Bristol Congress - Saturday
After my long hard struggle to earn a half point bye, I was ready for an easier game. Sadly, the tournament director had other plans and merged my group with the one above. Then he went all out on a vendetta against me; pairing me (a lowly ungraded) with the two highest ranked players in the new super-group. I don’t know why he did that, but once I’d calmed down and the tears had dried I readied myself for the task at hand.
First, I was playing against number 2; a very charming guy with a fantastic voice. I think this game is quite instructional. Watch as white doesn’t react to black’s first move, develops nicely with subtle positional play. Then with spectacular precision, white lulls black into a false sense of security by getting crushed in the centre and “sacrificing” pieces. Finally, with true skill, white unleashes the “spite checkmate”.
My opponent was very gracious about it all and was kind enough to talk over the parts worth analysing. After a walk to Tesco for lunch (and a frantic run back) I faced the number 1 ranked player, this time as black.
Afterwards, we looked over certain lines from the final position and it does seem like a draw, although white did have better lines earlier on. Having played the top two and come away with 1.5/2, and remaining undefeated so in the tournament I’ll admit my confidence was high. Boy was that setting me up for a kicking...