My Chicago Open 2016

My Chicago Open 2016

May 31, 2016, 3:42 PM |

I played in the U1900 of the Chicago Open in the 3-day schedule. I initially planned on doing the 2-day, but a situation with my job allowed me to change into the 3-day at the near last minute. I was very happy with that change - playing 4 fast games followed by 1 long game all in the first day of playing wasn't something I truly wanted to do.

I haven't fully analyzed my games yet but I will provide anything going on in my head as I type this out.


I scored 3.5 / 7. My goal was to get 4 points because I seem to ALWAYS score 3.5. Twice I achieved only 2.5 / 7 and on one other occasion, I scored 5.0 (all in U1700 or lower). Every one of my opponents outrated me significantly and I was happy to see two of them place in the money (both defeated me). I'm still satisfied with my result because I felt that I played well and only had a couple of major errors.


First round: I'm white against Stephen Jennings, who for me is a familiar opponent. We've met many years before at unrated G/20, d/5 tournaments held in Dyer, IN. However, that was so long ago that I may as well have been playing someone who I've never met. At least I already knew that he was a strong player!


Round 2 is unfortunately my ugliest game of the weekend (Hey, one of my games has to have that title, right?). I do admit that I did not feel 100% sitting at the board. It shouldn't be an excuse though. My opponent, Vishal Bharadwaj, played very well and had an enjoyable position throughout the game (and also placed in the money at the end!)
And now, the first game of the long time control! As the pairings were being set up, I realized that I had left my notation book in the car; so I jogged out and back to fetch it. Now I can move swiftly when I want to, but my endurance is terrible! I used to bike a lot when I was younger! What happened to myself!? I digress....
I came back to the board with only a few minutes off of my clock. That's not bad. However, I'm trying to calmly recollect myself after a sudden jog and the game is a Closed Ruy Lopez: Chigorin Variation. Great: a game with lots of positional maneuvering that requires patience and deep concentration, but all I wanted to do was relax! When the first minor pieces were traded, I had realized that the players on the board next to us had accidentally grabbed the pawns we had traded when they packed up. I pointed that out (Probably a faux pas on my part! I apologize for that!) but it seemingly woke me up and I felt completely rested and ready to grind the game out!
First game of Day 2 and I'm playing my second opponent rated 1890+ and his name appears to be Russian (insert ominous horror music here). I'm joking of course: I knew nothing about my opponent before the game other than that he had re-entered once.
I finally play an opponent that many adult chess players fear: a child. Children tend to be significantly underrated. They can think a little faster and soak up new information more efficiently.
We played a 6.Bg5 Najdorf Sicilian where he played a move that I was unfamiliar with. It's not a recommended move, but I didn't play in the most accurate way. In comparison to the rest of my games though, I feel that this one is truly the most interesting game that I was a part of, even though I lost the game.
 (Edit: In my notes to Black's 20th move, what "I missed" was 21...Bb5 in the variation).
My next game (again, against a young child) is a theoretical battle of the Sicilian Dragon. I enjoy playing the Dragon on both sides. It's an opening that I've learned not to give up because SOMEONE has to go down in flames. However, that means I have to know a lot of theory. It can be immensely difficult figuring it out at the board. I got the theory wrong on move 15. That's also the move when I knew I couldn't remember the line anymore. I was mated in 15 more moves. I played it to mate because it's a nice, jaw-dropping checkmate! I would want the opportunity to play it!
The final game is probably the strangest game that I've played. I presented the game to GM John Fedorowicz, who did free lectures/game analysis throughout the weekend. I'm glad my feelings were similar to his: That I should have easily won! However, I missed a few opportunities and I embarked on a ridiculous plan that was doomed from the start. My opponent drummed up some counterplay and before the endgame got interesting, a draw was agreed. "Fed" said the draw was probably the best result given the final position.
I hope you enjoyed perusing through my games! I will gladly accept any constructive criticisms and answer any questions in the comments. I had a great time playing and actually wished that there was one more round!