Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holidays part 3

Last year I started to teach chess in KMSK see the chess microbe. This year I continue my voluntary classes but hereby I added some new conditions. I want to avoid just being an entertainer instead of a teacher. My students are taking the courses not seriously enough while my goal was to use them as a catalyst so they can develop themselves quicker. It is nonsense to give advanced classes when there is no interest to focus harder at chess.

So at the start of the new season I demanded some engagements from each of my students. They have to attend my courses strictly. There aren't a lot of them so regular attendance is mandatory to follow a program. Unannounced absences won't be ignored and will be considered disrespectful. My students are all older than 12 so are perfectly capable of mailing or picking up the phone. 

Also I want that my students play at least 50 standard games every year. It is useless to spend time at courses and studies if barely any games are played. Playing games is crucial to improve see experience. Some achieve this number automatically but for others it will demand doubling or tripling the number of games. I helped them by presenting a long list of possible tournaments which they could use to create for next season a schedule. Of course this should be discussed together with their parents.

Finally I also asked each of them to digitize each played standard game in a personal database (possibly still to be created) and add some light comments. This should't take more than an hour for each game. In the past I stressed many times on this blog that it is very important to learn from your own mistakes by looking critically at your own games see e.g. which games to analyze. My students are mature enough to handle such task. When I started to play chess against a computer at the age of 14 (see chesscompositions) then I also made analysis of those games.

Some of my students answered immediately affirmative to my conditions but I also heard different sounds. One talented kid decided to stop following my classes. Chess is just a game for him to make some fun and nothing more. It is an honest and courageous answer. In the end it makes no sense to attend classes about databases and engines which he will never use.

Fortunately the other 5 children were willing to accept the conditions. But that is of course not enough. They still need to be followed up and that is less evident. It is not so easy to play interesting games for young strong players. Not only there isn't so much choice in the neighborhood but playing far away demands a strong support from the parents. Still I managed to convince a couple of parents to make the trip to the open tournament of Le Touquet. When they also triggered on their turn some other Flemish young players to play, we suddenly had assembled a small army. The French were completely taken by surprise.

A young group of Flemish wolves came in real Halloween-mood to the tournament creating fear and despair all around. You could see the disbelief grow in the eyes of several masters and grandmasters due to any lack of rating-logic. Huge plus-scores were set by the Belgian players of whom the 15 year Warre De Waele rated 2045 elo was obviously the leader of the gang. He surprised everybody by winning the tournament in front of 5 grandmasters, 4 international masters ... see final standings
The very surprising winner: Warre De Waele
Source: https://twitter.com/villedutouquet/media
In the last round I saw his mum standing at the door of the tournament. I assume the excitement was too big to stay away from the playing-room. I don't think I really helped to calm her down by telling her at the mid of the game that Warre had some chances to win. It was for sure a fairy-tale.

It is sad that such performances are today always accompanied by distrust. Some anonymous players (likely top-players) asked the arbiters to watch out for the Belgian players. Statistically it is very unlikely what happened. Looking at the luck calculator then the chance was less than 1 out of 100.000. Such big numbers are difficult to grasp but remember that  the fantastic grandmaster-result of strong Jan in 2013 was a chance of 1 out of 1632 and the famous cheater Ivanov Borislav demonstrated a chance of 1 out of 305.0000. It is understandable that people get very suspicious.

Well I watched Warre playing in the tournament without detecting anything unusual. His play looked strong but natural so no typical engine moves. Besides the couple of times that he was analyzing after the games, he made a strong impression. He is clearly much stronger than his 2045 rating. Previous months he lost a lot of rating by playing some youth tournaments. Big thanks to Warre for sending me his games and allowing me to publish them. There were no live-boards and for some years games are not published anymore see my article from 2012: game-publications.

