MacIsaac National Rapidplay Championship, Adam Smith Theatre Kirkcaldy
Had a good day at the Adam Smith Theatre today (Saturday 13th May 2017).
On a dreary Saturday morning I arrived outside the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy for the MacIsaac Rapidplay to be greeted by the buzz of the media, reporters and a tv van no less. I wondered who could be playing to merit such a media frenzy but, alas it was for the benefit of Gordon Brown MP and friends.
To the serious chess business, which I found in the downstairs hall. The facilities could not be better. The venue was a spacious comfortable hall served by a nice wee café in the foyer, and if fresh air was needed just across the road there was another café in the Kirkcaldy Central Library. Sadly attendance was quite low, but this did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance, players or organisers.
This was my first tournament for a number of years, therefore I was quite nervous. Knowing my battle wouldn’t be my opponents but my own ability to stay calm and calculate I had resolved to stay true to my main lines and focus on the board rather than the player, I think it served me well.
I am a fan of one day events, especially if they are in my local area. The reality of modern life for some folk is they can’t either travel far or commit to multi – day tournaments.
It was no surprise that my first round game was against Calum McGillivray the highest rated player in the Major. I played well up to a point with the Nimzo Larsen Attack.
In this position if I had made a basic move (g3 or h3) I would have not collapsed as I did after Kf1??. I refused to be depressed by this, after all I was outgraded by 1000 points. This was for me a good indication of how I was playing.
Round two saw me playing Lee Bishop from Edinburgh in a hard fought French Defence. I castled queenside and managed to achieve a handy attack for the win in the nick of time before my queenside collapsed.
Round three found me playing the French again for a draw this time against Graham Wilson. Round four gave me a bye and time to rest before facing young James Hartman in the final round on board one. This young lad had been playing some nice chess all day impressing all us oldies, now it was my turn. I opened up again with the Nimzo Larsen Attack which caught him out at first, losing his Kings Rook and being forced to exchange queens early. But to his credit he fought back and won the game.
On reflection for me it was a good return to tournament chess with a grading performance that bodes well for the new season ahead. All the players owe a debt of gratitude to the guys from Chess Scotland for providing an enjoyable day of chess.