Abe at the World Amateur Chess Championship (update 2)

Before round 7, Abe asked me to check his game during his play (The tournament hall was spacious, spectators were allowed). In other rounds, from now and than, I peeked at some games including his, and took a few pictures (I always had the flash off). He probably meant to check his game more often. I had suggested him to walk around more, especially upon seeing a good move or big setback, after the walk, he might change his idea or just calm down from intending to rush or be panic. Seeing me might remind him my suggestions.

In the round, he seated at the end of one table near a wall, there was a big space between the table and the wall, so spectators can pass through. And there were chairs not far from Abe’s back along the wall. I might take a seat and walk around while watching Abe’s game, I was glad. The game started, Abe had the same amount of material as his opponent in most of the game. Abe slowed down his game quite a bit and paused in deep meditation sometimes. I was a little relieved.

I did not know Abe was losing positionally, his opponent having two passed pawns, Abe traded quite some pieces with his opponent and went on to keep attacking. As the game was progressing, the two passed pawn proved to be overwhelming for Abe to handle, he lost his game.

On the way home, I said, “The passed pawns are too dangerous.”

“Yes.” Abe replied.

Other than that, I had nothing to say about the game. Abe slowed down and did his best, he still lost, but I think he learned one thing or two from his strong opponent. His opponent has an USCF rating of more than 1900. Abe still had a long way to go in chess in order to win or draw a player with such strength.

Abe lost again to an opponent with an USCF rating of more than 1700 in the next round. He was very sad after that. I was a little worried that he could care less for chess; he was reluctant to go to his final round. He said he wanted to stay at home doing his homework.

Anyway, he went and scored one point in his final round. He was in a good mood again. I told him that the purpose of having him playing in this tournament was to learn the good habit of playing chess from the strong opponents.

Looking back to his tournament, I am glad that Abe played quite a few strong opponents and he realized to slow down his game.

What a great chess tournament! What a wonderful learning experience for Abe (He played two 1900, one 1700 USCF, 1800, 1700 and 1600 FIDE)!


Abe at the World Amateur Chess Championship (update 1)

One of my friends—who is also a chess parent— told me during a chess tournament, according to his observation, if Abe comes out of chess playing hall quickly, he wins his game; if he comes out late, he maybe in trouble. It is a compliment to Abe. Abe has the tendency to be aggressive and win quickly.

But not this time, in the ongoing World Amateur Chess Championship, in more than one game, Abe came out the chess playing hall quickly but lost. Then he always added “I was winning, but somehow blundered.” Yes, his opponents were very strong in this tournament, the time control (90-minute+30-second increment for each move) is long to him, maybe he was bored between rounds, maybe he was tired, and maybe I should bring something fun with me. But not too fun, otherwise, Abe could be eager to get out the chess playing hall even quicker. Anyway he played carelessly in his games. He should slow down and think more, it is the same old problem, I am always trying to convince Abe not to play fast.

The World Amateur Chess Championship started last Friday and had nine rounds, with the last round on this coming Thursday. Travelling from many different countries, the players of both young and old are all with an FIDE rating below 2000, many slightly below.

World Amateur Chess Championship

World Amateur Chess Championship

In the first five rounds, Abe’s opponents were rated around 1800 (FIDE), 1700 (FIDE), 1900 (USCF), 1600 (FIDE), and an unrated. He got two points out of the five. Last night, on round six, his opponent did not show up within 30 minutes after the game started, so by the tournament rule, he forfeited his game, Abe got another point automatically.

Two days ago, after round five, maybe out of embarrassment of his own blunder, Abe said to me “I will slow down in the next round.” Round seven will be this evening. I am hoping he still remember what he said two days ago, as long as he can learn from his failure and takes time to think, it does not matter how many points he will get in the next three rounds.

Stay tuned.


One win and one loss

Yes, the State Scholastic K-8 Chess Championships was last weekend.

Illinois State Scholastic K-8 Chess Championships

Illinois State Scholastic K-8 Chess Championships

The day before, last Friday, Abe said, “I don’t want to go to chess tournament this weekend.”
“Why?” I asked.
“This Saturday, we have a basketball game with the Pacers—the team we lost two weeks ago.” Abe replied. Pacers won Nuggets two weeks ago. It’s is the first loss for Abe’s team within these two seasons. I was not with Abe in that game as I usually do because I had another appointment. I did not know what went wrong that time. Upon seeing him, I asked,

“Did you guys play like a team?”

“Yes, we did.”

“Did you guys work hard and try your best?”

“Yes, we did.”

“Did you learn something from the loss?”

“No, only big people do that, small people do not.” Abe replied. Since they are small people, why bother…

But I know Abe and his teammates want to win the rematch. This Saturday is the chance.

But this weekends’ chess tournament is the state scholastic championship; I’ve already registered him for the chess tournament. I do not know who would be their opponent until it’s too late. We have to go. I felt a little guilty.

