Opening night for TCL 2
This past Thursday was the opening night for season two of the Triangle Chess League. Season one was a difficult one for my team as our boards two and three quit before weeks one and two respectively. We had to play with 1100 rated players on board two against 1500-1600s for a sizeable chunk of the year. With the realignment of rosters for season two, our team should be much more competitive.
Our team lost a couple of fairly close matches on night one. The first was a 5-3 decision and the latter to a 4½-3½ heartbreaker. My play was not crisp, but neither was my opponent's. The first game was a back and forth grind where I managed to win a pawn in the endgame, but my rooks were doubled awkwardly against a well defended pawn and he was able to activate one of his rooks to put me in an inferior position. My opponent did offer me a reprieve when he offered a draw right after he scooped in the h-pawn in time pressure, but I declined knowing I needed a win to draw the match for me team and completely miscalculated the ending.
I was a bit aggravated in myself for declining that draw. My objectivity about my rooks has been abyssmal lately in endgames, and it cost me valuable points a couple of times. but on to round two.
Simply put, I played this game angrily. I wasn't interested in finesse, and despite dropping a piece, I found more than sufficient compensation by doubling my rooks on an open file, holding a passed a-pawn on the sixth rank, and buffeting his queen with timely attacks in the center.
It was a tough start to the season for our team, but we'll get six shots at bouncing back. I expect we'll fare much better this season than our 1-6 performance from last season.