The Indiana Memorial Open was a 1 section Open tournament that was played on the weekend of April 8-10th, 2011 in Indianapolis, IN - not too far from Speedway. Although this was a one section tournament, the entry fee nor the prize fund was high; so titled players may not (and were not) seen in this event. Nevertheless, it was still a strong tournament from a class perspective. Several Expert and A class players dominated the field along with the appearance of one master player. I was a C class player coming off of a poor 2010 finish. Class prizes would be awarded, so there was definitely something to play for!
I participated in the 3 day schedule, which gave me 5 rounds at the classical time control of 40/2, SD/60. In round one, I was the lowest player in the top half of the field: meaning my opponent was a gentleman whose rating was 1194 instead of the gentleman whose rating was 2200! Unfortunately for my opponent, he blundered on move 7, which cost him a rook. The game was over a short while later. All of the higher seeds had won their games in round one, so it was easy for me to predict my next opponent: an A class player with a rating of 1926. I had no idea what to expect from him, but I joined this tournament for challenges like this!
Unfortunately, due to some technical error that I'm not familiar with, I could not post a game with my comments involved. To summarize: my opponent felt that he could have been much more aggressive out of the opening.
There are a couple of things to be learned in a game like this. 1.) It takes many mistakes to lose (a phrase I took from GM Soltis's book: The Art of Defense) and 2.) If a game looks drawn, don't try to win it! My opponent had mentioned to me that he has tried to win drawn games and only ended up losing. Despite the rating differential, he knew better than to press - and we both walked away satisfied with the result.
I had mentioned that class prizes were awared. At this point, I was half a point ahead of the entire C-class! My third round would see a setback for me; as I was paired against an expert (I may display this game at a future time, but due to my own time constraints, I cannot put the effort into a full, public analysis at this time). I lost my 3rd round due to an unfortunate endgame error on my part. The bad thing is, most other players would have seen the correct continuation.
I walked away telling myself: My performance rating has to be at A-class strength, so I'm having a good tournament so far! I had a decent night's sleep (I could never sleep well in a tournament) and woke up to find myself paired against a fellow C-class player. This game would be my pride and joy of the tournament.
A couple of things could have made the game better for Black. 1.) Playing Nf6 on moves 4 or 5 would have surely changed the direction of the game. 2.) Perhaps eliminating my d4 knight early on would have taken away some of my queenside power. Why did I call this my pride and joy? It was the first time I sacrificed a piece in such fashion and saw a clearly winning position! For a class player, that is a truly awesome feeling!
I was still half a point ahead of my fellow C-class participants. I needed a draw to ensure prize money, and a win to claim 1st place out of the C-class players! As my luck would have it, my final round opponent (who had a shot at B-class prize money) failed to attend the final round, and I got a win by default. I took home $90 for first place in my class, stuck around for some of the other games, and drove home a happy chess player. My rating pre-tournament was 1571 and post-tournament: 1613. I also placed higher than all of the B-class players! I was a little disappointed that I never was paired against B-class competition, but I'm very satisfied with my performance!
I would like to thank ISCA President Gary Fox for running the event smoothly. It was a small event that (in my perspective) experienced zero problems. I also liked the posters and mini-histories of strong Indiana chess players of past and present; as well as the posterboard citing past Indiana State champions! I thoroughly enjoyed my tournament experience!
My next goal: Chicago Open, U1700 section. I placed in the C-class of the Midwest Class Championships and now in the C-class of the Indiana Memorial Open. It's time for me to take it up a notch.