The first two rounds of the U.S. Open Chess Championship have not gone as I expected. For a big open tournament with hundreds of players I expected initially to alternate between opponents who were too easy and too tough. Then the later rounds would be closer.
After winning a hard fought first round against a class C player, I expected to play someone tougher. I wanted to play someone tougher, but my pairing showed that I was playing a Class D player. My friend Al teased me about that by saying, "Maybe you have a chance."
At the US Open they are running some national scholastic tournaments concurrently with the main event. Some kids are playing in both tournaments. The person who showed up at my table looked like he is nine or ten, and he was carrying a trophy almost as tall as he was that said "Elementary Championship First Place."
The problem with playing kids in a tournament is that you don't know what kind of opponent you are really facing. The low rating might not mean anything because kids often improve very rapidly. He could be taking lessons from a Grandmaster. He could be the next Bobby Fischer. Utah produced a number of child prodigies who used to beat me regularly. I have lost to enough children to know that you can't take them for granted.
So I was curious as to why I was playing this kid after winning my first round. I figured that the kid must scored an upset in the first round, so I checked the wall chart and I was right. He beat a 1984 player in the first round. Someone I know. Someone rated barely below me. At this point I was thinking "Holy crap. I've got a tiger by the tail." He really could be the next Bobby Fischer.
The bottom line is that he played very well but not well enough. I won. For a young kid he showed intense concentration, which is how most prodigies play.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
We had 15 to 17 players show up last night. I lost count.
Normally I try to "direct traffic" a little at the chess club. For example, if I see a couple of people standing around, I likely will suggest that they play each other. Sometimes people don't play because they are not aware that there is a chess set available. Likewise, I might suggest that two similarly strength players start a game.
However, there seems to a be a magic number, which is around 12 players, where things suddenly become chaotic and I lose any sense of control. That's not a problem, but things happen more organically, which is to say randomly. I don't even know for sure how many we had last night, because people were coming and going at all times
For example, I try to speak with new players and get contact information for them. However, we had three new players last night, and I only had a chance to speak to two of them.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
I watched this video twice to try to understand it. I will probably watch it a third time. The math is way beyond my level. If I were to work hard enough, maybe I could learn the mathematics, but it wouldn't be worth the effort.
Since I like physics so much, maybe I should have made that my profession. However, I think that I like computer programming even more. In the very early days of micro-computers, back in the 1970's, I seemed to have a talent for programming in the same way I had a talent for chess.
I think that my interest in physics comes from wanting to understand how the universe works. However, there are subtleties in the physical universe that are too deep for anybody but a physicist to understand.
Saturday, July 7, 2018
A long time ago some coworkers told me about this guy named John Coffey. The story I heard is that he woke up drunk one morning and didn't make the trip on the Titanic. Somebody asked me if he is an an ancestor of mine, but it is impossible since his lifespan overlaps the life of my grandfather. You probably would have to go back many generations to find a connection, if any exists.