My Midwest Class tourney games

Oct 15, 2015, 9:06 PM |

I played in the 2015 Midwest Class Championships on Oct. 9th-11th. The divisions weren't completely by "class" though. Most players had a choice between two sections to play in. I played "down" into the 1500-1899 division (the other option was 1700-2099, but my self-confidence over the board wasn't where it should be). Perhaps the choice of division was a mistake for pure chess reasons - I should have more belief in my own abilities!

This article is intended for a specific audience: friends/peers who seek an interest in my games and youth players who view me as a mentor. However, I welcome all comments and criticisms!  I rarely have the opportunity to discuss my chess with players stronger than myself and I welcome any opportunities I'm able to pursue.

I finished with 3.5 points out of a possible 5. While I only lost one game, I'm both disappointed and satisfied. Nobody likes to lose (and I was completely outplayed in the loss - see Round 4) which brings the disappointment. I'm also happy with my play overall because my results are proof to myself that I am improving over time; as opposed to having a "plateau" in my play.

Normally, I don't use an engine to assist in my analysis but in this case I have used chessbase's engine for tactical assistance and other move recommendations.

My first round game was against a young player who I've played twice before and never defeated (I have one draw, but that was by a swindle!). I knew that he liked aggressive play- he knows a line of the Ruy Lopez Marshall Gambit very well - but this time, he was White and I did not have to worry about facing that particular line.

 My 2nd round game was against the section's top seed. We analyzed the game afterwards and he admitted that he wanted to use openings that probably weren't seen as often in class-play and hoped to outplay opponents that way. That strategy might not be useful at the elite level, but no one in the 1500-1899 section is an elite player! It worked well enough for him - he went on to score 4.5 out of 5 and take home the top prize, finishing in clear first place! I congratulate Adam and I'm also happy that I was his only nonvictim! :) 

My third round was against an overachieving player. I mean that as a sincere compliment to her - she played 4 games against significantly higher rated opposition and scored 2.5 (plus a half point bye in the first round).
I find this game interesting in that there are a couple things to highlight. 1.) I honestly feel that I won due to experience with the opening as both colors. I've won and lost several times as White and Black. 2.) I think that the moves that WERE NOT PLAYED are more interesting to look at! I've given some lines in the variations within the game. In the game itself, my opponent played 2 blunders - the 2nd one sealing her fate.

I played Mr. Sam Ford in the 4th round and he handed me my only loss of the event. I had never played Sam before but I've seen him at past events. I was given the impression that he is a tactical player and my impression was not wrong! When I checked this game with the engine, the evaluation bounced all over the place. From a spectator's perspective, this game was a good fight! He earned the victory.
The final round still had something to play for. As it turns out, those who scored 3.5 points would receive some prize money - not enough to regain an entry fee, but better than receiving nothing at all! 

I definitely enjoyed the event! I was also happy to see some friends of mine enjoying success and to see some youth players (who are probably reading this article!) play well, too.
At the time of this post, I'm not sure when my next tournament would be. Although I performed well for the most part, the lesson that I'm taking away from this event is to have better confidence in my own abilities. I played down because I lacked self-confidence. In the future, I will participate in higher rated sections to not only challenge myself more and making use of that added challenge to improve my game.

Thanks for the read!