I played in the 2016 Mayor's Open in Hammond, Indiana on August 13th, 2016. The time control was G/40 with no delay. There were 4 divisions: Scholastic U400, Scholastic U700, Scholastic Open, and Adult Open. Most of the participants in the Open division are people I have played before and therefore, I'm very familiar with. My goal here is to post the games that I've played with some minor engine analysis with the idea that I can use these games as an instructional tool for up & coming players. I am also open to constructive criticisms and missed opportunities by both sides.
In the first round, I was initially paired against a friend of mine who I knew (but didn't convey to the tournament directors in time) would be unable to attend the event due to a family emergency. A house player was available, so he was substituted for my opponent in lieu of repairing and inconveniencing everyone in the Open. What made the round interesting for me was that I ended up being paired with a player who I've now only played twice in rated competition, we've had a unrated friendly rivalry for several years! David and I are all too familiar with each other over the chessboard. I've tried opening with 1.b3, b4, c4, d4, e4, f4, g3, and Nf3 on many occasions. Maybe I should have tried 1.h4??? (Three question marks: two to denote the weakness of the move, followed by a third to properly punctuate the interrogative statement). I digress!
My next opponent is someone else who I've had many, many games with. I'll give credit where it's due though - I have a TERRIBLE record against him when I have Black! In USCF rated games, I've lost every game with exception to one blitz encounter. This isn't for lack of effort on my part - I put up fights (at least I like to think I do!) and Joe wins them!
In the past, I've displayed several replies to his choices after 1.d4. I don't think I ever attempted a Slav defense and I based my choice on that reasoning. It is difficult to have a strong repertoire when changing opening choices as often as I do (as Black vs 1.d4, anyway) but the positive is that I'm expanding my knowledge across the board. I felt comfortable in the opening but overestimated an idea I pursued in the game.
My third round opponent is an example of someone who should not be taken for granted simply because of his rating. It's around 500 (at least at the time of the event). However, Jesse is not going to play like a 500-rated player; he has many years of experience as a scholastic coach where his students may actually be higher rated! I had read the article in the August issue of Chess Life: How to Lose to a 1400, and tried to apply the lessons from it here. This game was decided by having patience in the endgame.
I have to admit that the 4th round was my favorite game of the event. Dr. Orlan Smith is another familiar opponent. Orlan is also one of the instrumental members of the Glenwood Chess Club that was represented in the August issue of Chess Life magazine. As a side note: Jorge Barrera wrote the excellent piece on the Glenwood Chess Club and I'm looking forward to seeing membership increase there!
My main focus in my game against Orlan was to "not try anything cute." I have noticed a trend in my games against Orlan where I see an opportunity to attack/sacrifice and I jump on it - only to not have seen it all the way through and he defends and wins the ending! However, I jumped on an opportunity to attack and I end up backing out of it instead of seeing it through - but my position was still winning regardless.
The final round saw me paired against a prodigy of Joe Anthony's (my 2nd round opponent). Good thing I had prepared to play Joe as both colors! I knew to expect that this would be a tough game especially since both of us wanted to finish strong.
Both sides were fine out of the opening and I even overpressed a tad. The critical moment of the game is on move 16, where Black plays one move that gives White a decisive initiative.
I would like to thank the School City of Hammond and Mr. Jeff Spitler for putting this event together and running a fine tournament! I may also be a bit biased - I love having the opportunity to play in a rated chess tournament only 5 minutes from my home! It happens once (maybe twice at the most) per year!
My next major chess tournament is most likely the Midwest Class Championships in October (unless I pop in on an event at Glenwood but in terms of multi-day events...) in Wheeling, IL.
Thanks for the read!