My First Classical Tournament In 6 Months: Winning The March Open ©

My First Classical Tournament In 6 Months: Winning The March Open

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After six months of limited activity over the board, I had the pleasure of playing in the March Open classical tournament held in the coastal suburb of Rothwell in Brisbane, Australia.

The event was a 6-round Swiss weekender with a $2,500AUD prize pool and I was excited to enter as the top seed with a $1,000AUD prize for first place. The tournament attracted 47 other players, some of whom were significantly underrated due to a smaller player pool in the region.

A snapshot of the entry list

With a number of Australia's most prestigious tournaments scheduled to take place in the coming months including the Doeberl Cup, the Gold Coast Open, and the NSW Open, this event proved a great opportunity to try out some new systems and setups and test my consistency against lower-rated opponents.

Round 1 vs. Xuyuan Zong 

The first round was a good opportunity to shake off the rust and after employing my weapon of choice with white for the weekend (The English Opening), my opponent ended up playing a Kings Indian which transposed into one of my usual d4 setups.

Round 2 vs Christian Barkley

A nice king and pawn endgame after a largely balanced game.

Round 3 vs. Jai Turner

Jai put up a great fight with black after having some difficulties with his dark-squared bishop however some difficult defense allowed me to survive and eventually win hopefully not ruining Jai's 18th birthday which would come the following day (happy birthday!).

Round 4 vs. Mars Qi

The start of the second day saw me face the dangerous Mars who I had failed to defeat in several over-the-board rapid and blitz encounters (luckily none of these were rated).

Round 5 vs. CM Henry Slater-Jones

Henry is a tough customer who I have known for many years. We had never played in a tournament before though so this was touted to be one of the matches of the tournament.

Round 6 vs. George E Lester

A very shaky final round where I almost blew first place. George was well prepared and showed his expertise on the white side of the Nimzo-Indian. I was extremely lucky that he didn't feel like pressing and agreed to a draw. 

Final Crosstable

A great tournament all around organized by the Redcliffe Chess Club and the Chess Association of Queensland. You can check out the other games from the event here.