Chess? Money? What?
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I've played in plenty of blog-worthy tournaments and other chess events, but I've never blogged about any of them. The tournament I played over this past Labor Day Weekend will be my first tournament recap for a couple of reasons. One of them is that I start school tomorrow and it's now pouring outside, so I've nothing to do. But mostly, I just want to proclaim, for all to envy, that I won money! Playing chess!
I've won cash prizes twice before, both in quads; entering for $20, I won $50 for winning sole first and $25 for tying. But this time? Tied for second in a 33 person section, and I won $200!
This was the tournament. I generally prefer 3-day sections, but I needed Saturday to finish the last of my 14 writing assignments (a bit excessive, you agree?). I've played in more than a few tournaments run by Ken Thomas and company, and I decided that the NJ Open would be graced by my presence during this weekend's Labor Day madness.
I was thinking for a while about entering the open section because it was FIDE rated, but upon realizing that I'd have to play G/60s in the two-day schedule, and after realizing that I'd probably be one of the lowest-rated in the U1900 section (my published rating was 1626, and there was a U1600 section), I decided to remain sensible. Good thing I did!
If you've survived my rambling, congratulations. Now I'll start talking about chess.
For those unacquainted with the American weekend swiss, the different schedules can be rather disorienting. The three-day schedule plays two games each day at a time control of 40/2, SD/1. The two-dayers play three games on the morning of the second day, while the three-dayers play their third game at a classical time control.
A word about two-day schedules: I don't recommend them. Even though I've played well in one day, five game tournaments that were G/30 (4/5, +59 rating points) and G/45 (5/5), there was chess pieces on my eyelids afterwards.
That being said, we can go on to game recaps.
Game 1: My opponent showed up twenty minutes late (he was there; he just didn't know the pairings were up!). I won a pawn in the opening, and simplified into an easily won ending. You can see that game at this post's end, because it is in no way remarkable.
Game 2: The second highest-rated player in the section played the Dutch quickly and aggressively. I managed to survive complications and reach this position (I was white):
Having just 40 seconds on my clock, and scared by the rook check, I muttered a draw offer. My opponent immediately reached across the table to shake my hand before saying "this is winning". D'oh! There was a 5 second delay, so I had plenty of time to win. I wasn't a very happy camper after packing up. You can see the first 39 moves at the end; if you have any suggestions, please post them.
Game 3: As I expected, the fatigue was beginning to set in. Neither myself or my adversary played very inspired moves in the opening. After an interesting tactical sequence, we ended up in a position that is hard to believe is anything but drawn. My opponent, a kid who likely sensed how tired I was (or maybe remembered that I told him before the game!) put pressure on me and managed to win my queen. A good example of how to win (or lose) an equal position in five moves.
So after my three quick games, I was +1 -1 =1 against three higher-rated opponents. The classical games, which I'll describe in my next post, are when I really took over and earned my prize.
Here are my first three games; if anyone wants more extensive annotations, I can add them.
All three games were G/60 d/5.