On Trax


On Trax
The New Zealand Trax Association Newsletter. Issue: 12

A Commentary

Carole Plante
A misclick. Can you lose a championship title with a misclick? Maybe...

In game 8, with the score at Dan (Pless) 4 and Donald (Bailey) 3, after 10 minutes playing, Dan misclicked, giving the game to Donald. From the beginning of the Challenge Match until this game, Dan had a strong psychological advantage over his opponent. He had to battle to win the right of Challenger (see his games with Carl Johan Ragnarsson) and that gave him excellent practice for the Challenge Match. Meanwhile, Donald had to sit and wait. The difference in form was obvious in the three first games, all won by Dan.

In fact, the advantage began to change from Dan to Donald started one game earlier, in game 7. It was a kind of "struggle for life". This "long" game took almost 2 hours and 46 turns where Dan tried to block a pair of back-to-back Ls from move 22. The game was almost coming back to a neutral postion when Donald again played a passive move creating two independant threats that Dan could not block succesfully.

At this level of skill, psychological advantage can make the difference between a loss or a win. Game 9 is a good example of that. Dan - after loosing a game with a misclick - was playing more defensively than usual, letting Donald take the initiative of the play. Donald's move 18 was not expected from any spectators or even from Dan I guess. Either defense was a sure black win. Can you win a championship title with a move? Maybe...

Although it would be unfair to reduce the win or the loss to one move played, this shows how quickly the wind can change direction when both players have similar skills.

Both players have put all their mind and energy into those games, and this is why their games were so interesting to watch and to comment for a relative "newbie" like myself. (I have only been playing for 1½ years, compared with the 20 years that Trax has existed.) Thanks to David (Smith) who brought his imaginative and clever comments during these games to give a better understanding for the spectators.

As the referee for the Challenge Match I didn't have much to do, since both players behaved as the gentlemen they are. Luckily we didn't get disconnected at any time. That what I was worrying about a bit, a disconnection would have broken the focus of the players.

It seems that the "online" 2000 World Championship was a success. I would like to invite all players who would be interested to enter the next one - 2001 - to signup. Details in the Upcoming Tournaments part of this OnTrax issue.

But for now, let's all give applause to the 2000 Trax World Champion, Donald Bailey!

Carole Plante
Match Referee
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