ChessIQ October G60
Yesterday I played a casual Quad tournament at ChessIQ up in Skokie. Unlike the last quad I played in, I was in a quad with people at my rating (actually, everyone was higher rated than me), and all of them were old enough to play with some maturity. I later found out that two of my quadmates were Oak Parkers, meaning that our quad was effectively the OPRF quad. I scored 1.5 out of 3, and bumped my rating up to 1504. I also took down the highest rated player in the quad, who at 1618 has the dubious honor of being my strongest scalp.
My first game was against the strongest player from the September Swiss, who I beat in a Ruy Lopez sideline. That time, I had played it because I wasn't confident that I could play 4. O-O. This time, I played the mainline and found myself facing a Marshall Attack--something which I've never scored well against (though that might just be Mu's fault). Looking back, I should have just played the same sideline I played last time, since it worked for me, but that was a strategical judgment that I think I'll get better at making the more I play. I managed to equalize, and then a poor bishop move on his part allowed me to trade into a winning endgame. However, I was too focused on putting my pawns on dark squares and not focused enough on making passed pawns and weaknesses, and so I ended up drawing it.
My second game was against the top player in the quad. I was originally going to play the French, but after seeing 2. d3, I decided that I didn't want to play the Exchange variation, and so I transposed into a closed Sicilian. I have a pet line I play in that opening, and it worked well for me. I locked the center, gained space on the queenside, and eventually broke through in what I thought was a very instructive win.
My final game was against a fellow OPRFer, Philip Linniger, who I'd actually met at the Renaissance Knights tournament I'd played over the winter. I thought I was going to have the white pieces, only to discover that I actually had black. Instead of playing the French again, I played the Sicillian with the idea to mix up my opening. However, given that I'd transposed into the Sicillian Defense, any attempts to confuse were not very well thought out. He played the Alapin, and we traded the advantage in an IQP position, until I managed to force some major weaknesses in his position. I was better, until I lost my focus and moved the wrong rook, which lost instantly. To make matters worse, I had actually written the correct rook down on my sheet.
All in all, I was pretty happy with my tournament. I made no tactical mistakes (I don't count my third game as a tactical error, since I knew the right move and made the wrong one due to a psychological lapse), and I was better most of the time in most of my games. I need to work on my endgame technique, my psychological game (particularly my focus and my endurance), and if I decide I'm going to pick openings based on players, I need to do it in a way that actually makes some logical sense.
I'll be missing the Midwest Classic, since I'm going to be in NYC looking for work. Hopefully I'll get another tournament in on the 18th, but otherwise it'll just be casual play and DHLC tournament play for the rest of the month.