Glorious Successes and Dismal Failures

08-03-98 Mark Kaprielian
Just back from the Bradley Open in Connecticut

Attendees from the MCC that I can recall, were:

John Curdo, Sam Scott, Philip and Christopher Lee, Ross Eldridge, Mark McMahon, Jason Gellert and myself.   

Of note, Sam Scott finished with 4 points which was good enough for a two way tie for 2nd and 3rd. (there was one 4 1/2).  Christopher Lee had a good score going into the last two rounds but I don't know how he finished up.

I had two games that were very interesting experiences for me.  I went into my round three game with 2 points.  I wasn't feeling tired at all but in retrospect, I seemed to be very "out of it".  Ross Eldridge whom I traveled with to the event went over my game with me afterwards and pointed out many moves which, upon him pointing them out to me, I quickly said, of course, why didn't I see that.  It was all things I know but just didn't do.  What made the game really nasty for me was that I fought back from a bad decision to Queen side castle where I was being very hard pressed to not be destroyed to a point where I came up with a very nice, pretty much forced, 5 move sequence that would put me on the offensive for the first time.  Well, my long established biggest personal foible that I'm struggling to overcome, came back to haunt me in this game (remember, I said I was not with it though).  What this foible is, is that I calculate out a forcing line and check really well on the options along the way.  Then I sit back and watch it unfold.  The problem is I don't continue to extend the line into the future. So, we get to move four of my line and everything is looking pretty good.  Along the way he had to move a piece to one of several locations that would not affect my line being carried out.  At this point I notice that not only do I have what I had considered a good attacking possibility that I had planned for, I have on the next move a perpetual check situation.  I figure, "hey, lets see what he does to parry my attack initiated by my move 5 and depending on what he does, I'll opt for the perpetual or go for the win.  Well, If I had any brains at all and had looked at the board, I would have seen that the piece he had moved out of the way during my wonderful line was about to capture a pawn and strongly threaten to win another.  POOF, my perpetual disappears and I've lost the game. 

The second game that was interesting was my last round game.  This was a brutal and very exciting game.  It went almost the entire six hours.  I was pressing and pressing from about move 8 and flirting around a mate that he kept managing to elude.  He trades his Queen for a Knight to avoid a mate and I continue to press.   The position is a bit broken so he starts to get some play as I regroup my attack.   Then, the tables turn and I'm trying to protect against to mating squares each delivering mate by a different piece.  What a mess.  I manage to hold off by some fancy footwork with my Bishop ready to take off the first piece he tries to mate with.  It looks like I have an out but I might drop a Rook because it's just sitting in the wrong place several moves down the road.  I keep looking and looking so I go for a Rook sack that might give me perpetual check or let me knock off one or both of the mating pieces.  He goofs and I get off one piece free but then he comes up with a different attack and I'm in trouble again.  We end up trading off all the pieces and going into a pretty drawish looking endgame.  I decide to play on to see if he knows his stuff.  He messes up and It looks like I've got him but I give it back to him.   Draw.   A win here would have put in a three way tie for 3rd place and in the money.  

Overall, I'm pleased with my performance.  I've been working on improving my concentration for several months now.  While it is still a battle at times, I feel like I've finally moved  to a new level of play.  I'm concentrating much better now and my previous, natural inclination to decide quickly and get on with it mostly gone.

Ross Eldridge who also observed my play at the World open said he's noticed my play improve.  He made an interesting observation.  Of my last three tournaments, my results have been as follows:

   World Open   5.5 out of 9 games,   followed by
   MCC July       3    out of 4 games,   followed by
   Bradley         3.5 out of 5 games

       This makes for   12 points out of 18, a 2/3rds performance. 

I feel like I'm ready to start crunching people.  It's about time.  You better watch out.


  Chester a/k/a Steve Young (USCF 1704)
  I won the 58th Rhode Island Pawn Eater tournament June 13th, 1998, (4/SS 60/1) with a 4-0 score, good for sole first place. 

I beat Klaus Pohl (2284) in Round 3 and Waqar Tajuddin (2177) in Round 4.  I was ahead of Klaus the whole game positionally, although the material was even for probably 40-50 moves.   I even started with a time disadvantage because they started the round before I got back from Burger King.  I My one and only previous encounter with Klaus ended in a draw, so I knew he would take me more seriously this time.  The last round game (between the only two 3-0 people) went into sudden death and we both had under 5 minutes left at the end.  This is my specialty, of course. He had good drawing chances, but he was playing the Mass. Blitz Co-Champion!  In the wild scramble, he fell apart, missed what may have been a win (haven't analyzed it yet!) allowing me to give up my rook to get a queen, which promptly checked and forked his king and knight, then took the knight with check forking his king and rook, and that was the end. Youch! I love blitz.

(I also qualified for the "Under 1750" prize, but of course I didn't get it.)