My Biggest Win to Date
After a long break from blogging and only playing sporadically, I am happy to share a game I played in a recent rapid tournament at the Marshall Chess Club. Although it isn't my cleanest win, it is certainly my biggest, taking down a player rated just about 2300 (depending on which list you are looking at). It definitely helped that my opponent arrived at the board a few minutes late! (It was played at a time control of G25/d5)
I present the game below (I am playing White) with light comments. I think it is instructive in a few ways. First, Black could have capitalized on White's slow development in the opening, but did not react the best way and was left with the wrong side of a minor piece battle (Good Knight vs Bad Bishop). I tried my best to press home the minor piece advantage, although I missed a few tactics and almost blew the game.
Unfortunately, I did not follow this game up well; I lost the next three. I blundered in the opening against IM Jay Bonin in the next round because I forgot an opening line and then had insipid play against two players that were rated between 2000 and 2100, missing chances to make a fight of it. In all three cases, I actually got openings in my repertorie, but forgot how to handle the resulting positions. Instead of pushing my rating over 1900, I gained only a few points to match my previous high of 1898.
This experience taught me a few things. First, I can hold my own against very strong players. Second, I can only do this if I am focused and confident, and need a way to compensate for nerves and fatigue that follow a long day at work and the biggest win of my tournament career. I definitely did not play my best in the last three rounds of the tournament, rejecting good moves for which I had an instinct to play because I was too lazy to find a way to make them work. Third, I need to make sure I know my openings, particularily the common tactics and plans, much better. This helped me a lot in the first game, but failed me in the others. One thing is certain; I will not soon again forget moves like Rb1 in the Veresov and Nxd4 in the Scandinavian!
With more training, practice, and tournaments, hopefully I will have more games like this one to post!