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Two Roads

Posted by Matthew Anderson on February 20, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Game Of The Week

 

I was running short on time this week to write an article for the newsletter. Fortunately, I had an article I wrote from the Colorado Chess Informant for which I received a lot of positive feedback.


That is everyone except my mother. For most people, their mother is their biggest fan. You could even kill someone and she would still say what a wonderful child you were. However, my mother is my biggest critic. When I showed her the article, the only thing she said was, “You weren’t born in 1875.”

 

Here is what other people are saying:

 

“nice...one of our very favorite poems.” – Linda Bragg

 

“Enjoyed your husband's article. Nice blending of two totally different worlds!” – Jacqi Stevens

 

“The road not taken was my wife Debbie's favorite poem so I really enjoyed the beautiful job you did making a great chess email out of that one-I didn't write much for that Informant but you seem to have my style down pat anyway.” – LM Brian Wall

 

“READ THIS ARTICLE, bring your friends and bring your church.” – Paul Anderson

 

So, without further ado, here is the most over-hyped, greatest chess article of the millennium:

 

My wife recently checked out a book from the library called “The Top 500 Poems.” It ranks the poems by how often poems are included in anthologies, kind of like Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 countdown show, “And coming in at number 1 is The Tiger by Blake.”


I flipped through it to find some of my favorites and was usually disappointed about how low their ranking was compared to what I thought they should be. One of the poems I’ve seen often and thought would have been higher in the ranking was The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. It came in at number 149. But as I read it over again, it reminded me of my chess career and a fellow player who has been on his chess journey almost exactly as long as I have been on mine.

 

Paul Grimm once asked me if I had an archrival for an Informant article (January 2005). I gave him my “List of Enemies” which included 10 opponents who have taken the most net rating points from me. However, in reality, most of those 10 people wouldn’t be considered an archrival. I haven’t played 9 of those people since I published the list. I have played one person from the list one time at the end of last year.


So, if anyone on that list could be considered an archrival, it would be Larry Wutt. Larry was public enemy number 3 back in 2005, but we hadn’t played together in five years. Could someone I played once in 5 years possibly be an archrival? I thought the only way I could tell for sure was to compare Larry and myself to the greatest rivalry of all time: The Chicago Bears versus The Green Bay Packers.

  

Event Date Type Win Loss Color Time Change Larry Me

 

CHAMP 10/27/98 CLUB 1.0 0.0 W 90 9 1494 1704

QUAD 11/10/98 USCF 0.0 1.0 B 30 -29 1226 1572

LIBERTY 5/15/99 QUICK 1.0 0.0 B 29 5 1388 1678

LADDER 8/17/99 CLUB 0.0 1.0 B 60 -17 1694 1708

LADDER 8/31/99 CLUB 0.0 1.0 W 60 -18 1676 1726

LADDER 11/30/99 CLUB 0.0 1.0 W 30 -18 1662 1695

LADDER 7/18/00 CLUB 0.0 1.0 W 60 -22 1663 1802

SWISS 7/17/01 QUICK 1.0 0.0 W 15 10 1526 1684

SWISS 7/16/02 CLUB 1.0 0.0 W 15 17 1747 1731

W SPNGS 12/2/07 USCF 1.0 0.0 W 40/2 17 1905 1875

 

Why are the Bears versus Packers so great?

 

One reason has to be their proximity to each other. Illinois and Wisconsin are border states, and some animosity goes back to when these states were drawing up their state boundaries. “Many Chicagoland residents speak disparagingly of their neighbors to the north, referring to the Illinois-Wisconsin border as the ‘cheddar curtain’” (Michael D. Sublett and Frederick H. Walk). Interestingly, Larry is from Wisconsin and a Packers fan while I am from Illinois and a Bears fan.

 

Another reason has to be the long history of competition together. The Bears and Packers started playing football one year apart and against each other since 1921. Well, Larry and I have been going at it for 10 years now. My first USCF event was the Colorado Springs Chess Club’s February Flatulence [02/10/1998], and I ended up with a provisional rating of 1614. Larry’s first USCF event was the Colorado Springs Chess Club’s June Borborgyms [06/09/1998]. He earned a provisional rating of 1027.

 

Of course, a great rivalry has to include bragging rights. Both teams have to be able to make a claim for superiority. The Bears could point to their overall record against the Packers (W 90, L 79, T 6) while the Packers could refer to their number of championships (Packers 12, Bears 9). Early on, I was confident of my superiority with my whopping 1670 rating while Larry was starting at 1027 and the fact I had won two of our first three games. But Larry could point to his four straight upsets and his net rating gain of 63 points.

