Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Food and drinks part 2

Last week somebody asked me why Belgium is playing with a rather weak team. I am pretty sure our numbers 1, 13, 15, 21 and 46 of the fide ranking will do the uttermost to perform well but very likely we would get a (much) higher ranking if we play with our best players. I try to give some explanations why our team isn't composed of only our highest rated players.

1) Few Belgians are patriotic. I don't demand we should all be chauvinistic nationalists like the French but today we see very little interest in all activities launched by our federation (with the exception of the interclub). That was once more stressed in the last Belgian championship of which I reported in holidays part 2.
2) Chess is losing ground in Belgium. Many (top-) players play very few games and can be considered as inactive. That was already covered in my article inactivity.
3)  The communication of the federation to the members to find players for the olympiad could definitely be improved. I found a message about it on the site of the federation but nothing else. On the fefb-forum I wasn't surprised to read that at least 1 top-player saw this invitation too late. I strongly suspect that most players only look at the site to check their rating and the results of the interclub.
4) Finally we also miss financial support. The players don't get any bonus for wins neither some kind of salary so many top-players aren't interested. Due to the debacle of the secretary a few years ago it is very hard to get an extra budget.

Budget-wise it is of course not only our federation having difficulties. 2 weeks ago I read some troublesome news about the fide becoming possibly bankrupt (see e.g chess.com). At a much smaller scale we see many tournaments cutting their expenses. I already wrote earlier on this blog that many professionals are just trying to survive but it is not only just about the prizes. In the last Open Gent I noticed that the liveboards which I praised 2 years ago on this blog were only partly activated. However the biggest inconvenience was the omission of the fans compared to last year. As we again had hot weather this transformed the playing-hall into an oven.

To mitigate this discomfort the organizers supplied cooled water against democratic prices which many made use of. I bought each round at least 1 bottle but this had nasty repercussions in the form of extra toilet-visits. Especially if you are playing against somebody spending hardly any time then you can get into a very annoying situation. Such thing happened to me in round 2 against Wiebke Barbier, active today at the olympiad. I really needed to go to the toilet but I didn't get a chance as it was my turn to move.
[Event "Open Gent 2de ronde"] [Date "2016"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Barbier, Wiebke"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C41"] [WhiteElo "2314"] [BlackElo "2037"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r4rk1/1pq1bppp/2ppbn2/p7/P3PB2/2N4P/BPP2PP1/R2QR1K1 w - - 0 14"] [PlyCount "39"] 14. Bxe6 {(I lost quite some time here as I had difficulties to concentrate because I needed urgently to pee. Except the move I played, I also checked e5. Later I discovered that my engines are evaluating both moves rather equal and often it just transposes. Besides I still found 1 correspondence game played in 2013 between amateurs with e5 in my database.)} fxe6 15. e5 {(After this planned move, I rushed to the toilets.)} Nd5 16. exd6 Bxd6 17. Bxd6 Qxd6 18. Qd4 $6 {(The engines prefer the more standard Ne4.)} Rf4 $2 {(Too aggressive. Stockfish manages still to hold the balance with Rad8.)} ( 18... Rad8 $1 19. Rad1 Qc7 20. Qc4 b5 $1 21. axb5 cxb5 22. Qxc7 Nxc7 23. Ne4 a4 24. Ra1 $11 ) 19. Ne4 Qc7 20. Rad1 Raf8 21. b3 h6 22. c4 Nf6 $6 {(After this move blacks position collapses. B6 allowed to prolong the game.)} 23. Qd6 Qxd6 24. Nxd6 b6 25. Rxe6 Rd8 26. f3 b5 27. axb5 cxb5 28. c5 Rf5 29. Rc1 Rd5 30. c6 R5xd6 31. Rxd6 Rc8 32. c7 Ne8 33. Rd8 1-0
It is extremely hard to concentrate when you need a pee but it is not allowed to leave the board when you have to move. Besides I wonder if some players already had an accident but I guess nobody will want to confess such embarrassment. In the end I just made a move, hoped for the best and run to the toilets. The situation is even more complicated when the toilet is about 100 meters away. I don't think it was a coincidence that the seniors were allowed to play in a separate room just next to the toilets.

Except the loss of time we also see that toiletvisits are creating often extra stress (something which I already experienced see distrust). This often escalates into conflicts as was also happening in the ongoing olympiad. Players need to inform the arbiter of their toiletvisits and the arbiter has to register them. This was not accepted by everybody. Very soon a petition was launched successfully as by round 4 we see this rule being abolished already.

A player applying some very draconian measures not or very rarely to use a toilet, is the Belgian expert Alain Talon. He told me at Open Gent that he chose not to eat at all before a game. I don't understand how he can persevere as the evening-games could last till 11 PM. Nevertheless he performed very well and achieved a nice first shared place in his rating-group. This performance could've got even more glance if he didn't suffer a very unfortunate defeat at round 4.
[Event "39th Eastman Open Gent 2016"] [Site "Gent"] [Date "2016.07.17"] [Round "4.12"] [White "Sadkowski D"] [Black "Talon A"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A40"] [WhiteElo "2296"] [BlackElo "2073"] [PlyCount "105"] 1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 d6 5. e4 Nf6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Be2 e6 8. O-O Re8 9. dxe6 Bxe6 10. Bf4 Qb6 11. Rb1 Nc6 12. Nd5 Bxd5 13. exd5 Nh5 14. Bd2 Ne5 15. Nxe5 Rxe5 16. Bc3 Nf4 17. Bxe5 Bxe5 18. g3 Nxe2 19. Qxe2 Qa5 20. a3 Rb8 21. f4 Bd4 22. Kh1 b5 23. cxb5 Qxb5 24. Qxb5 Rxb5 25. b3 a5 26. Rfc1 Kg7 27. Kg2 Kf6 28. Kf3 Rb7 29. g4 g5 30. fxg5 Ke5 31. Ke2 Ke4 32. Rf1 Re7 33. Rf5 Rb7 34. Rbf1 Be5 35. R1f3 a4 36. bxa4 Rb2 37. Kd1 Rb1 38. Kc2 Rb2 39. Kc1 Rxh2 40. a5 Bb2 41. Kb1 Be5 42. a6 Rb2 43. Kc1 Rb6 44. a7 Ra6 45. Rxf7 c4 46. Rh3 Kxd5 47. Rhxh7 Bd4 48. g6 Rxa3 49. g7 Ra1 50. Kd2 Ra2 51. Ke1 Ke4 52. Re7 Be5 53. g8=Q {(Here the live-broadcasting stops. The funny thing is that black has here a perpetual but what really strikes is the wrong intervention of the arbiter. Daniel had promoted but pressed the clock before he put the queen instead of the pawn. I am sure it was not deliberately as I know Daniel always struggles when being very low in time. However in such situation the arbiter should definitely not put the queen himself on the promotion-square. No normally Alain should get 2 extra minutes instead and Daniel should still complete the promotion within his time. In the game Alains flag fell first a few seconds and moves later so Daniel was declared the winner. Winner nor loser were feeling comfortable afterwards.)} 1-0
Both players weren't very happy about their level of play but the unfortunate intervention of the arbiter caused of course a lot of irritation. Everybody makes mistakes but the ones of an arbiter are noticed much quicker and often create also larger problems. In the same context fits also an actual funny article of our Belgian teams on the olympiad.

Earlier I wrote on my blog that chess resembles a sadistic examen but I don't want to uphold this for eating, drinking and toiletvisits. Besides I never went through an exam lasting 4 hours without a break. If we want to preserve standardchess then it is necessary to provide the players enough space not only for just the moves.


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