Thank you Jennifer Acon!

by admin on September 6, 2009

When I signed up for the U.S. Senior Open, I was hoping that somebody would card me and say, “You can’t possibly be fifty!” But for two days no one expressed the least bit of surprise at my presence, and I was getting depressed. I guess I really do look like an old geezer. (Sigh.)

But then Jennifer Acon came along and made my day! I was talking with her after round four, and she said, “You must be here for the master tournament, right?” Her reasoning was as follows:

  1. I look too young to be 50 years old.
  2. There are three other tournaments running concurrently: the U.S. Women’s Open, the Oklahoma Masters Invitational (a round-robin for eight masters, including Chess Lecture’s own Bryan Smith), and finally a regular swiss for anyone who doesn’t qualify for the others. (Of course, that’s mostly local folk.)
  3. Obviously I wasn’t here for the Women’s Open (although Jennifer was), and I probably wouldn’t have come all this way for the swiss.
  4. Ergo, I must be here for the Invitational.

So thank you, Jennifer Acon, both for thinking that I look too young to be 50 and for thinking that I was invited to the masters tournament!

Today I did a little bit better than yesterday. I won in the third round, in a game I was pleased with (as mentioned in my last post). In the evening round I was paired against Dale Sharp, who used to live in Columbus, Ohio and knows a lot of the people I used to play with there. He moved away in 1986, just three years before I arrived. He now lives in upstate New York.

We had a wild game that was full of mistakes. I think that each of us was completely winning on at least two separate occasions, and so it was only fair that it ended up being a draw. I did get in time pressure first, but I was able to “live” on the 30-second increment, and a funny thing happened. He had a completely winning endgame, along with an 11 minutes to 1 minute advantage on the clock, but I started to sense that he was getting flustered. He was trying to find a line that was absolutely clear and that wouldn’t allow me any counterplay, but he couldn’t do it. By the time we agreed to a draw he was down to 2 minutes and I still had 1 minute, and I probably actually stood better, but I was happy to escape with half a point.

On the top boards, Christiansen, Gulko, Bradford and Kaufman all drew, so they are all still tied with 3.5 out of 4. One “outsider” has joined them, a class-A player (!) named Michael Schemm. He gets fed to the lions tomorrow — specifically, he is paired against Christiansen. I’ll bet this is the biggest game of Schemm’s life. For Christiansen it is probably a lucky break, because according to the ratings he should have an easy win against Schemm, while his other competitors will all face masters.

As for the other tournaments, Iryna Zenyuk and ?? Saheli lead the U.S. Women’s Open with 3.5 while Jennifer Acon is alone in third at 3. (There are 16 players in the women’s tournament.) In the masters’ invitational, Darwin Yang is the surprise leader with 3 out of 4, while Bryan Smith, Michael Langer, and Conrad Holt all have 2.5.

Lots of exciting action tomorrow!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Freddy September 7, 2009 at 7:43 am

Always good to hear you look yonger then you are.. 🙂 Specialy from a lady…

And as a young one between the oldies you are doing quit well.. impresive score.

And i think some blitz playing can help you a bit with the time troubles.. loosing on time is not fun..

I played a lot of simultane games with the young ones wen i was teaching them. That was quit good to learn to find good moves in less time


Michael A Schemm December 31, 2010 at 2:22 am

Actually, if I had to pick a game of my live, it would be beating Yasser Seirawan in an Idaho tournament when he was young and “only” rated in the 2300’s. I also have 2 draws out of three games with Arthur Bisguier


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