April 19, 2010

Today's news and olds

I wish to show more of what the ChessFlash viewer can do. This is a repost of an older post of mine from very early in this blog's infancy, with one crucial addition.
Now, having gotten that out of the way and preserved the corrected analysis for posterity (thanks, Bobby!), I'll move to the next bit of news, that being that a deer was seen dead by the roadside in Norton Hill westbound on Route 81 this morning. It looked like a pretty professional hit to me. (ba-dump-bump!) Thanks, I'm here all week.

In other developments, I took advantage of a slow work day (we've had a few of those lately) to do some planning of my time-off schedule for the rest of the year (note that I didn't say 'vacation'). Most of it has to do with a tasty-looking bunch of tournaments later this year. Last summer, there was a stretch of nearly two solid months in which I played out of town at a major weekend Swiss just about every week. I think it helped my training, but it was grueling. This year, I think I may be able to spread the activity out more evenly. Here's what I have in mind:

May 14-16 New York State Open, L. George, NY
May 28-30 Massachusetts Open, Leominster, MA
Jul 1-5 World Open, Philadelphia, PA

Believe it or not, I've never played in it before; but I want to get good experience, so I think I ought to this time. And maybe I'll be able to afford it!

Jul 23-25 Bradley Open, Windsor Locks, CT
Aug 6-8 Northeast Open, Stamford, CT
Aug 13-15 Continental Open, Sturbridge, MA
Sep 3-6 New York State Championship, Albany, NY
Oct 7-11 Continental Class Championship, Arlington, VA

I'm not quite sold on this one yet, but it does look intriguing. Among other factors to consider, two big nine-round events in one year might be too much for me to take on.

Also, I'm not even sure which section I'd want to play in. There doesn't seem to be a restriction on people playing up--if my rating is 2100 or so by October, I'd prefer to play the Master section if allowed. This tournament is going to be similar to Foxwoods the Philadelphia Open in one detail: top section nine rounds, all others seven. I'm not traveling that far for only seven rounds of chess, just as I refuse to drive more than 3 hours for a five-round event.

Speaking of travel, this is where the real problem with this Continental Class Ch. might lie for me: how to get there and back most practically? I'd really like to take the train, but I'd have to burn an extra vacation day to do that, since if I play the last round in full, that would take the game potentially until about 10 pm on the last day. Sadly, the last Amtrak from DC Union Station to Albany seems to leave at about 6:30 pm that evening, and the next one after that looks like about 3 the next morning. Obviously, if I took the train, I wouldn't have to drive for about 7 hours one-way and could relax a bit before and after the tournament, maybe even work on chess during the ride. I looked at taking the bus on the return trip, and those schedules get a little freaky as well. Besides, a laptop on Greyhound? Hmmm. Dunno. (I like the thought of taking Megabus, but I'd have to transfer in NYC with a couple hours' layover.) So there really seems to be no good way to get it done! Why does it have to be so hard to travel in this country? And this is the Eastern seaboard, at that. Terrible. (Yes, Germany spoiled me.)

I suppose the easiest thing would be to just chuck in the additional vacation day, suck up the extra night in the hotel, and get my train ride both ways, so there.

And then there's the small problem of rating... can I get close enough to 2200 in real knowledge to make a contest of it if I play up? 'Cuz like I said, I ain't schleppin' myself all that way for no seven-round tournament. Anyways...

Nov 12-14 Eastern Chess Congress, Stamford, CT
Nov 26-28 National Chess Congress, Philadelphia, PA (man, all these congresses...)
Dec 26-31 I get this week off, so... pick your poison.... what's going to happen with the Empire State Open this year? Maybe go play at the Marshall? We'll see.

This was an intellectually challenging activity, truly. That's largely because picking tournaments that might be good to go to is relatively simple, but the trick is figuring out how much of my limited vacation time I can spend on each of them. I had to figure out things like where I could shave off half-days and bank them for later use, which wasn't so easy. The above schedule, if followed to the letter, is going to use nearly all of my paid time off for the rest of the year, so the planning has to be done carefully.

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