 

However, this rivalry wouldn’t be played out over the board as Larry chose a different path.

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Like most chess players who wish to improve their rating, Larry embarked on the path of theory and education. He purchased chess books, found a study partner, and focused on fewer chess events with slower time controls where his memorization and recall could be fully utilized. During this time, I began to pull head of Larry in number of events. I played in 129 USCF events compared to 97 for Larry. Of course, I was on a different path.

 

Then look the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

I wanted to play as often as I could and get as much experience as I could without all the book learning. My aim was to learn from my real world, hands-on knowledge to avoid the mistakes I had suffered through personally.


Of course, I often wondered if Larry’s path would have worked better for me. After all, Larry had pulled ahead of me, despite of my head start. He crossed the 1800 barrier in the Colorado Springs Open (03/08/2003) when I was still 1740. I didn’t cross that mark until the Winter Springs Open (12/04/2004) almost 2 years later.


I didn’t have a goal to reach 1800 until I read about Paul Grimm’s quest to break it. Then I decided to beat him there. Paul never made it to 1800, and once I did, I needed a new goal. I chose to beat Larry to 1900. But now Larry had the lead. Would I need to change paths? Would mine still get me where I wanted to go? Could I afford to go back now?

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I still liked the path I was on. However, I did feel like I was out on my own listening to the other chess players talk about the books they were studying. It didn’t bother me though, as I have felt there is a lot of wisdom in not following the crowd.


“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

(Matthew 7:14)


I was still making progress, and I got close a couple of times. I got as high as 1899 (03/24/2007), but I never was able to reach the destination. Larry finally beat me past the 1900 mark by drawing LM Brian Wall in the Larimer County Open (10/06/2007).

 

After five years of off-the-board rivalry, our paths finally crossed. Now it was a battle to see who had progressed father, the professor or the unschooled, ordinary man. Would book-smarts be vindicated or would street-smarts triumph?

 

Two Roads

http://www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=94891

 

[Event "Winter Springs Open"]

[Site "http://cschess.webs.com/"]

[Date "2007.12.02"]

[Round "3.3"]

[White "Anderson, Paul"]

[Black "Wutt, Larry"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "E70"]

[WhiteElo "1875"]

[BlackElo "1905"]

[PlyCount "59"]

[EventDate "2007.12.01"]

 

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Bd3 O-O 6. f3 Nc6 7. Be3 e5 8. d5 Ne7

9. Qd2 Ne8 10. h4 f5 11. exf5 Bxf5 12. g4 Bxd3 13. Qxd3 c6 14. O-O-O b5 15.

dxc6 bxc4 16. Qxc4+ Rf7 17. h5 Rc8 18. hxg6 hxg6 19. Bg5 Kf8 20. b4 Qb6 21.

Bxe7+ Rxe7 22. b5 Qe3+ 23. Kb1 Rf7 24. Nd5 Qg5 25. Rh3 Nf6 26. Ne2 e4 27. Nef4

Ke8 28. Ne6 Qe5 29. Nxg7+ Rxg7 30. f4 1-0

 

Larry survived the Winter Springs Open (12/01/2007) with his +1900 rating in tack, and I still hadn’t crossed the barrier. However, our paths crossed again at the Al Ufer Memorial [01/05/2008]. We didn’t get paired together, but Larry went home with a rating of 1873 while I broke the 1900 mark for the first time (1904). Race you to 2000!

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

April Fools' Pizza Contest

 

The April Fools' Game Of The Week (http://www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=76189) was actually played by Viktor Kortschnoj and Geert Van der Stricht in 2003 where black resigned on move 36. No one correctly identified them so the free pizza prize will be donated to the Colorado Springs Chess Club for tonight’s event.

 

Upcoming Events

 

4/22 Josh Bloomer simul, CSCC

4/23,30 Poor Richard's Bookstore April Open final rounds, CSCC

4/26 2008 Spring is Sprung One-Day Rated Tournament, CSCA

4/26 14th Annual Pir Maleki Memorial, April 26, NMCO

4/29 Fischer Random tournament: 4-SS, G/15, not rated, CSCC

5/3-4 Bobby Fischer Memorial, CSCA

 

For event details and additional events, see the following websites:

 

Colorado Springs Chess Club: CSCC (http://springschess.org/)

Boulder Chess Club: BCC (http://www.geocities.com/boulderchessclub/)

Colorado State Chess Association: CSCA (http://colorado-chess.com/)

Wyoming Chess Association: WCA (http://www.wyomingchess.com/)

Kansas Chess Association: KCA (http://www.kansaschess.org/)

New Mexico Chess Organization: NMCO (http://www.nmchess.org/)

Categories: 2008

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