Skip Navigation Links
MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 The Boston University Open – A Personal Recollection
 Richard “Doc” Kinne
  November 2011

In the three years I’d been living in Boston I’d never had occasion to step onto the Boston University campus. The week of 1 November would give me two opportunities in quick succession when my old graduate advisor fl ew in to lecture the Boston University Department of Astronomy...and when I attended my fi rst Boston University Open. 

I’d been looking particularly forward to the Boston University Open nearly since my return to chess in July of this year after an 11 year “vacation.” Everyone who mentioned the tournament praised it and its site. Oh, Boston’s chess tournaments, by and large, are well sited, don’t get me wrong. Most of my tournaments have been at the Boylston Chess Club, which has a cozy, crowded, homey style. The rest have been in very traditional hotel venues. These are good and convenient, but of necessity somewhat sterile. BU Open’s venue immediately reminded me of the tournament hall at the East Syracuse-Minoa school cafeteria where I’d grown up in the early 80s under Tournament Directors Joe Ball and Bob Nasiff, but upgraded for the 21st century – half tournament hall, half mall food court!
Immediately there was an excited vibe in the air as many of the chess players I’d met across Boston in the last few months fi ltered in. At the head of the table, processing an increasing tide of Boston players, were Chief Arbiter Bernardo Iglasias, assisted by BU Dean & Chess Club Advisor Robert Oresick. The player’s side was represented by veterans such as Chris Chase, Natasha Christiansen, Jason Rihel, newcomers such as Maurice Chalonec and Domenic Festa, and even an international visitor, Marco Falasca from Italy and Britain. All in all the 2011 Boston University Open attained Category B status drawing 101 players!
My 1st round was against Domenic Festa for whom the BU Open was his fi rst tournament. It is unusual for me to get a 1st round win, but I managed it. Domenic & I walked out of the tournament hall and into the food court, exchanged a few nice words about the game, and I went back in to record the result. As I did so I looked at the wall chart that Bernardo and Robert had managed to get up during the fi rst round. Domenic was listed with a 1524 rating. What? I tracked him down in the food court and asked him, if this was his fi rst tournament, how did he have a 1524 rating? “Oh,” he said, “Those are rated games with my friends at the club.” OK, I’d just beaten a 1500 class player (apparently). At this point I’m rated 1093. I was going to have a heart attack!
The 2nd round with Sean Blaisdell (1470) was more regular. I lost, but I played a good game. I ended up misplaying an attack on move 19, basically, but the game was free of complete blunders.
In the 3rd round I ended up delivering a mating attack against Marco Falasca, our visitor from Italy, whom Bernardo had rated 1412 or so. My brain was reeling as I went into the 4th round with Eric Hu (1387). It was one of my most memorable games. I present it here with some comments (you certainly cannot call them annotations!)
Eric Hu 1387
Richard “Doc” Kinne 1093
Boston University Open 2011 (4)
[C60] Ruy Lopez
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 This was one of my fi rst learned openings. I’d gone to Queen Pawn openings back in the 80s, but played King Pawn openings during this tournament. I may have to continue that! 5.O-O Bc5 6.Re1 O-O 7.Bxc6 dxc6 Here, obviously, the recapture was needed. The only reason I mention it is that for the last couple of months I’d been doing exchanges just because they didn’t lose me material. I’ve learned to avoid that so here it was Eric that initiated this exchange. He ends up winning a pawn, but computer analysis still seems to make the position roughly equal. 8.Nxe5 Qd4
9.Nd3? Wanting to protect f2, but it allows Black a strong attack. Bg4 10.Re2 Bxe2 11.Qxe2 Nxe4 12.c3 Qc4 13.b3 Bxf2+ 14.Kf1 Qb5 White seems to recover. 15.Qxe4 Rfe8 16.Qf3 Re7 17.Kxf2 Rae8 Now White has the upper hand. 18.Nf4 g5 19.a4 Qe5 20.Qe3 gxf4 21.Qxe5 Rxe5
Computer analysis now shows an equal position, but I liked this for Black due to the control of the e-fi le. 22.Na3 Rf5 23.d4 Kg7 24.Kf3 Re1 25.Kf2 Re6 26.Nc2 Rh6 27.h3 Rg6 28.Ra2 Rg3 29.Ne1 Rxc3 30.Bb2 Re3 31.d5+ Kg6 32.dxc6 bxc6 33.Nf3 Rd5 34.Bc1 Rxb3 35.Bxf4 c5 36.Bxc7 c4 37.Ne5+ Kg7 38.Nxc4 Rf5+ 39.Ke2 Rc3 About here, for only the 4th time since I started playing in 1978, I offered Eric a draw. I fi gured that while he was a pawn up, we’d just be doing a lot of moving. I was wrong. 40.Ne3 Rg5 41.Bf4 Rgc5 42.Bd6 Rc6? 43.Be5+ It’s not a draw now! Kg6 44.Bxc3 Rxc3 45.Kd2 Rc5 46.Rb2 f5 47.Rb6+ Kg5 48.Rxa6 f4 49.Ng4 Rf5 50.Nf6 h5 51.Ne4+ Kh4 52.a5 f3 53.gxf3 Rxf3 54.Rf6 Ra3 55.a6 Kxh3 56.Nc5 Ra5 57.Ne4 h4 58.Rh6 Kg4 59.Rg6+ Kh3 60.Rf6 Kg2 61.Rf2+ Kg1 62.Rf4 h3 Amazing how things can change. 63.Ng3 Rxa6 64.Rh4 h2 65.Ne2+ Kg2 66.Nf4+
About here Eric offers me a draw. He says, “I think its going to end up as Rook vs Rook, which is a draw.” I thought about it for a second, but elected to play on. Kg3 67.Rh3+ Kxf4 68.Rxh2 Ra2+! 0-1 The lesson here? As a few friends have said to me, at this level of play, (almost) never say die!
I had three points. I’d beaten folks way above my rating. I could see my rating rising to 1400, maybe even gaining a Category 3 norm! I felt like I was gonna throw up. I was sorta glad I no longer had a car.
When I was last really active in the early 90s TDs submitted tourney reports via mail and you’d see your updated rating two months later on your “Chess Life” mailing label. Today, it’s far different. By the time I got home the tourney was rated and I looked at the crosstable...and I learned the difference between pre and post ratings, and established and provisional ratings. It turns out that this had been Domenic’s first tournament and that his 1524 rating had been based on two games. Something similar was true for Marcos. I’d not beaten people 400 points higher than I was, but 100 points lower. So, no norms, but I’d garnered nearly 100 rating points and at 1180 my rating was now one point higher than it had been when I’d walked into the Boylston Chess Club that late July after not picking up a piece in 11 years. The BU Open was one of the best results of my life and I was on my way up!
Here are the results from the 2011 Boston University Open: