Second childhood? Fantasies of not-yet-over-the-hill-ness? Sheer hubris? For whatever reason, after 19 years of inactivity (and a few months of practice against computers) ^z came back to the chess arena in late 1990 and played in 20 official tournaments during the next two and a half years. He met scores of nice (and similarly delusional) opponents in the course of achieving 50 wins, 34 losses, and 7 draws --- and pulling his USCF rating up into Class A, a long-time fantasy he had held since youth. (If you see your name in these notes, please drop me a line and let me know how your chess is going! But beware: I have the moves on file for all of these games, and will not hesitate to share them with you.)
- Rockville Jewish Community Center (JCC) Tornado (25 November 1990): Not a pleasant come-back --- three straight losses in the first three games versus Master Geoff Mckenna and then-Class C players Philip J. Riccobono & Ray Hardy. The sudden-death game in 60 minute pace was unexpectedly stressful. ^z redeemed himself slightly with a final round win over Jerry Cline (Class A or B). The 1-3 result put him near the bottom of the 24 player crosstable.
- Rockville JCC Action (23 December 1990): If playing a full game in 60 minutes (thinking time per player) was so disconcerting, who but a fool would try a G/30 pace? Yet strangely enough, ^z's performance improved: in a field of 16 players he won 4, lost 2, and took home $20 as first in the under-1900 rating bracket. With an entry fee of $12 that was obviously far below minimum wage, but no matter --- he was hooked! Wins over Wayne Mclaughlin (Class C at that time), Mehran Diranbaigyzand (A), Rochelle Payzer (B), and Frank Knarr (D) compensated for the psychic scars inflicted in losses to Mark Larzelere (Expert), and Jan Linders (A).
- Rockville JCC Tornado (27 January 1991): A level result this time, 2 wins and 2 losses at a G/60 pace (sudden-death play with one hour per player). This tournament began with a glorious victory over Philip Collier, a Master --- ^z's first win against a player rated above 2200, and quite a psychological thrill. (In fairness, Phil may have been sick that day; he withdrew before the end of the tourney.) The only other ^z triumph occurred in the last-round over young Charles Gelman, then rated only Class B but soon to become far stronger. Before that the elder Gelman brother Geoff (a strong Class A, and rising fast) beat ^z, as did Senior Master Boris Zisman. ^z sprang a prepared Riga variation of the Ruy Lopez against Boris, who solved all the problems it posed in real time, as his 2400+ rating promised he would.
- Laurel Colonial Chess Club (LCCC) G/30 (12 April 1991): This Friday evening experiment turned out well for ^z, who won 2, drew 1, and came in first of 6 players to capture the $15 first prize (though the entry fee was $5, so profits were not as exorbitant as they may have seemed at first glance). He beat Frank Knarr (who had moved up into Class C since their previous encounter) and Mark Lynch (B) in a game where both sides got into severe time trouble. A last-round draw was agreed to with Mike Zimmet (C); ^z had a won ending but not enough time to succeed in demonstrating it, and the half point guaranteed him the overall tournament victory.
- Rockville JCC Action (28 April 1991): This outing was less successful, with 2 wins, 3 losses, and a draw resulting in a middle-of-the-pack finish among a field of 17. ^z managed to again beat Frank Knarr (C) and also won against Ed Gerritson (unrated), but only eked out a draw with Chris Leech (C) and lost most heinously to Master Greg Acholonu, Expert Jefferson Teller, and A Class Glenn Flodstrom.
- LCCC G/30 Quad (3 May 1991): A disastrous Friday evening in Laurel --- three straight losses to Master Richard Benjamin, Tournament Director Alan Beadle (A), and Jeffrey Crook (A), to finish fourth out of four players in the group. Ugh!
- LCCC G/30 Swiss (10 May 1991): One week later, how much was changed! In a field of eight, this time ^z won 2 (vs. José Castanos (unr) & Ed Gerritson (unr.)) and lost 1 (to Master Frank Gomez) to emerge in first place among the Under-2000 rated crew --- and garnered a big $15 prize (less $5 entry fee).
- LCCC G/30 Swiss (17 May 1991): This week, Fortune's smile was far fainter. A win (vs. Dan Quigley (A)), a draw (vs. Ed Gerritson (unr.)), and a loss (vs. Alan Kline (A)) added up to a three-way tie for second to fourth place among the six players present --- and a less-than-stellar $3 share of the pot.
- LCCC G/30 Quad (24 May 1991): Much better! ^z took first place ($15) in his group with wins over Alan Beadle (A) and Ed Gerritson (unr.) plus a draw with David Porter (B). Tournament Director Beadle played a risky Bird's Opening which quickly disintegrated. He explained that he had been awakened early that morning by the sound of running water, a minor flood in his house from a broken toilet. When asked how to become a Class A player, Alan advised, "Start as a Master and go down!"
- DC Action (G/30) (1 June 1991): This experiment in a new venue, on the campus of American University, was a wash with 3 wins and 3 losses, at a cost of $25 to compete in a field of 78. ^z won against John Ross (D), the youthful Sungshin Hong (D), and most notably vs. Louis Arana (A, maybe even Expert). But he succumbed to defeat at the hands of Experts Greg Kearse, André Sergeon, and John Macarthur. The bottom line was a rating gain of perhaps 20 points.
- Rockville JCC G/30 (25 August 1991): Another 3-3 balanced result in a tournament of 25 players. Wins over the 9-year-old Robert Sinden (unr.), the 12-year-old Ira Rothberg (D), and Richard Allen (B) were compensated for by losses to three Experts: Dave Hurchalla, Dave Hulvey, and Mark Coleman.
- American University G/30 (29 August 1991): Back at AU in DC on a Thursday evening, the dismal 1-2 score that ^z achieved was good enough to finish in a tie for fourth place out of the six competitors, and as "Best Under 2000" to take back $4 of the $6 entry fee. Losses to Master Alan Anderson and Mike Maguire (B) were followed by a last-round win against Scott West (B) in a wild sudden-death race against the clock which ^z won by about 15 seconds.
Thursday, December 14, 2000 at 05:52:51 (EST) = Datetag20001214
(see PostaLite, TexasChess, and Chess1991To1993)
TopicPersonalHistory - TopicRecreation
(correlates: RegressionToTheMean, Chess1991To1993, Ninjas vs. Pirates, ...)