Anyway, I understand all this music from the early Seventies is back in again now? Worries me that, when the kids start liking the music I used to like when I was a kid.
Anyway. The particular madeleine that inspired this temporary voyage to my youth was a chess game I played on Saturday. Not a good one, though of course they never are. The previous evening I got a call from Jesús at the club, saying that the opponents, who were travelling from Zaragoza, would like to start at four rather than the normal four-thirty, was that all right with me? Muy bien, I said. Suits me, I thought, I'll just get home half-an-hour earlier.
So I was at the club in good time for four o'clock. And while I wasn't at all taken aback that none of the opposing team were present at the starting time of their own choosing, or indeed five minutes later when we started the clocks (about half my games here begin with an absent opponent) I was still a bit surprised to find myself in the bar twenty minutes later still waiting for them to turn up. In truth we were pretty much expecting a default when they appeared at 4:25 - just right for the original start time they'd asked to change - and so we all began with a twenty-minute advantage on our clocks.
Twenty minutes is a large chunk out of the ninety minutes, thirty extra seconds a move notwithstanding, so I was surprised further when in the early middlegame my opponent left the room and didn't come back until fifteen minutes of his time, let alone the time I'd taken to move, had elapsed.
Cut a long story short, my position had taken its usual middlegame route downhill from a promising start and I unwisely tried to reverse the trend by sacrificing an exchange for largely imaginary compensation. However, while I was hanging on in quiet desperation, he lost his nerve, opened up his king for no obvious reason and I went on to win.
Afterwards, he asked whether I thought he was winning and I said surely, sin duda, of course he was. I couldn't tell him a clear winning line immediately, but I was sure he had plenty to choose from. Well, he said, maybe. But it's difficult to find the right moves when you've so little time on the clock.