|Posted by Matthew Anderson on February 20, 2010 at 10:50 PM|
Game Of The Week
Today is my son’s birthday. I decided to publish his first chess victory over his Dad as part of his birthday celebration. Of course, we are going to be very busy today so I can’t give you much background on the game, as it is a long story.
I will just say that after 46 losses to me, he was quite happy to finally have some redemption. Oh, wait. I still have the version I wrote for the Colorado Chess Informant. Hopefully, I have enough space to fit it in, as it is a long story. Did I mention it is a long story?
"Parents always want better for their children." I have heard it a hundred times. It is a popular theme in movies. One of my favorite movies is “Breaking Away.” It is the story of a father and son at odds because the father’s plan for his son’s “better life” by sending him to college doesn’t match with the son’s dream of joining the Italian cycling team. The movie plays out the tension between the two in a humorous fashion as they learn how to deal with their opposing plans.
I lived through the son’s perspective as I went off to pursue an engineering degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder just like my father did some 25 years earlier. I ended up following my own dreams as I changed majors and switched schools. Now I get to live through the father’s side as my son, Matthew, matures into a life of his own. Of course, there is always the chance that he will turn out to be one of those 40 year olds who still live at home. Therefore I am constantly sharing with my son the Bible, especially Genesis 2:24:
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
See son, the Bible says you will leave!
Of course, I am not the typical father. I am far too competitive to do my son too much good. I want to beat him at everything, especially chess. When my son asked me to teach him how the pieces move, I didn’t tell him about the special moves like castling and en passant. I figured that it took me 27 years to beat my dad at chess so it better take my son at least 30 years. Well, things didn’t quite go like I planned.
My son’s interest in chess developed from seeing his dad going to chess club and playing in chess tournaments. He was at that age when carrying a chess bag in public was cool. I didn’t start playing chess in tournaments until I was close to 30, but I can imagine that being on the chess team in those younger years could get you beaten up by the football players.
I actually played football during my time at Lincoln Junior High School back in Naperville, IL and again in college. My father was definitely careful with money and was always nervous about my quickly fading interest in the hobbies I requested him to underwrite. The major expense in football was the helmet. I needed an authorized brand to tryout, and most kids bought the regulation, standard white one with the modern facemasks. But not me. My dad noticed that one of my past Christmas presents, a Los Angeles Rams replica helmet with the Vince-Ferragamo-two-bar-style facemask, had a youth sports approval logo. So, off I went to try out with the only blue and yellow helmet. The Rams logo made me feel like I was an elk putting on my bull’s-eye-decorated blanket to go play with the hunters.
Needless to say, I came home bruised and beaten after being the magnet for all the biggest and fastest linebackers who wanted to prove their talent during the tryout. I’d hate to think what would have happened if I brought my chess bag to football tryouts!
I don’t hold any animosity towards my dad because of this situation. In fact, I am very similar. When my son asked for his own chess bag, I wasn’t overcome with tears of joy that my son wanted to follow in my footsteps. I thought, “I didn’t get my own chess bag until I was close to 30, and I had to pay for it myself. You are only six and don’t even have a job!”
But I made him a deal: If you will play in a scholastic tournament, be a good sport, finish all 5 games, and still like chess, I will get you a chess bag. He played in his first tournament at Irving Junior High School on January 8, 2000, lost all 5 games, and got his first chess set and carrying case.
The next year he wanted a chess clock, but I said, “You have to win one this year.” He did. After 3 years of scholastic chess, he retired with 2 trophies (5th place, UNR K-3, Irving 2001 and Under 18 Years, Pir Maleki 2001) and moved on to other hobbies.
Of course, having spent all my hard earned money on a chess bag for him, I was going to keep chess in his life one way or another. At the very least, he was going to have to play me. We weren’t exactly at the same skill level though, and, as I mentioned earlier, I am far too competitive to do my son too much good. I would crush him one game after another until his spirit was so broken down that I had to pay him to play me.
I made him a deal: If you make it past 20 moves, I’ll buy you a treat. He liked the idea, and we started playing over the board on August 6, 2004. Slowly, he made it past 20 moves, and I had to pay out on the treat.
