Yesterday we were supposed to be at the stadium at 6pm for the 6:30 games. I left the apartment at 4pm and right away at LM I saw Dario and his female friend working on a crossword puzzle. After talking to them I saw Augusto having a business discussion (he’s an accountant, remember) with the owner of SanJote. We made plans (again) to meet tomorrow morning to play chess. I had the shish kebab and a mango juice at San Jote for 13mil.
A text message I received from the news department quoted Santos (the president) as saying “With infrastructure and peace, the economy grew 7%”.
I left LM at 5pm and walked south to Calle 35 where I saw a bus just leaving. About 5 minutes later another arrived. (One of the restaurants we drove past is named Oye Bonita. Now I know “bonita” means “beautiful” and in the movies I noticed that everytime someone says “hey” in English they translate it to “oye” so the restaurant’s name is “hey beautiful”.) The bus stopped for a couple minutes in the rush hour traffic which gave us time to watch a man feeding birds (they looked like swallows) by throwing pieces of bread up in the air for them to catch with the pigeons picking up the pieces they missed. As we were coming down the west side of the Stadium we heard a noise like the bus hit something. Sitting in the last seat I looked out the back window and saw a large broken off branch but nothing in the street. I think he just got too close to the curb and probably scraped the bus against a previously broken branch. Anyway, he stopped the bus, got out and walked around the bus but didn’t appear to see any damage. In 15 minutes (rush hour) I was at the northwest corner of the stadium and a short walk later I was at the Paul Keres chess center.
Of course I was there at 5:30, 30 minutes early. First order of business was to find out what the time control is. In America I remember playing 40/2 most often where you had to make 40 moves in 2 hours and there are faster tournaments like 30/1 where you had to make 30 moves in 1 hour. I finally found Oscar who told me the time control is 1 hour for the whole game – although each time you make a move the clock adds 3 seconds to your total time.
While I was waiting the only ladies I saw there seemed to be girlfriends and not chess players but as the games began I did see a few ladies playing.
Finally just before 7pm they put up the pairings. My opponent had a rating of 1902. My last rating when I played in the States was 1693. When there is a 200 point difference in the ratings statistically the lower rated player only has something like a 4% chance of winning. (Because of that if the higher rated player wins (as he should) then the higher rated player only gains something like 4 points and the lower rated player loses only 4 points. If the lower rated player should win then the higher rated player loses something like 30 points and the lower rated player gains 30. At least that’s as I remember it.)
One interesting thing is that the chair I was sitting in waiting for them to put up the pairings is exactly where I ended up sitting for my game. At least I had white because I have an opening I try to use but I’m pretty lost when it comes to black. I opened pawn to king 4 and he opened pawn to queen bishop 5 – the Sicilian defense (the most popular defense against my opening move). My next move was also pawn to queen bishop 4 so right away, being the stronger player, he knew this was going to be a fight for control of the queen pawn 5 square.
At one point in the middle of the game he had 6 pieces and pawns attacking that square and I had 6 defending it. At that point I was pretty tied up not knowing what to move next. He finally moved his queen from attacking that square and I move one of my rooks off to threaten the rook pawn next to his king. Then things opened up quickly with the exchanging of pawns and pieces and I attacked his rook with my knight. What he must not have seen is on my next move I could move my knight a different direction and fork his king and queen. A couple moves later I pushed my queen down and checked his king. When the king moved I took his rook pawn with my rook threatening mate in 1 and he resigned. At that point I had 18 minutes left on my clock and he had over an hour – which shows you how quickly he was making his decisions.
One problem with winning against a stronger player is that my next game most likely isn’t going to be any easier.
As often happens when I feel I am taking control over the game my hands started shaking for the last few moves. I reported my win to the TD (tournament director) and finally they wrote down my rating of 1693. I sat back down in my chair for a few minutes and a young lady (pretty of course) came up to me with a big fancy camera and asked to take my picture for some bulletin. She also asked me for a caption for the photo and I said “the goal is to get better”. In hindsight I should have said “the goal is to play your best”.
Since the game ended so early I was able to catch a bus back instead of having to pay for a taxi. Just as I was approaching the bus stand from a distance a bus pulled up and of course I thought I’d missed another one but for some reason he sat there for a couple of minutes giving me just enough time to get to it.
On the way home I saw a (very small) store on Calle 35 named “El Gran Cañon” which I guess is “the grand canyon”.
I got off the bus at Calle 35 & Carrera 83A and in 5 minutes I was back at the apartment.
To celebrate I decided to watch a movie on Netflix so I watched the 2011 movie Margin Call (7.1) starring Kevin Spacey. Per Netflix: “An Analyst uncovers information that could destroy his employer in this drama about an investment bank in the early days of the 2008 financial crisis.”
I went to bed at 11:30 but didn’t sleep well all night finally getting up about 7am.
For breakfast I walked over to Fresco Pan and had a cup of coffee and a croissant from Andrea for 1,600 pesos (84 cents). Their croissants aren’t as good as Los Mejores but the location is closer. I stopped at the Tinto store and had another cup of coffee hoping to be able to chat a little with Gonzalo but only Maria was there. I talked to her a little and I communicated to her that I am still looking for a girlfriend – only one - but a special one. Maybe she’ll pass the message on to her sister Patricia.
Then I went to LM and called Augusto but he said he has to work today. I guess I can’t make too much out of his saying “let’s play chess tomorrow”. Is this an example of Colombiano Tiempo? I saw Harry and he said he has to go back to Guatemala to try to sell his office and his apartment. He mentioned he has heart arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) that he takes medicine for.
For lunch I decided to try Pizza Americana a couple blocks north of my apartment. It’s time I tried some new places. I dropped off my chess bag and headed over there but it was closed. Now I see on their flyer they are only open 4pm to 10pm weekdays and noon to 10pm on weekends. I went back to my apartment and called Dario who said he would be at LM at 2pm.
For lunch I had a burger with crispy onions for 4mil (with BK coupon) and a medium Pepsi for 3900 for a total of 7,900 ($4.16). I didn’t want a lot of food because I’ll be eating again about 5pm.
Dario showed up right at 2pm but informed me he has a business meeting with a couple men in a few minutes but I had time to show him my win from last night. We also played a quick game which he won.
On my way past Viva I noticed workmen taking down the large vertical “!” signs on the outside of the mall.
As I was walking back to my apartment I saw Bob talking to someone at the corner store.
BTW, my Nook book Executive Decision is 1,238 pages long, 2 pages longer than my previous long read.
My next game is tonight at 6:30 and they are more likely to start on time tonight but still I don’t think I need to leave the apartment before 5pm.