Game 4 from the Continental Chess Open

Aug 11, 2014, 2:01 PM |

Unfortunately, I spent more than an hour setting up my review for game 3 to post here, but then I remembered that I screwed up the annotation during the game, so the move orders are completely disorganized and incorrect. All I can say is what happened..

I was playing a 1620 player, Lou Saltaformaggio, as white, a veteran chess player who's been playing for over 40 years. Because he played as black, he got to choose his board and clock. He had really weird looking pieces and he was using an analog clock. The problem with analog clocks is that you can't use increment with them, and that it's difficult to tell how much time you really have when you're looking at the clock on an angle.

He played the hippopotamus as black and allowed me to expand effortlessly in the center with c4 d4 e4.. I even played a4 and b4 later in the game. At some point in the game, I completely hallucinated and lost a piece. Ever since then I did everything I could to keep the position closed. I closed the position up completely on the queenside, which kept his c8 bishop and a8 rook completely out of the game. It got to a point where even though I was down a piece, there were no ways to open up the position, so no real progress could be made.

We exchanged queens and then he sacrificed a pawn and later his light-squared bishop to keep the game alive. We were even on material, but my pawns were so dangerous on the queenside that I was better. It was an even pawn rook vs rook endgame , which usually means a draw, but my advanced pawns and superior king position helped me gain the initiative. 

With no increment, we were around move 55. I had less than three minutes, he had less than ten. I basically had to blitz every move and managed to win the game by promoting my pawn two tempi before he was about to promote his and he resigned. The game was absolute chaos, and a bunch of other players hovered around us watching our game. I went from dead lost to dead won, but it was mentally draining. 

Okay, so I had about an hour before my 4th game of the day was about to start.  I was 3/3 at this point and a few others were as well, so I got to play one of the undefeated players of the tournament, Peter Teodorescv. 

The time controls for the previous 3 games were 40 minutes + 10 second increment, game 3 was an unfortunate exception because my opponent was too much of a traditionalist to use a normal and practical tournament clock.. haha. Game 4 switched to classical uscf time controls, being 1 hour and 50 minutes + 10 second increment, and after 40 moves you get an extra 40 minutes. This game went on for more than 4 hours..

At this stage in the game my rating was around 1706, and my opponent's was around 1700.