The chess club where I play has become ridiculously strong. A decade ago, John Curdo dominated the club, and then there were a couple of experts who wandered through from time to time in addition to a few regulars like Ed Epp and myself. Then Igor Foygel (2500+, now an IM) settled in and for years it was the Foygel and Curdo show, and I was often the third or fourth seed (but never a threat to win).
Nowadays the top section typically features six masters, with additions like Charles Riordan (2300+), Denis Shmelov (2350 and rising), Chris Chase (2300+), Vadim Martirosov (2200+) with cameos by IMs Jim Rizzitano and Dave Vigorito, new master Chris Williams, even a Jorge Sammour-Hasbun sighting. Plus a ton of experts. The floor on the top section each month has slowly gravitated upward and my own rating has sagged, so now I’m 2010 and a bottom-feeder (aside from those pesky underrated 1800 kids, which is a story for another day.)
On good days, I regard this as a wonderful opportunity to improve, or at least collect the occasional scalp. On bad days, it’s tough to be enthused about going in for my weekly beating.
But if you swim with the sharks often enough, eventually you’re going to have a Shark Sandwich.
Curdo (2320) – Slater (2010)
7.Bd3 cxd4 8.Ne2 Bc5 9.0-0 f6 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Qh4 g6 12.exf6 Qxf6 13.Ng5 Qe7 14.a3 a5 15.Bd2 Nf6 16.Rae1 Ne4 17.Bc1 Qg7 18.Kh1 Nxg5 19.Qxg5 Bd7 20.Ng1 Rf7 21.Nf3 Raf8 22.Bd2 Bd6 23.c3 e5 24.fxe5 Nxe5 25.Be2 Rf5 26.Qh6 d3 27.Qxg7+ Kxg7 28.Nxe5 dxe2 29.Rxf5 Rxf5 30.Nf3 Bb5
31.Be3 Be7 32.Kg1 g5 33.Bf2 Bf6 34.a4 Ba6 35.h3 h5 36.Rc1 g4 37.hxg4 hxg4 38.Ne1 Be5 39.g3 Kg6 40.b3 Rf7 41.c4 dxc4 42.bxc4 Bc7 43.Nd3 Rd7 44.Rc3 Kf5 45.Be1 Bb6+ 46.c5 Bc7 47.Nf4 Bxf4 48.gxf4 Rd1 49.Kf2 Kxf4 50.c6 bxc6 51.Rc1 g3+
It took me a decade and many losses to finally win one from John, so pardon me if I celebrate a little bit.