Saturday, September 25, 2010

10th Annual Chess-In-The-Parks

Richie played in the 10th Annual Chess-In-The-Parks event this weekend. This is an annual outdoors quick chess tournament. Before I go further I have to offer kudos to chess-director-extraordinaire Shaun Smith at Chess-in-the-Schools and his team for putting on a splendid event under challenging conditions. Several hundred players participated in five sections, I think. Richie played in the Intermediate section which boasted over 80 players (both youth and adults) rated from 1000 to around 1300. It's a credit to Shaun and his team that he is able to consistently deliver high quality chess tournaments (which are free to enter due to the generosity of the CIS foundation) that run smoothly and efficiently. This event was no exception. New York scholastic players are certainly lucky for the opportunity to play in his nearly 30 events per scholastic year.

This particular tournament was a G/10 format which is slightly unusual time control because at 10 minutes per side it's not pace that anyone really practices often. It seems that most players are used to either blitz or slow chess, but this in-between time control (which is even shorter than the popular 15-minute ICC time control) seems a little odd.

Nevertheless, I had a suspicion that Richie would be in his element at this speed since quite honestly I think he plays at nearly full strength in his G/15 games (that's not really a good thing), except he plays them a touch too fast, making G/10 practically ideal. It's a very natural playing rhythm for him (whereas I think at five minutes the quality suffers quite a bit).

One nice thing about a 10-20 minute game (total) is that you can actually watch it and try to figure out what moves you would make so it's an ideal "spectator" speed.

Have a look at this final round game to see what I mean. I haven't analyzed it in depth, but while watching it live, I was really challenged to find the "right" moves and plans throughout the game and impressed by both players. Though this final game wasn't for a big prize or even for a high placing, it was exciting nonetheless and features several swings in momentum, which ultimately went Richie's way. I thought Richie did a good job in this game and at the tournament in general in searching for "even better" moves and remaining defensively vigilant. I would characterize his play as "creatively aggressive" and that seemed to be enough to win against most of the players in the class and time-control. (Of course that can tend to backfire at a slower time control when opponents have more time to work out the tactical nuances of the position better).

It's been about two years since the last video I posted, so it's interesting to see how much has changed in the interim.

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