Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Last Round

The House allows a half point bye in the last round of the Tuesday Night Fights for a good reason. Because of the exigencies of being a week night some of the younger players must leave early to go home and get in bed. Some live a good distance from the HOP. Some players must leave early to go to work.
When it comes to the weekend Swiss, and other, longer, tournaments, though, I am adamantly opposed to awarding a half point in the last round! The last round is the culmination of the tournament. It is the reason the tournament is played. Rewarding a player for NOT PLAYING the 'money round' is an abomination! It is far worse than the dreaded DH in baseball! I'm uncertain how the practice came about, but there oughta be a law against it!
Damir Studen offered an early draw to Wayne Christiansen in the third round Saturday night so that he could go home and rest. It would seem , after playing two games that day, it would be an appropriate time to take a half point bye. Many years ago I had to face the father of Curt Jones, a strong player in his own right, in the last round. I had been through the wringer in the fourth round, and it showed. Mr Jones had taken a half point bye and came in fresh as a daisey. I went down and didn't like it. As I discussed it with my opponent, he said that, at his age, he simply could not play a late game on Sat night and get enough rest to play two games on Sun. I asked why he had not taken his bye in the third round? That way he could play two games each day. He said he considered it, but thought it best to take the bye in order to be rested FOR THE LAST ROUND! Since that time, I have always considered it OK to take a half point bye in any of the first three rounds, but not the last two. If one must take a half point bye in the last two rounds, especially the last round, then why play? He said that I would understand when I got older. I've reached that stage and I've not changed how I feel...
Ben Francis took a half point bye in the third round to attend a party, and it showed in his last round game. If one plans on playing in a chess tournament, it would seem that one should focus on chess, and only chess!

Damir Studen (2195)-Ben Francis (2218) The Last Round of the PSO
The Damir Attack (from the scoresheet)

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.g3 Bg4 4.Bg2 c6 5.0–0 Nbd7 6.c3 e6 7.Re1 Bd6 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.e4 e5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Qc2 Nxf3+ 13.Nxf3 h6 14.h3 Bh5 15.Qb3 Qc7 16.c4 Nf6 17.Be3 Nd7 18.Nh4 Be7 19.Bf4 Bd6 20.Bxd6 Qxd6 21.g4 Bg6 22.Rad1 Qc7 23.Nxg6 fxg6 24.Re7 Rad8 25.c5+ Kh7 26.Qc3 Rf6 27.Qd2 Qc8 28.Rxd7 Rxd7 29.Qxd7 Qf8 30.Qd4 Rf4 31.Qe3 Rf7 32.Re1 1-0

The Viktor Korchnoi of Southern chess, Klaus Pohl, mentioned how gruelling it is to play in a weekend tournament at his age, saying, "Just look at the top boards." I told him that I've been noticing, for years, how the energy and stamina of the young shows at the end of a tournament. I can still recall how IM Boris Kogan, used to only playing one game a day in his native Russia, would walk around during the third round on Sat night, hands clasped behind his back, eyes bloodsot, shaking his head and muttering about "crazy Americans!"
Wayne Christiansen, who is eligible for the Senior, came with Klaus from the great state of SC. After his quick draw with Damir in round three, he had to wait at the House for Klaus to finish his game, in lieu of going back to the hotel to rest. He came to realize that he should not have accepted the draw, but explained it by saying that he gets up at o'dark thirty to go to work everyday, and by the late hour he can hardly think...Maybe he should consider that third round half point bye?
Alex King is a member of The Next Generation of fine players produced by the great state of TN.

Alex King (2072)-Wayne Christiansen (2100) Last Round of the PSO
Exchange Spanish

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d4 exd4 6.Qxd4 Qxd4 7.Nxd4 Bd7 8.Be3 0–0–0 9.Nd2 Ne7 10.0–0–0 Ng6 11.f4 f6 12.g3 c5 13.N4f3 Bc6 14.f5 Ne5 15.Nxe5 fxe5 16.g4 Bd6 17.h4 Rdf8 18.Rdf1 h6 19.Rf2 Kd7 20.Rfh2 Ke8 21.Kd1 b5 22.Ke2 c4 23.Rh3 Bb4 24.c3 Bd6 25.g5 h5 26.Rf1 Rf7 27.Rhf3 Bd7 28.R3f2 Rff8 29.g6 Be7 30.Bg5 Bc5 31.Rf3 Rhg8 32.Re1 Be7 33.Nf1 Bf6 34.Ke3 Ke7 35.Ng3 Rh8 36.Rf2 Bc6 37.Rd2 Rb8 38.Red1 Bxg5+? 39.hxg5 h4 40.f6+ gxf6 41.Nf5+ Ke6 42.Rd6+ 1-0

1 comment:

Brennan Price said...

I'm with you on late half-point byes. The UConn Chess Club does not permit them in their events (G/90, one game per week for 4-5 weeks).

The UConn events run as late as 11 p.m., but one of our young members still comes out for appetizers and sodas with us afterwards (make mine an oat soda).