The ND State Championship
Since starting college this past fall, I've been up at NDSU in Fargo. As such, I've become a part of the small but wonderful North Dakota chess community. This past weekend was my first attempt at the state championship. With the top player in the tournament a little under 2100, and my own rating at 1730 going in, I considered myself a long shot but not completely out of the picture. Here are my five games, with some comments as well. Feel free to give feedback on my play.
My round 1 opponent was much lower rated than I. She played fairly well until her self-destruction by repetitively playing Qg5. Also, she resigned 2 moves before a smothered mate. It's not every day you get those, and that's actually my first forced smothered mate in tournament play.
I got extremely lucky as he fell for the most deadly trap in the kopec system. He closed the position down though and defended well. It took a long time to break through, as that happened with 31. c5.
A disappointing loss for sure. I felt I was at least equal for most of the game, if not a little better. He played very well and easily outmaneuvered me towards the end of the game and set up a nice trick to restrain my 3 kingside pawns while threatening the skewer, which I missed. This was to be my only loss of the tournament.
After going 2/3 the first day, I was ready for the final 2 rounds, which were sure to be competitive as ever.
Wasting the tempo with Bg5 proved costly, as it also sets up mate threats. After the forced queen trade, Preston gentlemanly resigned rather than burn up both of our time. So now I was 3/4 going into the final round.
So now I was 3/4 going into the final round. There were 2 people at 4/4 (They both finished 4.5/5, tied for 1st/2nd), but a crowd of 12, (yes 12 players out of 46 total) who were at 3/4. It would be very exciting.
He offered a draw here! After playing for a win the whole game, I was well down on time and on the verge of collapse. Instead of Ra8 towards the end, Rxh6 with Rh3 to follow should have held the draw. I was very lucky to steal the half point from this game, bringing my final total to 3.5/5, giving me a tie for 7th-10th place. Not too shabby, but definitely room to improve on for next year.
Also, thanks to Todd and Vicki Wolf for running a great tournament!