Kings vs Princes III tournament report and games
Here is yet another report on the Kings vs Princes III tournament held August 26-August 30, 2016. I will be writing about all of my games plus my overall tournament experience. There will be a short summary of my game, followed by a more detailed version in the comments of the game. I will also include some noteworthy games and positions from other players in the tournament as well, plus I will try to make the post as entertaining as possible for all readers. Hope you enjoy reading! It's my longest chess.com blog post so far!
In the first round, I played Jason Cigan as black, and the opening was a Kan Sicilian where he went for a Maroczy Bind setup. He played (very quickly) an interesting pawn gambit which opens up lines to activate his pieces quickly. At first, I thought he was just playing quickly to intimidate me a little because I didn’t believe he had much compensation. Later, I found out that this pawn gambit has been played before by GM Shirov! I underestimated his attacking chances, and I got a pretty unpleasant position where I was defending. I found some creative moves to complicate the position, and we ultimately traded down into a rook endgame where I was up 2 pawns, but they were doubled isolated pawns. I thought that it had to be winning this, but it turned out not to be that easy. The rook endgame where KR vs KRPP doubled pawns is drawn in the end as he got his king defending in front of the pawn and his rook checks continuously.
In round 2, I played Ignacio Perez with white. I have played him before in the past, and they have all been pretty sharp games. In his games, he will always play at least one “Ignacio move”, which is a move (or series of moves!) that requires lots of calculation and makes the position super complicated. Against me in the past, he had sacrificed a knight for an attack and also once he sacrificed the exchange for the initiative. I was wondering what the “Ignacio move” of this will be… Anyways, the game started out as a King’s Indian like set up. I got a pretty nice position after he inaccurately traded his bishop for my knight. In the end, his king area was too open and I took advantage of it by trading down into an opposite colored bishop position and created too many threats for him to handle, and I won. And by the way, there was an “Ignacio move”. Play through the game and read the comments. You’ll know it :)
Going into round 3, I had 1.5/2 and was paired against Roger Patterson in round 3 as black. The opening was a Nimzo Indian where I got a pretty good position out of the opening by playing Bxc3, doubling his pawns. Eventually, we traded rooks and reached a position where he had a very bad bishop and knight versus my two knights. Roger seemed to be playing for a draw then, and I had plans on slowly improving my knights’ position to attack his weak pawns. However, he missed a tactic that allowed me to open up the position completely. My queen and knight broke in threatened mate. Ultimately, I saw a forcing line which won his queen, just in time before he promotes. I enjoyed the finish.
I played Michael Lin in round 4 as white. I had a feeling he prepared a line against my English, so I played 1. g3 for a new type of game. I’ve seen the ideas in this line, but I haven’t actually used this set-up before in a tournament game, but it turned out well for me. I started off playing pretty solidly with the queen and bishop battery along the a1-h8 diagonal. In the middlegame, he traded his knight and bishop for a rook and pawn, which I was happy to see. I got a pretty strong attack going on the kingside, and I managed to end the game in a forced continuation. He missed a mating combination, but the position was already pretty bad for him anyways.
Dereque Kelley was my 5th round opponent. I was on a 3 win streak here and I sure hoped it continued on! I had expected some Nimzo Indian or Bogo Indian, but instead he played 3. a3, a weird move. I played into a Slav setup where white had already played a3, which is pretty much useless. We played into a sorta Botvinnik Semi-Slav line, the really sharp one. However, I was up one move, so I won the c4 pawn without going into all that complications of the Botvinnik. I castled queenside into a pretty safe position after that, and he resigned a bit early, but he was down 2 pawns and his position wasn’t easy to play anyways.
I got paired with Viktors Pupols in the morning 6th round. I played the English and we played some reversed Closed Sicilian game. I got a pretty comfortable position in the middlegame, and his pieces were pretty poorly placed. However, I overestimated my chances of opening up the f-file and too many pieces were traded. Eventually, the game was drawn with agreement. A missed opportunity. I had hoped to get a more exciting game especially with white.
I returned from a quick dinner to play Steve Breckenridge, the highest rated King, in the 7th round as black. I was expecting him to play the c3 sicilian, and I was correct. My defense against the c3 sicilian is kinda boring and drawish. Not surprisingly, we reached a pretty boring and equal position out of the opening. I had an isolated d pawn, but I had enough play to not make it a clear disadvantage. Somehow, I got a pretty big advantage as I opened up the position, and I won a pawn. However, he regained the pawn after I completely missed he was attacking my pawn. Wow.. At the end, I thought I had played a brilliancy, but it was heading for a draw. Instead, if I had played a different move, it would be winning. Shocking!
I played Josh Sinanan in the 8th round as white. I had beaten Josh as white earlier this year in an English opening. However, I decided to play 1. e4 to get him out of his possible preparations. After a bit of thought, Josh played the b6 sicilian, an opening where I am an “opening expert” on! He significantly misplayed the opening, and I knew exactly how to take advantage of it, eventually forcing him to move his king (Kf8) before move 10. Although I knew I was much better, it wasn’t easy to use my initiative, and ultimately, we reached a pretty normal Sicilian Dragon-ish set up. My advantage was slowly going away, and Josh found some interesting ideas, and then I thought I was even worse! While we both had a minute or 2 to play 5 or so moves, he offered me a draw. The position was wild and I accepted because I thought I was worse. It turned out the position was actually pretty equal. Wild!
In the final round, I played William Schill as black in yet another c3 Sicilian. I played the same defense as the Breckenridge game. It was a quick 20 move draw by agreement, as we reached an equal position and both probably had enough chess already. Nice and relaxing way to end the tournament.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my play in this tournament. However, there are ways for improvement for my next tournament. I hope you readers can relate and learn from these as well!
1. Rook endgames are very unpredictable and may be drawn even if one side has a 1 or 2 pawn material advantage.
2. When two sides have bishops of opposite colors, it is best to attack and make your bishop as effective as possible. The attacks can be deadly.
3. If you see a strong move, don’t play it immediately. There may be a better move in the position.
4. If your opponent is in big time trouble and you have a lot of time, DO NOT PLAY QUICKLY! You may think that it will confuse your opponent, but in the end, you’re just confusing yourself. You aren’t in time trouble, so you don’t have to play quickly too.
5. If you are winning, simplify by trading pieces, but not TOO many pieces. Sometimes, if you trade too many pieces, the position is no longer a clear win.
The tournament was well organized and very fun to play in! There was always lots of laughter and talking with the large number of kids present at the tournament, and I think everyone had a good time. I hope to play in another one of these events in the near future! As for this blog post, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the games and the commentary. Comment below your thoughts! I may do this kind of blog for all of my future tournaments if I get enough praise from my fans :P