Monday, February 25, 2008

Performance Anxiety

wow, 165 comments for the last post. as matt phelps/ globular pointed out to me, "just for posting a few photos"... thanks everyone!!
pretty thrilling to be in ny times.

ok, beginner's mind. no worries. i'm all alone here.

let's start by mentioning how incredible amy winehouse is and how I could listen to back to black a million times.

inspiration is important.

amateur team east--- was pretty fun. I roomed with Abby Marshall, who is the coolest 16 year old ever. It's constantly a surprise to me that I don't feel the age difference when i hang out with her, but this is the beautiful thing about chess, right, that it enables people to be friends across normal barriers of age, gender, class, etc.? I was talking to an old student, Anna Ginzburg, and someone peripheral asked if it wasn't strange to make this adjustment from teacher-student to friend, but chess I think enables this. I remember noticing this most acutely with Aleks Wojt., who most people remember as an obnoxious drunk, but I found his stories pretty amusing. Anyway, things I admire about Abby:
1. She's remarkably chill and easy-going, but simultaneously tastefully discerning.
2. She beat Nakamura at bughouse but geniunely seems to think it's neither surprising nor remarkable.

Change of topic: let's look at some funny positions from kids' games.

Nicolas Polanco (IS 318)- Jiri Jranko
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 b5 7. e5 de 8. fe Nd5 9. Qf3 Bb7

What to do? We'll make it a quiz and answers are at the end.

OK, the next position is not a child's, but from a teacher at my school who comes with us sometimes to tournaments. He was the first guy from the school who I worked with, and, while he is an excellent trip planner, he's less ... focused (just one s because the stress is on the first sylllable?) when he plays chess. I have a very strong memory of an early game of his that I went over, from Amateur Team in maybe 2001, in which he had some position like below, except with many more pieces.

So there is a lot more going on, but the point is that this guy is white and has the black king completely shut out of play. He moves Rb3-b8, so I ask him why. It's a pretty standard question for me-- I like to know why and I like the kids to expect the question. His response? "I was afraid that later I would forget the pawn was defending my rook and I would move it and then the king would take my rook." How incredible is this? The man is making a prophylactic move against his own imagined future stupidity. I just didn't know what to say. So this year he is fourth board on a team rated 1400ish, and he's playing a 1600.
Lauris Murnieks (1100) - Alex Bary (1500)

1.Nf3 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c5 4.0–0 Nc6 5.d3 Qb6 6.Nbd2 Bd7 7.e4 Nce7 8.c3 d4 9.Nc4 Qc7 10.Bf4

Check this out: the 1600 rated opponent plays 10... Qd8. How crazy is that? It's barely a question, but the answer is at the end.

Ok and finally a reasonable problem:

Sasha Jouraview- Markel Brown (IS 318) 13....?
Amusing note about this kid: he won the k-8 Under 1000 section last year despite falling asleep in one of his games. He's one of my favorite students: always cheerful, interested, and genuinely trying to improve.

Look at his eyes: doesn't he look somehow wise beyond his years?

Gratuitous photo to cover answers:

1. 10.e6! fxe6 (10...f6 11.Ndxb5 axb5 12.Bxb5+ Bc6 13.Bxc6+ Nxc6 14.Nxd5) 11.Nxe6 (11.Qh5+) 11...Qb6 (11...Qd6 12.Nf4 Nxf4 13.Qxb7 Qc6 14.Qxc6+ Nxc6 15.Bxf4) 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qe5 Nf6 (13...Rg8 14.Nxd5) 14.Nc7+

2. Nd6#

3. 13... g5! 14.Nxd7 [14.Bxg5 Nxe5] 14...gxf4 15.Nde5 fxg3 16.hxg3 -+

So what else? I visited Greg in Philly for a couple days. He taught me the English and Accelerated Dragon.. I think I'm gonna switch. As much as I love the Sveshnikov, I always lose all my games....

I bought a cat playground for my cats... don't think I'm a crazy old spinster here, please, I know how it looks..... but I just figured it would provide me with endless amusement...

Here's a headline about my school:

The article originally appeared in the New York Spanish daily El Diario, but they don't have an online index I could understand.

We've been reading Romeo and Juliet, so I showed my class the Di Caprio/ Danes 1996 version today-- that movie truly is an English teacher's godsend. I fastforward through the violent/sexy bits, ok, but really what a great job they did. It epitomizes the whole concept of contemporary. Although I think Danes was a weak link.

I'm going to Sturbridge next weekend to play... small consolation for the fact that Foxwoods doesn't coincide with spring break for me this year and thus is out. But I will be at all 3 (4) scholastic nationals this year: elementary, junior high, high school and girls'.


Granny O'Doul said...

Nice smothered mate by your student but with all due respect to his opponent, I don't think he should play another tourney till he's had two years of study with Roman.

Anonymous said...

I don't think ur students should be allowed on same team at nationals, clear violation of the spirit of the rule that only top 4 scores count. U can bring 30 kids and then get 4/30 while other schools only have 6 kids. said...

Thanks for sharing the games on your blog.
I enjoyed the 'mini' quizzes.

Anonymous said...

Is that GM Richards with you?

Anonymous said...

"Focused" is correct. Brava!

Elizabeth Vicary said...

In the flesh ;)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Ms. Vicary, thank you for sharing those games. I found them to be very interesting. It's easy to see how dedicated your students must be and how lucky they are to have such a great coach. I wish my kids had the same dedication about studying chess.
Also, I wanted to participate in your polls, but I think the last one about your blog is unfair. It would depend on how long you and Shabalov have been together and how serious the relationship is. It's too subjective to be poll material, in my opinion.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Oh, he suggested the poll question.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...yes. The brunette look is a step up from platinum blonde.

Anonymous said...

If I get an opportunity to publish another article (looking doubtful now that Chess Life is cutting pages to save $), I plan on crediting one or another move in analysis to "a suggestion of GM Richards." Especially if it's a bad move.

This construction would have worked beautifully for annotating a famous game (re-)published a year ago. In that instance, I pointed out that the original annotator - an IM who I won't name here - missed a lot of stuff. (Did he ever! Even though said IM was the chief judge that awarded it a "Best Played Game" prize, the notes he published were so rife with mistakes that the game-winner gave up on the USCF for years thereafter ... concluding that not only the writer but the USCF itself was out to embarrass him by publishing his masterpiece with bogus notes!)

If I'd heard the "GM Richards" reference at that time, I would have credited the original annotator's worst analysis not to him, but to "GM Richards."

Kind of like back in high school, I had a chemistry teacher who claimed that alongside Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin, there was a fourth temperature scale, the Witt scale. "It was invented by two brothers, the Witt boys," he would deadpan. "Nit and Dim." Then whenever a kid in his class gave a wrong answer to a problem involving temperature-scale conversion, the teacher would say, "Oh, he must have done the conversion in degrees Witt."

Tom Panelas said...

I've decided not to buy a kitty playground for my cats.

Check2Check said...

"Back to Black", "You Know I'm No Good" and "Love Is A Losing Game" got a whole lot of play when I first was turned on to Amy's album... probably because it was a very turbulent time in my personal life.

Cats... have four. Well three actually, as ones on loan.