This section of my web page deals with the first (and so far only) chess tournament that I have ever played in. I was on vacation in NJ for the first time in 6 years and I very much wanted to visit all those places in NY that I never visited when I was living in NJ. I used to live in a small city called Union City and going to New York was something that I would do from time to time. I had visited already Shea Stadium which is the home of the New York Mets, and I had already visited the Museum of Natural History so I wanted to visit the Manhattan Chess Club since I never had before. I was expecting that visiting the Manhattan Chess Club was going to be something very special, especially now that I have a keen interest in chess. While I enjoyed chess as a kid, I had stopped playing it for a long time and have only recently begun to start playing again.

I remember seeing the Manhattan Chess Club mentioned in the movie, Searching for Bobby Fisher, and I was expecting to be playing in a room as large as the one that was shown in the movie. But it was not the same room as the one that they showed in the movie. It seems the club has only recently moved to the New Yorker Hotel and it has been given a somewhat small and cramp area in my opinion. I was a bit disappointed at first in the physical size of the club but what the club lacked in physical size, it more than made up for with its rich history and the incredible number of pictures that were everywhere on the walls. Everywhere you looked there were several pictures posted and a lot of famous chess players were listed all over the place. There are pictures of some of them from when they used to play in the club.

I had brought my digital camera with me (a Kodak DC240i) to the tournament and took as many interesting pictures as I could and I have placed them on this web page for all to enjoy. For the record, I did enter the under 1300 tournament on December 24 2000. At first there was a bit of confusion as to the number of games that was supposed to be played and the duration of the games themselves. The club has a internal calendar that they use to indicate what tournaments are being run on any given day and the type / duration of the tournament. At first they wanted the tournament to be only 4 games at 45 minute intervals. I pointed out to them that their ad in Chess Life indicated that the tournament was supposed to be 5 rounds with the interval being 30 minutes per game. Since it was posted in Chess Life and I did have my December 2000 Chess Life with me, they had to go with the one that was listed in the magazine.

Good thing that I did have my December Chess Life with me. I would not have been able to play 4 games at 45 minutes per player since I was having someone picking me up when it was done and I would have been forced to probably forfeit the last game otherwise since I had only accounted for the games using the interval time listed in the magazine. As it was, I actually got to play in 4 games (I got a bye in one of the rounds), and only managed to win the last game by the skin of my teeth so even though I did perform poorly overall in the main tournament, I did enjoy myself despite the poor play on my part.

It was also a great deal of fun playing speed chess just before the start of the main tournament. I got to play with a lot of the other visitors at the club while we were waiting for more players to show up to make sure that there was going to be sufficient enough players for the section. I even got to play a 2100 player who works at the club who was nice enough to allow me to go in early and take pictures before the club was officially open. The club opened officially at 11:00 a.m. and I had arrived early at 9 a.m. since I did not know when it opened. He allowed me to enter the club at around 10 a.m. and after he was done with some necessary club paperwork, he asked me if I wanted to play a couple of 5 minute speed games with him. I almost managed to draw him in the first game! He pointed out a line in the end game where I could have drawn with opposite color bishops. I consider this game a victory for myself since he did technically win the actual game between us, when you consider my rating compared to his, I really did well just to reach a position where I could have drawn him. I wasn't as lucky in the second game that we played where I had the black pieces. There he cleaned up, but he was a very nice person and I just wish I could remember his name to thank him for allowing me to take pictures before everyone else appeared at the club.

The only problem I had of course with playing speed chess before the start of the main tournament was the fact that I started playing in blitz mode in the actual 30 minute games. Perhaps I was nervous at being at my first tournament and felt more comfortable playing blitz and maybe it was due to my lack of experience on proper time management, but I kept on doing playing speed chess except for at the end of the tournament. I have noticed that I tend to think at a superficial level and fall into a lot of tactical traps when I play speed chess and this has caused me to get in trouble. I did get close to actually winning two of those disastrous early games on time since I got both players under 5 minutes but they managed to find winning lines at the last minute. As a result of this, I no longer play blitz games at all to try to overcome this tendency of purely superficial thinking.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable tournament overall and if I am ever in NY again, I plan to play in another tournament and hopefully I will do better than I did this first time. Enjoy the pictures!

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