New Material!

Mar 31, 2015, 3:32 PM |

It's been a while since I posted any of my USCF games in my blog. I didn't play at all for most of the winter and have recently began playing on a more regular basis. 

I write this with several audiences in mind, but mainly for those students who participate at the Munster Chess Club in northwest Indiana

I will be posting games from two tournaments - both at the Glenwood Chess Club at a time control of G/45 with a 5 second delay.

The first game features a very aggressive opening: The Ruy Lopez Marshall Gambit. Black is sacrificing a pawn for very fast development with an idea for a swift checkmate. White's idea is to survive the onslaught and take the extra pawn into a (probably) winning endgame. The first 15 moves of the game are textbook theory. 

The next game is my 5th game against a specific opponent where I've played white in every game! He's a youth player who has some very strong tactical abilities! My record against him before this game was 2-2. I've lost twice to his Scandinavian Defense (should be three losses, but a tactical oversight allowed me to win one!). My only "clean" win was a handful of years back - I played 1.d4 and didn't have many troubles. Strangely, I haven't played 1.d4 in a rated game since! However, I feel that if I tried it again, he'll wipe me off the board! He was approximately 400 points lower when that game was played!
I decided to try avoiding the possibility of facing his Scandinavian. I did not prepare anything specific for him - but for the first time in my USCF career, I played 1.Nf3!
We ended up playing the Sicilian Dragon: Soltis Variation (after 12.h4 h5). The move order we used was certainly different than what I'm familiar with! Ok, finally ... the game!


 My next game is a great lesson on why you SHOULD castle! Truthfully, I missed a key move in my opening and my opponent (who I've played several times in the past) took swift advantage! While I didn't play well, she was on top of every detail - especially at the end! (I'll give Eva a shout-out here as well. Eva was the bottom seed of the section [a 1501, unofficially a 1490, while the lower section was U1500] and had a great tournament!!) 
I was aiming for a Semi-Slav: Moscow variation.
The final round of this tournament was against a young player who I hadn't lost to before (but now, he's much higher rated than I am! He has improved greatly!). Also, I was white in past games but now he plays as white. He outplayed me in the middle game and I made a very bold decision to complicate things. I escaped with a draw, but I probably didn't deserve it.
I would go back to Glenwood next Sunday and partake in another tournament. There were no prizes available, but the entry fee was the lowest that I've seen (Glenwood hosts $5 events once a month! No prizes, but I attend for the chess!!). I started the event as the top seed (which is NOT all fun and games, by the way) but by the 2nd round, another player registered and took my spot as the top seed. I would go on to win the event with a 3.5/4 score!
Here is my first round game.
My next round is against someone who seems to show consistent improvement. I was fortunate to lure him into an opening trap but he made things interesting throughout the game. The material imbalance was unusual but my extra material won the game for me.
The third round was against someone who I've never defeated in a USCF rated game (despite his remarks of: "this guy beats up on me!" I've only bested him once in a rapid game!). The last time I played him in a rated contest, he was approximately 200 points lower than he currently is - so I concluded that he's a better player than what his rating suggests.
I was unhappy with my position for most of the game. I felt that I implemented an incorrect plan and probably should have ended up in more trouble than what happened. I don't have the entire game recorded due to time trouble. We ended up reaching a draw with White having a rook + pawn and Black having just a rook. He had an opportunity to win via the Philador method, but did not know the proper set up. I was able to execute repetitive checks and eventually took the pawn.
Whether I won or drew that game, I was going to be paired with my next opponent (perhaps a loss would have gotten me that pairing too, as Mr. Luster had a preplanned withdrawal from the final round). The last time I played against Mr. Winick, I played a Nimzo-Indian, which is what I have been playing lately, but I did not feel like dealing with that sort of position. I have been reviving the Semi-Slav: Botvinnik variation lately (despite incorrectly playing it against Eva Harrison above!) and wanted to try that again. Instead, White opted for the Exchange Slav - something I haven't even looked at or seen in YEARS. So I opened the game by allowing a position I was very unfamiliar with against a stronger opponent.
My opening was terrible. I only won the game due to a tactic that was missed.
I'm looking forward to the next Glenwood tournament!

I play at a chess club in Highland, IN on a weekly basis. We are an adult-only chess club that regularly plays 3 round unrated tournaments with a G/20 time control (no delay or increment). The first round is at 7:30 every Tuesday and withdrawals aren't allowed. Sometimes, a 4th round is played if there are an odd number of participants (thus, having to give BYEs). We collect $1 per appearance from each player.
The club meets inside of Meijer in their cafe on Indianapolis Blvd in Highland, IN. Our strongest players are at A/B class USCF strength. We are looking to increase our weekly attendance. We do not charge a "club membership" fee - just the $1 for playing in a tournament. USCF membership is not required. Our tournaments are similar to a "quad", where players of similar strengths are paired against each other to the best of the Tournament Director's ability. Any questions about the club I play at (and help direct) can be sent to my messages on here!

Thanks for reading!