Hales Corners Challenge - Made it Over 1700!

Oct 23, 2011, 7:08 AM |

Had another good tournament result yesterday.  Played in a local event, the Hales Corners Challenge XIV.  This is a four round G/60 tournament sponsored by the Southwest Chess Club, of which I am a member.

Due to the fact that the first round started at 10:00am but I had to work until noon I had to take a half point bye in the first round.

As I was leaving work to make the 30 minute drive for the second round which began at 1:00pm someone set the alarm off.  So I had to wait for the cops and give them a statement.  So I was thinking my frame of mind for chess might not be optimal.

My second round game seemed to have some dynamic imbalances, but when all was said and done I could execute any of the threats I saw without walking into a combination, and my opponent couldn't ignore my threats without losing material.


Since this game was relatively quick and I had about 50 minutes left until the next round I decided to have a quick lunch.  I was hungry and didn't want to have to play my next round game on an empty stomach since I was likely to be paired up (at 1660 I was one of the lower rated players in the open section).

After lunch I checked out the pairings and saw that indeed I would be playing up.  My opponent was a long time local player rated 1905.  I know he plays G/30 almost constantly, so I knew that he would not be phased by the shorter time controls.

I played badly in the opening and dropped a pawn.  I then settled down and decided to just dig in and try to hold my ground as best I could.  I managed to get him to double his g pawns after which point I assumed I could hold the draw. 

For my final round game I assumed that with 1.5 out of 3 I would again be paired up quite a bit.  I was not disappointed as my opponent was rated 1972. 
Before the game I was saying that I wanted a result.  Of the last 13 game I had played I had two wins, one loss, and 10 draws.  Granted, only two of those draws were against lower rated players (one of whom was only 50 points lower rated - the other was about 190 points) while the majority were against players rated 150-300 points higher.  Still, it gets old after a while...
Lately I've been playing the French Defense as I've been learning it.  However, the only lines I know for Black are the Winawer and the Rubenstein.  My opponent played 3. Nd2 but since I don't know any lines in the Tarrasch I played 3...exd4 to enter into the Rubenstein.  My opponent seemed wholly unfamiliar with this as he spent about 15 minutes on the first few moves of the game. 
I wound up with a better position when my opponent played the greek bishop sacrifice.  However, I had calculated that I could wiggle out of an immediate mating threat by bring my king to g6.  I haven't analysed this game at all, so I feel certain that there must be something I missed. 
In any case, an exciting struggle ensued.  My opponent eventually sacrificed another piece which was completely dubious and the game quickly ended.
And with this win my rating went from 1660 to 1721, which is the highest it's ever been.
I stopped playing in 1992 and didn't play another game until January 2011.  My goal at the beginning of the year was to get to 1600 by the end of this year, and then to 1800 by the end of 2012.  Right now I seem to be exceeding that goal beyond my wildest dreams.