by Elizabeth Vicary
"The ponies run; the girls are young; the odds are
there to beat. You risk it all, and then it's done:
your little winning streak"
-- Leonard Cohen
You know how you can feel really tense and really
exhausted at the same time? That's me right now.
Unfortunately, my normal solution, the jacuzzi, has no
water inside and yellow tape around it. So instead I
guess I'm writing my first blog entry.
Shall we start with the games? OK, so Jenn wrote
that the first round against Battsetseg was drawish,
which I think is just wrong.
Aren't I basically
totally winning?! I thought she could hardly do
anything, then when I played Rc7 I realized Nxg5 was
coming... oh god, activity. But really, she's not
better there is she? I haven't looked at the game yet,
so maybe I'll discover I misunderstood everything, but
I doubt it. Point is that I really suck to have lost
Then Airapetian... probably my worst played game,
I couldnt sit still at all.
Luckily she got in massive
time pressure and started making mistakes. Going over
the game afterwards was ridiculous. First of all,
she's an exceptionally, outrageously nice person (She
noticed I was missing my necklace and offered to stop
the clock so I could go to my room and get it.)
Second, she clearly understood the game better than I
did. The analysis consisted of her patiently
explaining the ideas of the Ruy Lopez to me. Ok, but
always its nice to win a game.
Then this Nimzo with Irina.
I know you all thought
I was lost out of the opening. I didn't, but that
might be because I'm almost always stupidly optimistic
about my positions. After the game she asked me where
I thought I went wrong and I said "Oh, well, I didn't
think ...b5 was totally correct, but I thought it
needed to be played." Ready for my big let down?
Turns out she thought ...f4 in the opening was the
real problem, and after that I'm lost. My coach, Dave
Vigorito, just called and said I totally misunderstood
the position and needed to play Bg4 instead of ...Ne8.
A quick word about Dave-- if anyone is looking for
lessons, let me say he is a phenomenally great
teacher. I had been 1900/2000 for maybe ten years when
I started working with him. Basically I'd given up any
hope of getting better. And then in 8 months of
lessons I was 2150. So anyway, he's "fluffy" on icc (I
know, dorky handle, but I think it's his old cat's
What else? Today there is a weight watchers
convention going on next door to the tournament room.
I guess nowhere is safe from the insistent voice of
culture. Speaking of which I'm reading an awesome
book, IV by Chuck Klosterman. It's both entertaining
and I keep thinking "yeah, that's true, I wouldnt have
thought of it." Great essay on culture, which is why I
thought of it, in which he points out "Most people
don't merely want to *hold* their values; they want
their values *to win*" Maybe that seems trite and
nonhilarious out of context, but it's a great essay.
I have a lot more to say, but somehow there is no
time here, and I should go over my preparation for
I feel like this is going to be the longest
tournament of my life; I can't believe only three
games are done. But I'm pretty cheerful today, much
better then yesterday when I felt like a zombie.
Other things I'm enjoying: a great new Interpol
album called Our Love to Admire, the tournament staff,
who are a lot of fun, the Subway in the gas station
next door, which is my main source of food. Things I'm
not enjoying: the ever-present flies. It feels like a
sinister bad movie in which someone will kill me in my
sleep and then the flies will descend.