Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Real Chess at a Real Chess Club

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.


tanch said...


Well done on your game!

I play blitz games on FICS mostly for fun and enjoyment but OTB classical chess is truly where the heart of the game belongs.

The tension, the agony, the struggle, the never-ending quest to outsmart your opponent.

As you said, it's as different as night and day. :)

cheers and keep up the good fight!

chessx said...

OTB is slowly drawing players away from online chess.
Another chess blogger has refound otb chess again

Playing real chess against real people on a real board that takes me back.
For many young players all they know is online chess.
They may miss out on club night chess, that would be a shame.

From the patzer said...

When i first had internet you could find me for hours on end at FICS. I played so many tournaments there that they asked to become TM. After some good performances as TM i became SR and a few months later even administrator on that chess server.

Now it's rare (once every five months) you find me on a chess server (except gameknot).

21 years ago i joined a chess club and each week i go to the meeting (friday night from 20h to ...) to enjoy myself and play an official game of chess or just talk with other players about chess or just for fun (yes, our chess club is a bunch of friends). Young, old, strong player, weak player, teacher, plumber, ICT-manager, ... all are welcommed and taken into our group which consists of about 40 members at present.

So yes, internet chess is fun in the beginning but one cant live without the real deal which is OTB chess.

James Stripes said...

Keep resolving to limit blitz. I've exceeded my five per day limit a half dozen times in 2009, but am averaging less than two online blitz games per day. Meanwhile, I have another OTB blitz tournament to win tonight at the Spokane Chess Club, while the guy that beat me in the last one, but finished second, hopes that he'll win tonight.

Playing with real wood is always better than manipulating the rodent.

Polly said...

Being very old school having started playing in tournaments back in 1972, I have trouble relating to online chess. I can enjoy blitz in person, but online it doesn't have much to it. In person there's always the interaction before, during and after the game. I love the good natured needling and trash talk that goes on during a live blitz game. But even better the blitz is slower chess where you can record the game, and have something to look at after wards.

Robert Pearson said...

Everyone: Thanks so much for your comments. "OTB is slowly drawing players away from online chess." I love that!

It seems that old-school chess may be making a comeback. There's no school like old school.

I'm glad I did record that game, now I need to publish it so you all know what I'm talking about.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Yes, I think that deserves a chess blogger "quote of the year" award or something :)

Good to see. Indeed, I've just discovered the joy of relaxed, no clock chess. Wow. So this is why people like to play real people.

wang said...

Great to see you back in the saddle again Robert. Hope to see more posts, real chess, with real people is fun.