On Monday I had a wonderful time at the Juneau Chess Club and feel like I made contact again with "Real Chess," since much of my chess activity lately has been blitz on FICS, with the occasional G/15 (I guess that's not blitz) included. This despite the fact that in December I seemingly resolved to stop playing blitz...
Oh, the weakness of the flesh.
The first good thing that happened Monday was that seven people showed up, the most since I started coming a few months ago. We don't generally use clocks for the two-hour club session, so I sat down to play Brian Bezenek at just after 7:00 pm, and two hours and 61 moves later the game ended just before the librarians came to kick us out.
It was a fascinating and subtle struggle. As Black against a King's Indian Attack I won a pawn in the early middle game and in a position with one rook, opposite-colored bishops and most of the pawns left the maneuvering game began. All I needed was an open file for my rook to get into his position and I figured I'd have a great chance to win, but it was fascinating how move after move he prevented me from doing that. Finally I was able to send my bishop on a mission that was like a three-cushion billiard shot around to the rear of his position and win another pawn. Yet it was still a tough game to figure out how to win. My opponent just kept putting up stout resistance. Finally, on the 61st move, with time running out he blundered, but kudos to Brian for toughness.
This was the kind of game I could probably never play at online blitz, where the premium is on moving without too much thinking and attacking something as often as possible. While blitz has its place in the universe, I was reminded Monday that "Real Chess" is just more deeply satisfying, like cotton candy versus roast beef.
We are planning a Juneau City Championship tournament starting May 16. I'll be concentrating on the more serious brand of chess in the meantime.