This weekend I ventured down to Philadelphia to do battle in the Philly Open, U2000 section. My overall performance wasn’t stellar, I managed to lose two games in which I was winning quite simply, but such is chess. I did gain a bunch of rating points though, bringing my live rating to 1834, just 166 points shy of 2000!
Obviously, I trekked out to south philly to visit pat’s king of steaks to see what the big deal is with philly cheesesteaks. Honestly, it tastes like it looks. Depending on your penchants, it’s a perfect example what’s wonderful/disgusting about American sensibilities when it comes to food. My personal conclusion more or less mirrors what I imagine Edouardo Raspelli might say if he tasted a cheesesteak, though more noteworthy about this corner of town are the people. My friend and I stood out like sore thumbs due to our combined number of neck tatoos: zero. All in all I’d say avoid south Philly if possible.
The coffee situation in Philly, however, is far from hopeless. After suffering through an “espresso” at starbucks the first morning we were there, I managed to find a high end third wave coffee shop on Walnut where one could get a properly pulled cortado from a synesso machine, together with my favorite pastry on Earth: the canelé. Needless to say, if you’re ever in philly you should check this place out. The baristas have hilarious period beards and would fit in with the Williamsburg crowd as well as Nathan Whipple.
I did manage to play some Chess while in town as well, though none of my wins are that interesting and my two losses feature eye-popping blunders, the following is likely the most interesting game that I played. After 15.Bxe4, White will lose a piece no matter what. I think that my opponent likely missed the idea of my queen sortie with the threat of coming to g2- hitting the e4 square as well as the loose rook on h1. The move 16…Rd8 was made so that Rxd6 would be available if the knight were to come to rest there, though 16…0-0-0 would have also been good. After winning the piece, the game continued for some time, though I mostly just sang songs in my head to keep from falling asleep as there was nothing left to think about at the board.
Perhaps my least interesting game was the following, in which my opponent simply blundered after I applied on a little bit of pressure to the kingside.