Brilliant opening and terrible endgame
On Sunday, 16th of March 2014, I participated on my 2nd OTB tournament. The first one was 5+0 blitz, this time I competed in a 15+0 rapid tourney. Overall I'm happy with my performance, especially in the first part of the tounrament, when I had 2.5/3 and played Board 2 in the fourth round!
However, short description: 17. Trohov memorial, 27 players. Mr. Anton Troha (1914 - '97) has founded our local chess club, he was also its president for a long time.
OK, let's go to the games. I can't provide you the whole games because it wasn't recorded or something, so I don't have those games. But I will try to use my mind and maybe I could remember some critical positions or combinations I've played.
I was quite nervous because logically it was my first OTB rapid game. My opponent had a very high rating too, so I just tried to play a good game. We've played a strange variation of Sicilian Najdorf 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.Nf5. Later it the game he attacked my kingside but despite that, I managed to defend quite well and I won 2 pawns.
At one point of the game we both had just about 3 minutes left on the clock. All other games had finished and lots of player began to watch our game. I was even more nervous because he managed to fork my rooks with the bishop. I luckily found some resources and tactically saved material equal.
I played quite a good endgame, pushing the pawns (they appeared to be c and a-pawn, because of some exchanges. I ended up a sole rook up and he resigned. Somebody said to me later between the rounds, that I played very good endgame. He thought I was lost but miraculously I managed to save my material and mate threats and won. Quite nice to be the one everyone is watching.
Another amazing round. I again wasn't very happy with the opening, because my opponent played that "silly" ...b6, g6, Bb7, Bg7, e6, d6, Nd7 system. After a struggle on the kingside, I ended up 2 pawns down and two rooks versus a queen.
Unfortunately time matters too, so I gave up my rook for his knight, trying to simplify. At the end, position was like this:
This way obviously my third game of the tournament and I felt pretty good, because I have never expected such a good result after so strong players. My confidence was quite high here although my next opponent was very young (4 years older than me) and also successful in school if I remember correctly so I hoped for an equal and interesting game. I also didn't bother so much about losing it because I had 1.5/2!
We quickly reached Sicilian Najdorf nad I went for my classical Opocensky variation I know the best. Normally people play 6...e5 variation, but now I faced not so pleasant Scheveningen structure.
I was amazed. 2.5/3 was completely amazing result. Only 2 players had 3/3 at this stage and only 2 other players had 2.5/3. Fun fact: If this system works, then my performance rating there was 2155!
I was very relaxed next game. Maybe I shouldn't be. We've played (for me) rare variation of Italian game as black against Vladimir Vodopivec (rating 1988): 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.O-O Bc5 5.Re1 d6. I can't recall the whole game, but I just know I wanted too much and blundered a pieces later in the game. Vladimir finished on 3rd position at the end, tied with the winner.
This game probably cost me a good result I expected. Here are opening moves:
We continued our play until the very complicated middle game. Black sacrificed a bishop for my 2 kingside pawns, but I managed to win his queen and later I had to give it up for a rook. So basically, I was up a rook at the end and I had a pass pawn on 6th rank.
Again, I can't remember what the position was, but I only needed to escape possible perpetual check (which was not very likely) and easily won. But I made an illegal move in time trouble (I promoted when I was in check), so my opponent claimed a win. I argued a little bit with him and forgot to stop the clock. Finally I did it when I had about 27 seconds left on the clock.
Arbiter told us that I can make 3 mistakes before automatically losing the game, so my opponent only got additional 2 minutes on his clock. During that "pause" I took a quick look at the position and noticed 27 seconds would be enough.
But then I had another problem. This time with the clock. Although I pressed it, the clock still counted my time (and I didn't notice it). The next time I pressed the clock, I had only 3 seconds left and then resigned immediatelly - basically like this.
I was really upset, but that's chess. I had marvellous opportunity for my 3rd win. But I stayed on the 50% score.
After the game I learned this player is from the same town as me. Vilijem Mlakar (rated 1788) played King's gambit, which is the only opening I am really uncomfortable with. I tried with 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6, hoping for a 3.fxe5? because it is blunder, but he continued with 3.Nf3 d6. I again managed to win his minor pieces, but he set up an attack along f-file which was probably defendable, but I didn't find a way out. My opponent finished 8th.
This time I played against a special guest from Austria. Jozi Amrusch (rated 1732). We played an equal Pirc defence, I only managed to win a pawn. He offered me a draw and I declined it. About 5 moves later I blundered a pawn and he offered a draw again. I didn't want to risk another lose so I accepted his offer. 3/7.
I finished the tournament on poor 17th place with 3 points. Average rating of my opponents was exactly 1800 and my performance rating about 1750. It's also worth to say that I'd have gained the 2nd most rating point of all participants if I was rated. About 40. Maybe just an interesting fact. I played quite badly in the opening and endgame, but fairly good in the middlegame, which is not really my habit.
I finished the tourney with (+2-3=2).