My Senior Moment by Jim Eade
I cant recall when it first dawned on me that I qualified (by turning 50) for the 2007 US Senior Open, but the idea of actually playing in it gradually grew on me.
My last tournament had been the 1999 Amateur Team East, so the possibility of embarrassing myself seemed entirely plausible, but on the other hand, playing only other old timers had a certain appeal.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of playing. Id be playing people who learned to play chess the way I learned to play.
In the old days, before coaches and trainers, we were largely self taught.
Before computers and the Internet, we had to wait months for an Informant to arrive in order for us to study the latest games. It took us years to acquire the experience that todays players can get in a matter of months.
Upon arriving at La Quinta, Ca. for the tournament, I discovered that there were nine masters in total, including an IM and four FMs, and that I was the highest rated one.
Obviously, I did not think I could play to my old strength and I didnt like having a top seed bulls eye painted on my chest, but what could I do?
As Bill Russell once said about playing against Wilt Chamberlain, I had to show up.
After an extended absence from tournament chess, here was my first game back:
Carr,M – Eade,J [A37]
US Senior Open 16.08.2007
1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 e5 6.d3 d6 7. 00 Nge7 8.Rb1 00 9.a3 a5 10.Bg5 h6
(This is a mistake. 10. …f6 is better)
11.Bxe7 Nxe7 12.b4 axb4 13.axb4 f5 14.Qb3 Bd7 15.bxc5 dxc5 16.Nd2 Bc6 17.Bxc6 bxc6
(Classical chess theory teaches that doubled isolated pawns are weak. Modern chess theory argues that the pawns keep the White knights out of the key central squares.)
18.Rfd1 Qd6 19.Qc2 Ra3 20.Rb3 Rfa8 21.Rxa3 Rxa3 22.Qb2 Ra8 23.Qc2 Bf6 24.Rb1 h5 25.Nf3 g5 26.e4? f4 27.Ne2 g4 28.Nd2 f3 29.Nc1 Kf7 30.Ncb3 Rg8 31.Na5 Bg5 32.Nb7 Qh6 33.Nf1 h4 34.Qc3 hxg3 35.Qxe5 Bf4 36.Qb2 gxh2+ 37.Kh1 Qh3 38.Ne3 Bxe3 39.fxe3 g3 01
Carr is currently a class A player, but he used to be a rated expert.
It was certainly a relief to get the first game under my belt. I won my next game against another A player, and then drew my next two games against masters.
I needed to win with black in the fifth round to have a shot at winning the tournament.
Daud,H – Eade,J [A04]
US Senior Open, 19.08.2007
1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d3 Nc6 5.00 e5 6.e4 Nge7 7.c3 00 8.a3 d6 9.b4 a5 10.bxc5 dxc5 11.a4 Qd6 12.Na3 Rd8 13.Ne1 Be6 14.Qc2 b6 15.Rb1 Nc8 16.Nb5 Qd7 17.Qe2 N6a7 18.h4 Nxb5 19.axb5 c4 20.d4 exd4 21.cxd4 Bxd4 22.e5 Ra7 23.Bg5 Ne7 24.Nc2 Bc5 25.Rfd1 Qe8 26.Bc6 Rxd1+ 27.Rxd1 Nxc6 28.bxc6 Be7 29.Bf6 Qxc6 30.Nd4 Qc8 31.Nb5 Rd7 32.Nd6 Rxd6 33.Rxd6 Bxd6 34.exd6 Qc6 35.Qd2 Bh3 36.f3 Qxf3 37.Be5 f6 38.d7 Bxd7 39.Qxd7 fxe5 40.Qe8+ Qf8 41.Qe6+ Qf7 42.Qxb6 Qd5 43.Qb8+ Kg7 44.Qc7+ Kh6 45.Qe7 e4 46.Qf6 Kh5 47.Qe7 Kg4 48.Qxh7 Kxg3 49.Qxg6+ Kxh4 50.Qh6+ Kg4 51.Qg6+ Kf4 52.Qf6+ Qf5 53.Qc3 Qg4+ 54.Kh2 Qe2+ 01
That was one hard struggle!
It reminded me how difficult tournament chess can be.
White had numerous threats during the course of the game, and I had to trust my ability to calculate correctly. I felt as though I had accomplished my objective, however, believing that I would be paired against the only 5-0 the next day.
It was not to be. The colors did not work, and I was back on second board.
NM Joel Johnson drew his game and finished in clear first, while I settled for a draw and a multiple tie for second.
Click here 2007 US Senior Championship (this link at PaloVerde.org is no longer available) for more information on what was an extremely pleasant tournament.
I expect that it will not take me eight years before I play in my next one!
Note: Jim Eade is the author of Chess for Dummies as well as other books.
To take a look inside this book, click here.