He asked, “What do I get if I win?” I laughed, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, let’s just make it 25 moves for now.” He agreed. He seemed to be improving as we continued to play, and finally, he made it past 25 moves.
He asked, “What do I get if I win?” I laughed, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, let’s just make it 30 moves for now.” He was definitely better now after we had been playing together for 2 years and 46 games. I had won them all, but it was getting much harder to mate him under 30 moves.
He didn’t mind taking a losing position if it meant trading off the queens and a good shot at the endgame. He had seen Brian Wall’s fishing pole enough that the bait meant nothing to him anymore and all my gambits were promptly declined. Pretty soon I would be handing out treats like it was Halloween.
This is the sad part of the story.
We were headed to Borders bookstore to see my son’s favorite author, Brian Jacques, on September 24, 2006. He was doing a book signing this day, and we wanted to get there early to get a good spot in the line. The store gave out numbers so we could eat lunch at Chipotle, play our 47th game, and come back to our place in line. The game would have to be quick so we wouldn’t lose our spot, but we both never took our games too seriously and losing a treat this day was fine with me.
However, I soon began to realize my game was in bad shape, and I was paying too much attention to my chips and guacamole. I tried to get a lot of pieces pointing at his king before he realized how strong his pieces were around my king and prayed for a miracle. He switched from his “a strong defense is a good offense” strategy, and for the first time I can recall, he went after my king.
He asked, “What do I get now that I won?”
I said, “Nothing, you didn’t make 30 moves.”
I knew I had played poorly that day, but I didn’t realize how bad until I had Fritz look at it. I have never seen so many question marks on a game before, and I doubt I ever will. Twelve of the twenty-three moves were scored as bad or very bad. Oh sure, there may be games out there with twelve bad moves, but can you find a miniature ending in mate with 52% of its moves as bad.
So why publish it? Well, it just could be the worst chess game ever played. But also, it was a fun story that just had to be told. In addition, I did get my son a treat for winning. His dream is to have an official tournament for his favorite hobby, a collectible card game called Redemption. I told him I would cover the expenses and run the tournament for him. So, if you’re not playing chess on April 28th, you are welcome to join Matthew’s tournament (http://redemptioncolorado.webs.com/).
[White "Anderson, Matthew"]
[Black "Anderson, Paul"]
1. d4 e5 2. e4 exd4 3. e5 Nc6 4. Nf3 Bc5 5. Bc4 Nge7 6. Bg5 O-O 7. O-O Qe8 8.
Nbd2 a6 9. Ne4 Ba7 10. Qd3 b5 11. Bb3 Bb7 12. Qd2 Ng6 13. Rae1 Ncxe5 14. Nxd4
c5 15. Nf5 c4 16. Ned6 Qb8 17. Bh6 Qc7 18. Bxg7 Qc6 19. Nxb7 Qxb7 20. Bxe5 Nxe5
21. Qh6 Bxf2+ 22. Rxf2 f6 23. Qg7# 1-0
This Week In Chess
Saturday April 28, 2007
On April 24, the CSCC had 11 members in attendance. The participants were split into 2 groups of four (quads) for a round robin tournament. One group played club-rated games (G20), while the other played USCF-rated games (G30). Bill Whinemiller won the club quad, while Josh Bloomer barely survived the Pahk-attack in the USCF quad. Here are the results:
Josh Bloomer 2.5
Paul Anderson 2.0
Joe Pahk 1.5
Mike Filppu 0.0
Bill Whinemiller 3.0
Robert Jertberg 2.0
Renae Delaware 1.0
Bob Edgar 0.0
5/1 Speed Handicap tournament, CSCC
5/2,9,16,23,30 Poor Richard's Book Store May Open, CSCC
5/5 DCC May Daze, DCC
5/8 Lecture by Josh Bloomer, CSCC
5/11-13 2007 Boulder Open, BCC
5/15 Team - 2 partners alternate moves without consultation - 4-SS, G/15, ratings sum <3200, CSCC
Colorado Springs Chess Club: CSCC (http://springschess.org/)
Denver Chess Club: DCC (http://www.denverchessclub.org/)
Boulder Chess Club: BCC (http://www.geocities.com/boulderchessclub/)
Colorado State Chess Association: CSCA (http://colorado-chess.com/)