Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back attack

1.d4 c5 2.d5 d6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Qa5 5.Bd2 Bd7 6.e4 Qb4

7.Nb5?? Qxe4+

So, you've not been wondering, how did the simul go?

I actually won all my games except the one reproduced above, my opponent in that one being an oldish guy, not the strongest opponent I faced but good enough to win without difficulty once I'd gifted him both my centre pawns. I was probably lucky that I only lost the one, having found myself particularly struggling against two kids, both of them from a Bulgarian family (whether resident in Zaragoza, or on holiday, I didn't ask) and neither particularly pleased when I managed to turn the game around.

Another of their party made - unlike the gentleman who beat me - the mistake of playing a suspiciously coherent opening (1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 O-O 6.e3 b6) thus inadvertently tipping me off that he knew what he was doing. I made good and sure to spend extra time at his board and won a hard-fought game. In some ways that was easier than another game in which I played against a child who, although she claimed otherwise, evidently didn't know how all the pieces moved.

I hadn't intended, in point of fact, to write about the simul, since I wasn't sure that I would have anything new to say. However, there was one thing which came out of the experience which I haven't seen written about at all. That thing was backache. A few hours after the simul I was walking around like a rather less agile Quasimodo, and I couldn't properly walk upright, for any length of time, until at least two days afterwards.
Recovering from a simul can take some time

I've had a bit of back trouble in my time - and trouble with my cervical vertebrae, which enables me to make a cracking sound simply by moving my neck - so it's not so surprising that I should have another bout. The activity itself strikes me as carrying a serious risk of provoking back problems to anybody similarly vulnerable, which must include a lot of chessplayers. You lean over, make a move, go to the next board, lean over, make a move, go to the next board, lean over...I played for three hours, which I don't suppose is unusually long, so in that time I must have made that movement hundreds of times, perhaps close to a thousand. This can't be good for one's physical health.

You're more likely to suffer from back trouble when you get older. I'd guess that a fair proportion of people who give simultaneous displayers are in that category, and hence a fair proportion of them must also be vulnerable to back trouble. So when you're playing in a simul, maybe have a thought for the poor bloke, if bloke it be, doing all the rushing around and bending over - and beating you, easily or otherwise. The pain you're feeling is purely metaphorical. And at least, when you walk home later, you'll be able to walk upright.

[Graphic: Daily Vile]


Tom Chivers said...

I wonder if there's a market for sushi conveyor belt simuls, with the master taken around on the carousel.

Jonathan B said...

I smell an appearance on Dragons' Den TC