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).