ChessIQ January Quad
For my last tournament in Chicago, I took part in the ChessIQ G60|30 Quads. I played really well* and was for the most part very happy with my games, a nice bit of redemption after my poor performance at the Winter Open. The postings haven't gone up yet, but I believe I should be just shy of 1600, which is both a positive and a negative, for reasons that should become clear later.
The first game featured a rematch against Neel Jay, whom I beat with the black pieces a few months prior. GM Melik actually analyzed that game on his "Melik and Me" show, which I would link to if Chess.com archived its TV programs. Best I can do is link to the game itself, which I played in early October. I had the white pieces this time, and I got a great position out of the opening, which required some maneuvering to take advantage of. However, I was able to break through with a pawn sacrifice followed by sacrificing the exchange, for a very pretty win.
Technically, my exchange sacrifice was dubious--the computer claims that with perfect play, black can end up close to a pawn better. However, the resulting positions all feature aggressively placed white pieces and an exposed black king, so I would argue that it was a sacrifice worth making.
My second game I both love and hate. I had the black pieces in an accelerated dragon--maroczy bind. I completely outmaneuvered my opponent, and was completely winning--up two pawns, with all three of my heavy pieces on his second rank. I was also fine for time--I had ~6 minutes and he had ~30 seconds. I made a small inaccuracy, which was far from critical, but I faltered, and white began to get counterplay. I began to lose the thread of the game, and played bad moves one after another, until finally I lost my bishop, and found myself in an endgame with 4 pawns vs. 3 pawns & a bishop. With his rook pawn being an h-pawn and his bishop being a DSB, I was done for.
I was really disappointed about this. I had blown 3 hours of hard work and good chess, ruining my goal of going 3/3 in a quad that I easily could have done so. According to the rating calculator, this loss changed a performance rating of ~2000 into one ~1700, and means that instead of leaping up to 1670, I'll be lucky to break 1600.
My third game started almost immediately--just enough time to run to the bathroom and buy a soda. I had the black pieces in a classical dutch, and I went into the game with a "Kill, Kill, KILL!" mindset. My opponent quickly lost the thread and underestimated the explosive power of my "undeveloped" queenside. I broke through in 18 moves and finished him off with a pretty little tactic.
Still, despite my setback in my second game, I felt it was a good tournament. I don't have much experience with time trouble, so it was at least a learning experience, and I will certainly reach my new high rating. My level of play was also excellent, and I believe if I keep playing at this level, I'll be grasping at Class A before too long.
The massive blizzard on the east coast has delayed my move by one week, but once I get out there I plan to avail myself of all the chess that NYC has to offer. Stay tuned...
UPDATE--1589. Highest yet, though still a bit disappointing