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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1975 Eastern Open

     It's rare...this is one of the few tournaments where all of my games scores have survived (+2 -2 =1). Back in these days the Eastern Open was a major tournament with a lot of strong players participating especially since it was held in Washington DC, right downtown as I recall.
     Round one saw me winning with a nice speculative sacrifice (Nxf7) to dig out my opponent's uncastled King. In round 2 I lost quickly (in 20 moves) when my opponent (playing white) discombobulated me with 1.c3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Qa4+. I was doing OK, but was overconfident because of his opening choice and at move 16 played a completely unsound sacrifice. Round 3 was the loss featured in this post. Round 4 was a draw; I thought I was better the whole game, but just couldn't find a win. In the last round, as white, I faced the Ruy Lopez Marshall Attack and got an inferior position, but my opponent mishandled the ending which gave me an even score for the tournament. Unfortunately I don't remember who was playing as far as big names were concerned, but what I do remember was the hotel, not the name of it, but the experience. 
     They had a counter for breakfast and sandwiches. When you sat down there was no waitress, just the guy behind the counter who did the cooking.  He never acknowledged you. You shouted out what you wanted, "Black coffee, scrambled eggs and toast." for example, if that's what you wanted for breakfast. Pretty soon it would appear. There was also a Chinese restaurant.
     What I remember most was my last game finished early Sunday evening so rather than spend another night and leave Monday morning what with the traffic and all, I decided to check out Sunday evening. The desk clerk told me to see the guy outside about getting my car which the hotel had parked in a garage someplace. So, I went outside and told the guy I wanted my car and he said I could not get it until Monday morning; the parking garage was closed. I explained that I was checked out of the hotel and had no place to go and I needed my car. I ended up sitting on the sidewalk with my suitcase for about an hour while waiting for someone to come and retrieve my car. I was never exactly sure of what was going on, but the guy kept telling me not to worry. Finally some guy pulled up with my car; he had a bad attitude.
     Then, trying to find my out of downtown, I kept seeing the big green sign to the road I wanted, but kept missing it because of all the one way streets. After several tries, I gave up and decided that if I just drove north, then at some point I would be out of the city and able to better get my bearings to the Interstate. That turned out not to be the case! I ended up driving through mile after mile of residential streets with a 25 mile per hour speed limit. Then the street I was on dead ended at a river and the only way across was a ferry and it was closed until Monday morning! To this day I have no idea where I was, but I ended up driving east and eventually hit an entrance ramp to I-495 and got out of town.  It was late, I was tired, angry and frustrated and just wished I had never played in the Eastern Open.

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