Last Winter, I played in my first tournament at the Marshall Chess Club and I finished second. Since then, I have played in several other competitive events, my best finish being first place at the u1600 at the marshall. My game with howard and comments, after the jump….
Among all of the chess games I have notated though, there is one that I regret the most: losing to Howard Stern. How embarrassing! Of course, after the 22nd move in this game, I actually have a winning position, up a pawn, I should have played the superior 21. Bc1 and followed it with 22. Qg4, when the rest of the game is a simple positional grind. However, I “went in for complications,” which is another way of saying I blundered terribly by overvaluing my passed pawn and two pawn advantage, it seemed that losing the exchange would not be such a terrible drawback. What I overlooked though, was that he could force the exchange of queens with a mate threat two moves later, and then scoop up my passed pawn, and I am left in a lost ending. How frustrating. Of course, the opening wasn’t played flawlessly, I probably should have played f3 instead of g3, and with the white square bishops off the board my king would have been safe from the classic bxh3 sac had I played h3. It’s funny, this game was played less than a year ago, but looking over it now I can see that i have improved immensely, so much so that I can’t even imagine it was me making these terrible moves. Overall though, I can’t be too displeased with my play at the time, even if I did blunder. The New York Times reported that Stern has been getting training from Dan Heisman, and obviously he is hardly a patzer- last month’s chess life featured him on the front cover!- (thank God they didn’t include this game in that issue- I would have dreaded seeing this in print!). I have to say, in person he was actually a very, very pleasant chess player. We shook hands, (which surprised my friend Alex who listens to his show and tells me that Stern is a germaphobe), and exchanged some simple pleasantries before and after the game. I think it is a good thing that a high profile american celebrity has fallen in love with the royal game, someone with his media clout could do a lot for the game of chess. Who knows, perhaps he could even organize a tournament at a gentlemen’s club and bring his two worlds together! lol.