My First OTB Tournament
This long weekend I participated in my first OTB tournament, the Ryde Eastwood Open. It was a 7 round Swiss event over 3 days, the first day having 3 games and the others 2 each. The time controls for the event were 60mins + 10sec per move from the beginning. I'm quite excited about it so I thought I'd share the games and my thoughts on them.
My first ever tournament game started with the white pieces and ended in... a loss. But that's ok, I thought I played ok. I know a few of my mistakes (and I'm sure I've missed a few) so I think I'll get better. Here's the game.
Round 2 pitted me with the black pieces against a youthful 10 year old with an OTB rating above my peak correspondance rating here... yikes! I thought I did ok out of the opening but I made a bad error on move 22, forgetting which order he could capture with. Turns out it was just a plain old bad move but hey, you live and learn. To his credit Rowan played very well the entire game and easily simplified down to a win.
By this stage it was approaching 6:30pm and there were several people who took a half point bye in this round. When the pairings came out I got a full point bye due to an odd number of players (YAY!!! Off the mark! ) Home early and a point.
For the first time in the tournament I got to play one of my favourite openings as White, the Vienna Gambit. It got very interesting quite quickly and in the late middle game Norman sacrificed his knight for 3 connected queenside pawns. Fortunately I managed to find a mating net on the kingside and he resigned a move before mate.
I will admit it. In this game I did play for a draw. I was playing Black against a 1700 player and was a little nervous to start with. He played an opening I had never seen before but I think I handled it ok. I was suprised when he offered a queen trade and gladly took it with the doubling of his pawns. I thought that this might turn into a weakness I could attack later but by about move 26 I was becoming more concerned with his kingside pawn storm. My focus then changed to blocking up the position so I could take a draw and go home having made 1.5/2 for the day. I was suprised by his rook trade on move 32 and gladly took him up on it as I knew I could keep his king out of my position. Here's the game.
This game I'm happy with and not happy with all at the same time. Turns out (I found out later) that my opponent knows my uncle and my grandfather, who taught me how to play chess in the first place. I felt like I reached a very good position by about move 11/12ish but couldn't find a good continuation of it. I eventually lost it in the endgame as played very well to defend against my pressure and won the king, knight and pawn endgame easily with what Silman calls the Fox in the Chicken Coup idea. I played for a stalemate towards the end but when it became obvious that I couldn't stop him queening I resigned.
My stated goal at the start of the tournament was to finish with a plus score, or at least an even score. With one game to go I needed a win with Black to achieve this. Interestingly, all the games I had played had started 1. e4. Not this one, which meant I was able to play the King's Indian Defence, which I wanted a bit more practise with. I'm really happy with this game as I felt that I was spotting tactics that were around, trying to get all my pieces actively into the game and trying to set up positions that would benefit what I had. Here's the game.