Last night I visited the local chess club. I never was there before, except to look around.
I didn't come to play. Over the board is new to me and the advertized time controls are too fast. I just wanted to watch and learn. But they where one participant short of making and even number so I joined anyway.
We were using the club's new digital clocks, the state of the art DGT 2010 model. To make use of its advanced features the time control was 10 minutes plus 5 seconds increment per move. In the end, nobody understood how to set the Fisher increment, though, so the time control was changed to 12 minutes.
The first game I lost to a kid. I played the Caro-Kann and he played the Panov Attack. I struggled a bit with visualizing tactics, not being used to the live board. I got a passed pawn on the a-file which I pushed. When it got blocked on the seventh rank I supported it with all I had. In the end I opened up too much and he got connected passed pawns on the queen side. I resigned when it was clear that one of them would promote. It would have been mate in a couple of more moves.
In the second game my oppoent played 1.d4 and I played the Leningrad Dutch. The game was quite even for a while. Then I had to play faster as my time ran low. Soon I was a couple of pawns behind and in the end I lost on time. He had unstoppable passed pawns anyway.
In the third game I was white. My opponent played Sicilian. I played the Closed Sicilan. The position was quite even. Then my opponent didn't see that he was in check and made an illegal move. He thought an illegal move was an automatic loss during a blitz game. A kibbitzer said no, I should have two extra minutes on my clock. We were using the club's new digital clocks, though, and nobody knew how to add time on them. I said that I didn't know the rules, I just played. So we played. Then a few moves later my opponent offered a draw. I accepted, realizing I would have lost on time.
The fourth game I was white and played the Vienna Gambit. My opponent correctly declined by playing 3...d5. Yet I got the initiative a couple of moves later as he didn't know the right answer to 5.d3. I built a powerful attack with all my pieces. Then I got overambitious and blundered a piece after an exchange sac. I was mated in a few more moves.
In the fifth game I played Caro-Kann again. I got a very bad position early on as my opponent played a variation I didn't know. My pieces were all locked in and uncoordinated and my king was stuck in the center. Then my opponent blunderd a horse as he was too occupied with capturing my queen. After that I got a nice attack and actually mated him. My opponent was quite annoyed with being beating by a beginner it seemed.
It was a nice experience. Playing live people sitting in front of you is quite different from sitting in front of a computer. More social in a way. And the people were really cool.