Marshall U1800 Slips Through My Fingers Again!

This morning I wasn’t fully primed for chess, and I’m certain that Cameron Hull who was working at Glasslands till 5:30 am wasn’t quite in tip top form either, though we both managed to slam some ‘spro and tacos at Whirlybird (Mango and Goat taco for the win!!) before popping over the bridge to finish with 3 points each in this month’s U1800 at the Marsh. It hurts- I was one game away from a nice prize check and finishing with a whole slew of rating points. As it was, I gained 20 points (1729), Cameron gained 41 points (1527) and Boris was the big winner gaining 53 rating points (1676). As you know- Boris and I have a bit of a friendly wager in our race to 2000: the first one to achieve this magic number shall sip from a bottle of bruichladdich on the other’s dime.

In other news- the elusive Jeffrey Barke stopped by the club for a chat – though he didn’t play, it seemed he was toying with the idea of getting back into tournament chess. Jeffrey Barke, you will recall, is a bit like the Sasquatch of the NYC chess scene: Sightings are rare, photos often blurry, and his existence has been debated.

In any case, I didn’t help my cause any by losing my last game. I wish I had some sort of explanation or justification for why I chose an ending of knights versus bishops. Somewhat mystically, my engine calls the position equal around move 46, when I stopped notating and fell into time trouble. It’s strange, but I actually felt quite confident throughout this ending, right up until it was clear I had gone horribly wrong moving quickly. Naturally, the bishop pair just affords so much more practical winning chances than the knight pair in such an ending, so while my engine may see a drawish continuation based on lots of difficult to see knight tours, I’m pretty confident I could manage to lose this game 9 times out of 10 over the board now that I consider just how clumsy knights are compared to a coordinated prelate pair.

This tournament has escaped me for the last time- Saturday, November 3rd- first place will be mine!