Chess in Black and White Issue 9 "Blitz tournament!"
It has been a while since my last post. The main reason was that I was putting in a lot of time getting ready for my otb January team match. It was planned for yesterday, but due to the weather we have to try to find another date to play. My preperation was not in vain however, as I have seen extensive improvement and am feeling for comfortable with my play at all time controls.
Instead of going the match my school chess club had an impromto blitz (5 min) 5 round swiss tournament. I would say I am much stronger playing otb blitz than online. In the club though there are many strong players. My largest advantage is often time coming from what I like to believe is my creative play causing my opponents to use more time.I also play more from intuition than calculation which can also help in blitz. In round one I was paired against a friend who is rated about 1100, me is a stronger player than that but often gets into time trouble. I was white and played 1.a3 as I had been prepping. He stuck with me tactically for most of the game. As a result though I had a 3 min time advantage and once he had less than 30 sec. left on his clock I won a piece and the game ended. I was very happy with the game, and was feeling sharp.
In the second round I had black against another lower rated player, a rapidly improving 1000. His problem is also time, but soon I know I will start to lose occasionally to him. He played 1.d4 and I played my new line against it. 1...e6 2. c4 Bb4+ 3.Bd7 a5. I have mainly played it against him so far and he is consistantly responding better. Part way through the mid game I was down a pawn and he had a positional advantage. I was actually down to less than 2 min on my clock, but a few threats and tactics were able to eat up his clock enough that I won smoothly at the end with 1:37 left. I was happy both with my opening and proud of how he played, as I taught him chess last year. Now i was one of 3 playes who was 2-0 and both are very strong, a 2000 and a 1600 who is better as the time control gets lower. I lucked out however and there were paired against each other.
I was paired against a 1300 who i had warmed up with but decided to still play the same thing against him. I played the french and won 2 pawns early on and decided to play the clock a little too early. Soon I could not castle and was down positionally in a complicated position. Fortunatly I was able to plan on his time and doubled my rooks ok the c file and won soon after. While none of the first 3 rounds were that challenging for me, it was nice to see them all play above their normal level against me and give good games. They are all on their way up.
Now I was paired agaisnt the only other 3-0, the very strong 1600. Openings and tactically, probably the strongest in the club. I had played him probably more than 60 times in blitz in the last week alone, so there would be no surprises. I knew if I played 1.a3 he would go for a dutch set up and those postitions required more time than I thought I could afford. Instead I played e4 and he played the dragon as I knew he would. We have played it well over 100 times, but he changed a move or two and it got crazy. He was castled kingside, but the h file was open and my rook still on it. I was in trouble because his queen was dominating the center of the board. I searched for some counter play and my queen took the pawn on b7. The 7th was supprisingly clear all the way from b7 to h7, so i was sneakily threatining mate. Rf7 would have been simple for black to remain in a dominate position, but as you all know, nothing is simple in blitz. He played the very natural Qg2 attacking my rook on h1, and I played Qxh7 # for a lucky mate.
I know stood alone at 4-0 but was matched up agaisnt our strongest player for the last round. I played the french, and we quickly reached a position that we have had 2 times before. The first time we had it I played passivily (in a blitz game) and lost quicky.The second time was a friendly game at club with no clock and I sacked a knight on the queenside for 2 pawns and went on to win. I tried the sac again and definitly thought I had compensation, but a few moves later I trapped my own queen and lost a piece as a result, and mate soon followed. This meant that there was a 3 way tie for first at 4-1. After I played a rematch blitz game with her to try to redeem myself. This time I had white and played 1.a3. It ended at in a draw after I blundered away a winning king pawn endgame. We then played 1 more and it stated. 1. a3 f6 2. h4 Kf7. It was a great game leading to us each having two rooks, four pawns, and a knight. I was able to hold off a passed pawn that reached the 2nd rank and then traded off a set of rooks, won the knight and traded off the other set of rooks, leading to a winning endgame. So for the day I went 1-1-1 against her. But most importantly my record with 1.a3 was 3 wins and a draw. I have now officially added it to my opening repretoire!
As always thanks for reading! I will post some 1.a3 and 1. d4 e6 2. c4 Bb4+ games soon hopefully.