Thursday, 19 January 2012

Queenstown - A view from the back of the hall

Rather than focus on the leaders of the Queenstown International for this round, I'm instead going to look towards the back of the hall. By that I mean the lower boards of the tournament, where the chess is a little more casual, and the results are sometimes not that important. In one game today it looked as though an experienced higher rated player had an easy win against his much younger opponent. However after the first time control he made a move and forgot to press his clock. He then waited for a while, somewhat surprised that his opponent had not made the obvious reply. He then wandered off while his opponent made no attempt to move. When he returned the penny finally dropped and he remembered to press his clock. But rather than get angry he just laughed, as he realised he was to blame. And as it turned out, the easy win turned out not to be so easy as he ended up with a KQ v K and c pawn on the 7th, which turned out to be drawn via a stalemate trick. Even then he took the reversal of fortune in good spirits. A few days ago there was another example of good sportsmanship. For the tournament the clocks are using move counters to detect when the time control has been reached. For the final time control each player gets an additional 15 minutes (after move 60). At some point two players approached me and said "We need you to add time to our clock". Thinking this odd, I looked at the clock to see one player had run out of time. Having noticed that some of the old DGT clocks did not always detect the final time control properly, I asked if they had seen any time being added after move 60. Both replied no, and my calculations showed that they had missed out on the extra time. At no stage did either player try and claim (or dispute) a win on time, and were happy for me to adjust the clock and continue on. So while there have been plenty of hard fought and stressful games at the top end of the tournament, the games down the bottom are of no less importance to the overall success of the tournament.


Anonymous said...

A timely article!
From my experience, the most interesting games are played down the back of the tournament hall.
People who may have innaccurately prosecuted an attack only to find the defence was in turn faulty!
I'm so tired of the endless worship of self proclaimed "chess stars" (on a world scale every one of the players in this tournament is a "nobody"! It would be different if GM Morozevich decided to play, he is truly a chess star!)
We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we are all chess 'unknowns' down here!
Another great result for Kevin Brown and yet another below par result for IM Guy West, a draw with someone rated 250 points below him.

Anonymous said...

BTW. Well done GM Johansen, you played very well. It was a pleasure to watch you prosecute the ending against the German GM.
I had a feeling Wallis would beat the English GM. I feel GM Jones could be a hell of a lot over-rated!

Anonymous said...

Nothing bores me more than watching a strong player losing a pawn to a stronger player.....then endless woodpushing. Hellishly boring!
The bottom boards is the 'cage fighting' of chess!