Experience Versus Youth

Article by Phil Morgan

The Major Section in the Nottingham Rapidplay offers an opportunity for talented, rising juniors to test their play against toughened, experienced competitors, who they are unlikely to face in League chess.

This year Taylor Pearson, Armaan Googia, Suzie Wang and Lavanya Malakdr from West Nottingham took on this challenge.

In Round 1 I played Lavanya and on the next board Suzie faced Drag Sudar. We were very impressed by each girl’s play. Drag confirmed that Suzie may have stood better in her game, although in searching for the best lines, she started to fall behind on the clock. Drag maintained the tension in the position, and under time pressure Suzie produced an error which led to her defeat. Drag saw that his win was achieved essentially by his experience, know-how and Game Management.

Not all Oldies exercise good game management skills. Against Lavanya , I had a big positional and time edge, but I did the very opposite of what was needed. I released all the tension in the position by trading off pieces, and the position quickly simplified into a drawn rook-ending, in which my edge on time no longer mattered.

Drag’s Game Management stood him well throughout the day. He saw off rival Daniel Jazdewski of Newark and finished as joint-winner of the Section with Armaan Googia as they drew their individual game. There was no way of splitting the 2 best players on the day, who carried the torch for Youth and Experience.

It is sometimes assumed that Rapidplay favours the chances of the quicker-thinking junior player. I now realise that the Rapid format can be used to advantage by a shrewd, experienced player deploying well-developed game management skills.

Suzie and Lavanya could have competed in the lower Intermediate Section, but I suspect their participation in this year’s Major has better promoted their educative experience in chess. There is no gain without pain.. Six games in a day is a tiring experience, for young or old. It exposes where one’s game is at, and the areas requiring improvement.

Next year my Mantra will be Game Management. The girls especially will be more competitive, but we’re unlikely to have to face Drag or Armaan, whose wins may cost them their Under 160 eligibility.