During the games of my son I stayed outside the playing-room. I warned in advance the organisation that I am a FM and will keep distance from the board of my son to avoid any discomfort. I only made one exception when he came to me clearly upset by something which happened at the board. He had announced "j'adoube" to rectify some pieces but his 61 year old opponent Jocelyne Wolfangel had missed it and now demanded to play the first touched piece. Hugo doesn't speak French so was not able to defend himself. I had to help him and joined him to the board. Normally the arbiter will decide in such situation to not play the first touched piece but I knew in advance this won't go smoothly. So I asked Jocelyne which piece she wanted him to play. She told us the queen. Next I looked at the position and quickly detected that the demand should not play an important role to the course of the game. To shortcut any discussions I advised my son just to play a move with the queen. He was clearly not happy but obeyed to the relief of everybody. For a moment I feared that he would now collapse emotionally but instead he doubled his forces. He would and should pay back this unfair treatment. At the end of the game he clearly enjoyed the process of converting the won position while a lot of people were watching closely around the board.
[Event "Le Touquet B 7de ronde"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [White "Wolfangel, J."] [Black "Hugo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D13"] [WhiteElo "1316"] [BlackElo "1474"] [PlyCount "140"] [Round "?"] [Site "?"] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.c4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.a3 e6 7.g3 Bd6 8.Bg2 O-O 9.O-O b6 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.e3 Bb7 13.Nb5 Rfd8 14.Nxd6 Rxd6 15.Rc1 e5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Nxe5 Qxe5 18.b4 Rb8 19.Qd4 Qe7 20.Rfe1 Qe6 { (Here the opponent demanded that Hugo plays the queen as he touched that piece first. However Hugo had announced j'adoube before rectifying the queen so wanted to play another piece. She didn't agree. In the end I had to come to resolve the situation. I looked at the position, saw things were not critical and to avoid further discussions advised to play just a move with the queen. He was clearly not pleased but obeyed by playing a thoughtless move with the queen. I feared at that moment that he would not be able to control his emotions anymore.) } 21.Bf3 Rc8 22.Rxc8+ Bxc8 23.Rc1 Qf5 24.Bg2 Rf6 25.f4 Bb7 26.e4 dxe4 27.Qd8+ Kh7 28.Qc7 Bd5 29.Qc2 Qg6 30.Re1 Rc6 31.Qb1 Rc3 32.Bxe4 Bxe4 33.Qxe4 Rxa3 34.Qxg6+ Kxg6 35.Rb1 Kf5 36.Rb2 Ke4 37.Kf2 Kd4 38.g4 Kc4 39.f5 Rb3 40.Re2 Kxb4 41.Re7 a5 42.Rxf7 a4 43.Ra7 a3 44.Ra6 Kc5 45.Ra4 Kb5 46.Ra8 Rb2+ 47.Ke3 a2 48.h4 Kb4 49.g5 hxg5 50.hxg5 Rg2 51.Kf3 Rxg5 52.Rxa2 Rxf5+ 53.Kg4 g6 54.Rb2+ Kc5 55.Rc2+ Kd6 56.Rb2 b5 57.Rb4 Kc5 58.Re4 Rd5 59.Kf3 Rd4 60.Re5+ Kc4 61.Rg5 b4 62.Rxg6 b3 63.Rc6+ Kd3 64.Rb6 Kc2 65.Ke3 Rd3+ 66.Ke2 Rc3 67.Rb5 b2 68.Rd5 b1=Q 69.Rd2+ Kb3 70.Rd1 Qe4+ 0-1
The foreign language was not only a problem for Hugo. I was shocked how bad our older children speak French. The announcements were always only done in French (big difference with our own Belgian tournaments in which sometimes the information is spoken into 4 languages) and even if somebody spoke English then still it was difficult for many children to understand. So playing a tournament abroad with children instead of adults is a very different experience.

Also other details during the tournament confirmed this. Many game-records got lost as some children were extremely negligent. Reconstruction of the games appeared to be impossible. My wish to insert all the games into a database and analyze them, failed before we could even try. The adult guides have an almost permanent task to keep an eye on them. This is not easy as 2 players managed to get out for a swim into the sea at night while still wearing their clothes ! The 2 remaining rounds 1 of them played his games without shoes.

I believe our children really enjoyed the experience of playing a tournament abroad. The next plans are already prepared. Next time I advise to make stricter rules between supervisors and children so we can work more seriously at chess. I recommend both parents accompanying and separate accommodation like Warre did but I understand this is not feasible for everybody.


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