Last night I visited the Arlington Chess Club (VA), and played a ladder game against another B player. I’ll get to the game in a moment.
We had some informal discussion of the “5 second delay” rule in game-time control settings, which usually starts in the last 5 minutes of the clock.
There is a general feeling that the rule rewards players who have managed their time badly until the last 5 minutes. If you can make every move in 5 seconds, the clock never advances. Typically, if you have a won position there is much less chance of blowing it, so there is more emphasis on playing well in the early parts of the game than on “coming from behind” for a ninth-inning walkoff, so to speak. That could mean that there is more value in playing sound openings systems. Maybe a 2-second delay would be more desirable. And cheaper electronic clocks (and old manual clocks like the Benko’s, popular in the 1960s) don’t offer the delays.
When clubs have action tournaments (3 rounds in an evening or 5 rounds on a Saturday) it is difficult to get all games in one round finished. I think a two second delay is better. It is true that at a Chess for Charity even in 2016 I had two opponents get into time trouble and not handle the 5 second rule well. I won those games, one of them setting a trap with a back rank mate just before he might have forfeited, when he had been winning a few moves before.
Last night I had Black and played a Grunfeld.
D4 Nf6 2. C4 g6 3. Nc3 b5 4. E3 (not critical) Bg7 5. Nf3 OO 6. Bd3 a6 7. Cxd 8. Nxd4 8. E4 (why not in one move?) NxNc3 9, bxc3 c5 10. Be3 Nc6 11 rc1 (this could leave the a pawn hanging to a Qa5 check, but it is often very risk for Black to try to win a pawn this way; but it seems to be a blunder in the center anyway) cxd4 12 cxd4 Nxd4 13 00 Bg4 14 h3 Nxf3 ch 15 gcf Bxh3 White has apparently blundered two pawns, but it isn’t as easy for Black as it looks 16 Re1 Rc8 17, Qb3 (where the white Queen usually belongs in the Grunfeld, to set up threats on black’s g6 with the white Bishop) b5 18. RxRc8 BxRc8 (intending to give the Bishop more scope and possibly attacking on the diagonal) 19 Re1 Qc7 20 Rc1 Qe5 21. F4 .
Now should Black play Qh5 (as I did) intending to check and chase the W king, or play Qb2 and force a queen trade 2 pawns ahead. That’s probably best, although White’s rook is a lot more active and can make the ending harder than it looks. Instead, I tried to attack and in the ensuing scramble overlooked the Bxg6 threat and blundered the two pawns back. Then I won the QRP but then lost two more pawns.. Finally we wound up in an ending came where my King was more active and won his extra pawn back. I was able to lose a move to get the opposition and win the K+P v K+P ending, but my opponent missed a chance to do the same.
This was like a sloppy see-saw baseball game. My blundering on the Bxg6 was like a pitcher’s hanging a slider right over the heart of the plate. He hit it out of the park. But several more reciprocal blunders happened. This game belonged to the bullpen, but neither “team” ‘s relievers were very effective. This was like pulling out a game on the road in the top of the ninth after having blown a big lead earlier and winning a one-runner by finally hanging on.
Maybe the Washington Nationals need Magnus Carlsen as their closer. He is an outstanding athlete. Donald Trump admires him. Why not have a public simulataneous exhibition (shown on the scoreboard) as a pregame show at Nationals Park or maybe Mets CitiField?
(Posted: Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 1 PM EDT)
Update: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10 AM
In the picture above, I am playing Black (Black is moving away from me). if White to move, Black wins (by zugwang).
Note the lesson video above.