On the evening of last Saturday, my wife told me that the coach of Abe’s basketball team sent us an email saying the team won with a great team effort. I was so glad with the win, I felt a little relieved.

After the two-day, seven-round chess tournament, Abe got six points and was the 6th place in his section

His only loss was to the final champion. After the game, Abe said, “I was winning, then blundered, then lost the game.” Here is the game:

Abe had a lucky schedule in this tournament, most of his opponents are rated much lower than him. I think he had an OK tournament. But on another note, Abe told me after the tournament, most people finish their games much quicker than the time allowed, I think that is a bad habit that might be contagious among the kids.  It is fun to play quick, but you’ll prone to make mistakes. It made easier for the high rated player to win. The higher rated players may have a faulty easy impression of his games. I’m always a little worried about that.

Of course, upset (a lower rated player wins a higher rated player) happens in whatever time control, just Abe was not one of one of victims this time.

At the end of the day,

I am glad to hear the one win. Keep the good work, “Nuggets”, let’s win the next game.
I am fine with the one loss; hope Abe will not make the similar mistakes next time.


Who or Whom

Last night, on the way home from shopping at Walgreens, we listened to a show from the audio CD: English Majors by Garrison Keillor, the show was about an English major working at a fast food restaurant and correcting customers’ misuse of who or whom. The show was very funny. Abe and I both laughed a lot, however, at the end, Abe said “It (the rule) is too complex.”

Back home, I found an easy explanation of the grammar from You Tube:

I would like to propose a rule that is slightly different from the teaching in above video:

When choosing between who or whom, if you can replace it with he, she, or they, use who; otherwise, use whom.

Some people may suggest if you replace the choice with him, then you should use whom, but, in my opinion, this part of rule may produce further confusion and is unnecessary.

Quite simple? I hope so.

I listed some sentences about chess using who and whom below, hope you find them helpful:

  • Who is your opponent in this round?
  • Whom did you play with in this round?
  • Who is the highest rated high school student in the state?
  • Whom did the state chess association select as the state representative for the national tournament?
  • Who is the current World Chess Champion?
  • Whom do you expect to be the next World Chess Champion?

Ten days left to register the World Amateur Chess Championship

Maybe you’ve already known that the World Amateur Chess Championship 2010 will take place in Skokie, IL USA between March 19th and March 25th 2010, but you haven’t decided to register it or not.  If you or your kids are chess players, living in the states, and  have FIDE ratings of less than 2000 or unrated,  read ahead and take this great opportunity to play some quality chess.

You may have the following reasons to play this tournament:

  • For the first time in the tournaments history, the World Amateur Chess Championship is brought to North America continent and held on the northern shores of Chicago. I think playing in this tournament shows your support of the organizers and your support of FIDE chess event in the USA.
  • Since the event is held in the states, you could save thousands of dollars on travel, if you play such event abroad.
  • The registration fee is affordable—$120 on its website at this writing.
  • If your kids want to play with strong opponents and have a good learning experience but you concern your kids will miss too much school, may I remind you that this tournament includes 9 rounds, 5 of them are in Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday?  So even you fly in on Friday afternoon and stay only the weekend, you can still play the most rounds. In addition, all other rounds are held in evenings, your kids can still do some reading and math during daytimes.
  • There are some other prizes such as scholarships and big price fund, you can check them out on its website.

So you need commit only affordable amount of money & time, while being able to play quality chess with opponents all over the world and possibly getting big rewards. Register now, Why not?

Have a good weekend.


If you feel frustrated with your kids

From time to time, you may feel frustrated with your kids. For example, they keep playing video games on the computer although you yelled several times ” It is dinner time. Go wash your hands.” The kids don’t listen to you, or listen but wouldn’t do what you asked.

Be calm,  it is normal,  and it happens to parents and teachers. Let’s read this story about a frustrated teacher and a stubborn student:

We had minor confrontations. Once I wanted everyone to sit down and listen to what I had to say—something about the way they had been acting in the halls. I was letting them come and go freely and it was up to them (I planned to point out) not to raise hell so that I had to hear about it from other teachers. Sitting down was the issue—I was determined every one was going to do it first, then I’d talk. Piston remained standing. I re-ordered. He paid no attention. I pointed out that I was talking to him. He indicated he heard me. I inquired then why in the hell didn’t he sit down. He said he didn’t want to. I said I did want him to. He said that didn’t matter to him. I said do it anyway. He said why? I said because I said so. He said he wouldn’t. I said Look I want you to sit down and listen to what I’m going to say. He said he was listening. I’ll listen but I won’t sit down.

This is the third paragraph of chapter one of How to Survive in Your Native Land (I am reading the original 1971 edition) by James Herndon. Is it hilarious, is it? What would you do if you are the teacher in this case? What scenario you may encounter at home if you are the parent of Piston? Maybe you should be thankful that you have a kid that is less stubborn than Piston.

Always think a different way to communicate with kids about your idea, do not order your kids, be friends with your kids…?

Easy said than done.

How do you think?