The US Amateur Team East is now in the books.
First of all, if you’re looking for information on who won, I have no idea. [Update: The winning team was Beavis & Buttvinik. Michael Goeller recaps the results from the NJCA site. Larry Christiansen’s team finished 2nd. Defending champs Riordan & co. finished 5th. ] One of the ironies of the tournament is that it’s populated with so many strong players. If I heard correctly, 30+ IMs played this year, in addition to a dozen or so GMs. However, it’s difficult to pay attention to their games because you are absorbed in your own. Aside from noting the usual contingent of strong teams from UT Dallas hovering near the top, I’m not sure which high seeds avoided upsets.
Round 5 saw Simple Minds paired up again for the first time since round 1. My game:
Slater – Bob Seltzer (2275)
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 a6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 b5 6.a3 Bb7 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.Nxc6 Bxc6 9.0-0 Qc7 10.Qe2 Be7 11.f4 d6 12.Bd2 Nf6 13.Rae1 Nd7 14.b4 Bf6 15.e5 dxe5 16.Ne4 Bh4 17.fxe5 Nxe5 18.g3 Nxd3 19.cxd3 Be7
20.Rxf7 Kxf7 21.Ng5+ Ke8 22.Nxe6 Qd7 23.Qh5+ g6 24.Qe5 Rg8 25.Nc7+ Kd8 26.Nxa8 Qd6 27.Bf4 Qxe5 28.Bxe5 Bxa8 0-1
Alas, I faltered at the end. My opponent was very kind and made a number of laudatory comments about this rook sacrifice. (He was less kind about 14.b4.) As best we could determine without Fritz, 25.Bg5 against best play would bring about a better (though possibly drawn) endgame for white.
Little thing one: I have mentioned the bathrooms a couple of times. It isn’t just me being a germ freak. During this round I took the long walk to a facility elsewhere in the hotel. I passed GM John Federowicz on the way out and he said “Good thing not many people know about this bathroom. Those other ones, it’s like a third-world country in there.” My conversation with the grandmaster.
Little thing two: The generosity of stronger players. My hat’s off to Larry Christiansen and Bob Seltzer. Larry in particular beat me without any effort, yet described certain aspects of the game as “unclear” instead of simply stating the obvious truth, which was that my play was absurdly bad. It doesn’t cost a GM anything to be gracious in this manner and it gives some small measure of hope to the downtrodden class players.
Round Six. I found a shot early in a modified Dutch-type setup. Winning a pawn, I offered my opponent a draw so I could hit the road. Still don’t know my team’s result in that round. But at some level, the scores and even the games don’t matter. What makes USATE the best tournament is the social aspect. Tim and Matt and Jim proved (as usual) great teammates. And thanks to 87 and 84 I made it back in time to read my daughter a bedtime story.
All’s truly well that ends well.