Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Hamilton Fight Club

      I made my twice yearly pilgrimage to the mecca of long time control, low stakes chess - the Hamilton quads.  It's an interesting place...nowhere else can you really find people who are so purely into the game.  The entry fee is $10 and the most you can win is $25 (minus entry fee and gas and a lollipop and you can count on being in the hole).  Meanwhile, 40/80, 15/30, 15/30 etc etc time controls means that the higher rated quads are battling from morning until, well, midnight sometimes.  There are even adjournments, a strange anachronism in a time when cell phones can be practically master strength on their own.  

Typically I do much better with the slow time controls, so I decided it was worth another visit.  And as occasionally happens, it paid off handsomely - I finished +2 -0 =1 to win my quad, and more importantly should raise my rating above 1900 for the first time ever.  This was my big goal for 2009, and until recently it seemed a bit out of reach.  After reaching nearly 1850 while on a hot streak almost a year ago I regressed to the mean a little bit, and then found improvement hard to come by.  But when it rains it pours, and in the last two months I went on my best run going +6 -0 =5 against an average 1820-rated opponent.  That means that I'm back on track to win my bet with Don to become an expert, the prize for which is $1000 and dinner at Peter Luger's steakhouse in Brooklyn (right, Don?).  
Sometime later I will post bits of my best game from this weekend's quad, but before I do that I'll spend some time focusing on things I've neglected recently, like my garden and my actual job (sigh).

Hmailton is my favorite venue,though due to family and certain charitable work obligations I cannot make it as often as I'd like. I'm sure you could use your influence as a club officer to sponsor slow time control events at Kenilworth. Nobody throws us out; so if we had to stay until 2AM or so I'm sure nobody would mind (You don't have to let Geoff know I suggested this...also if you want to solicit Club opionion on this idea don't bother asking Greg).

Back in the "good old days" when I started playing tournament chess (before my 30 year hiatus) a typical tournment had a time control of 50/2, and then 25/1. A tourney would typically run at least 5 round; 3 on Satuday (10AM, 3PM, and 8PM) and 2 on Sunday Sometimes there was a Friday night round, and tourneys on holiday weekends could be 7 rounders that included Monday (similar to the USATE/WAT or NJ Open, except you started earlier and had an extra round).

My first rated event was a 5 round scholastic Swiss at the old Boyslton Chess Club (the facility where Pillsbury and Weaver Adams played) in downtown Boston in 1968 (Lyndon Johnson was president then). The format was as described above. Kids were playing games at 11PM Saturday night. In another scholastic I had my first round game adjourned after over 4 hours. Most young folk today don't know what a sealed move is.

I do appreciate Ed Sytnik's efforts in running the hamilton events. I hope chessplayers appreciate that events don't just happen, and if the TDs (who ususlly work for nothing or close to nothing) were not dedicated to this work events would not be held. We are fortunate in New Jersey; the Boston area now hss very few open events becsue they do not have the number of chess organizers we have here in New Jersey.
Agreed, especially with how lucky we are with TD's.

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