Oldest Record

Earlier I decided to devote part of this blog to chess. I thought I would begin with my oldest game that I still possess. This happens to be the first-round game of the 2003 Houston Open in my 6th grade, in the scholastic section; the tournament was actually my eighth rated tournament, but I do not have my notation sheets from any of my first seven.

I would like to bore the reader with a history of how I started chess, but then again, it would be boring. I learned how to play in 4th grade; my first rated tournament was in 5th grade. Because that was in early 2003, and because the United States Chess Federation (USCF) was just starting its online player rating tracking system, there were a few minor bugs—in my case, my “first” tournament was actually the third I played in, the 2003 Texas State Scholastic from March 1-2, 2003 (I wish I had the games from this tournament), and this gave me a provisional rating of 1372, which was fairly high to start with.

I don’t know how, but on October 11, 2003, my listed rating at the Houston Open was still 1372 (it should have been 1304). My first round opponent was Joseph C. Wong, at the time rated 853. (Just after the 2010 Texas State Scholastic, my rating is 1806 and his is 1951.)

Li, Sean (1372) – Wong, Joseph (853)

Houston Open, Scholastic. 10/11/2003. Round 1.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4

3. Black to move

The game begins as the Philidor Defense.

3… h6 4. d4 Nc6 5. dxe5 dxe5 6. 0-0 Bd6 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. Re1 0-0 9. Nh4 Bg4 10. f3 Bc8 11. Nf5 Bb4

12. White to move
12. White to move

At this point I decided to sacrifice the dark-squared bishop for two pawns with 12. Bxh6, intending 12… gxh6 13. Nxh6, but I did not anticipate 12… Bxf5. White finishes this combination down a piece for two pawns.

12. Bxh6 Bxf5 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. exf5 Bxc3 15. bxc3 Qxd1 16. Raxd1 Rad8 17. g4 Rxd1 18. Rxd1

18. Black to move

After a number of exchanges, Black has the upper hand.

e4 19. g5 Nh7 20. h4 exf3 21. Kf2 Ne5 22. Bd5 Rd8 23. Bxf3 Rxd1 24. Bxd1 f6 25. g6 Nf8 26. Ke3

26. Black to move

Here Black plays the unfortunate 26… Ng4+, which just loses a knight.

26… Ng4+ 27. Bxg4

27. Black to move

White is is two pawns up and clearly winning after this.

Nd7 28. Bh3 Nb6 29. Kd4 c6 30. Kc5 Nd5 31. c4 Nc3 32. a3 Na4+ 33. Kd6 c5 34. Bg2 b6 35. Kc7 Nb2 36. Bd5 Nd1 37. Kb7 Ne3 38. Be6 Nxc2 39. a4 Ne3 40. Kxa7 Ng2 41. Kxb6 Nxh4 42. a5 Nxg6 43. fxg6 Kxg6 44. a6 f5 45. Bxf5 1-0 (for non-chess players, this means Black resigned)

So, this was not exactly a special game (and the rating gap is huge), but it has symbolic meaning for me.

Move list (contiguous): 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 h6 4. d4 Nc6 5. dxe5 dxe5 6. 0-0 Bd6 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. Re1 0-0 9. Nh4 Bg4 10. f3 Bc8 11. Nf5 Bb4 12. Bxh6 Bxf5 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. exf5 Bxc3 15. bxc3 Qxd1 16. Raxd1 Rad8 17. g4 Rxd1 18. Rxd1 e4 19. g5 Nh7 20. h4 exf3 21. Kf2 Ne5 22. Bd5 Rd8 23. Bxf3 Rxd1 24. Bxd1 f6 25. g6 Nf8 26. Ke3 Ng4+ 27. Bxg4 Nd7 28. Bh3 Nb6 29. Kd4 c6 30. Kc5 Nd5 31. c4 Nc3 32. a3 Na4+ 33. Kd6 c5 34. Bg2 b6 35. Kc7 Nb2 36. Bd5 Nd1 37. Kb7 Ne3 38. Be6 Nxc2 39. a4 Ne3 40. Kxa7 Ng2 41. Kxb6 Nxh4 42. a5 Nxg6 43. fxg6 Kxg6 44. a6 f5 45. Bxf5 1-0

The full game in animation:

2 thoughts on “Oldest Record

  1. I am father of Joseph Wong, thanks for showing the game online.
    Good to hear that you are at Cornell Univ.
    Joseph is in the last year of high school.
    Hope to hear from you in future!

    Like

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