Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Supernationals IV

We had a great time at the Supernationals. The Opryland resort was quite a spectacle and was much larger than I had imagined. Richie competed in the K-1 Open section, but as a Pre-K he was at a bit of a disadvantage versus the field. He managed to garner 4.0/7.0 but he lost his first two rounds which meant that all of his remaining games were against lower rated opponents. That was a little unfortunate because I was hoping he'd get a chance to play some stronger players. I was a little surprised at how well his opponents rated around 300 to 600 played. To their credit they appeared to be playing much stronger than their ratings suggested they would. I guess most of the kids do some amount of preparation leading into the event and also they've had the benefit of a full academic year to strengthen their skills. Some are probably under-rated because they don't play in rated events that often as well. This seems to be less of a factor early in the year but towards the end there's more of a chance it seems that players will be mis-rated.My main goal for the trip was to spend some quality father-son time with Richie so we spent the time between rounds watching cartoons (Hikaru no Go, of course!), wandering the site, getting snacks, etc. rather than playing chess or preparing. I suppose if I were more serious I would have made more effort to make sure he was well rested and I would have asked him to play games or do tactics, but I felt it was more important this trip to make it more play and less work.

We did enter one of the simultaneous events given by Grandmaster Yuri Shulman. This turned out to be a nice experience. Richie and I had a little "last longer" wager which he won. He played a great sicilian with some nice thematic maneuvers that gave him surprisingly good counterplay against a Shulman's kingside assault before he lost to some tactics. Whereas I bungled the opening of my game and ended up being completely tied up and strategically lost by move 12 I'd say.

We played several games of Plunder Chess between rounds and Richie really took a liking to it. Of course we ended up coming home with a set. I don't really object to chess variants in general. I think they help in some ways because they force you to think creatively because you can't rely on the crutch of known patterns.

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