ChessIQ October Quad II
On Saturday I played in a quad at ChessIQ, my second tournament of the month. I played well for the most part, scoring two out of three and bumping my rating up to 1518. In this blog post, I'm going to try something a bit different--listing one mistake for each game and how I can improve on that in the future.
Game One: I had the white pieces in an odd Ruy Lopez system. He struck out at the center with a premature ...f5, and though his attack looked scary, I fended him off and won nicely.
Opening: h3 in the Spanish is played to ensure that white can play d4. If white can just go ahead and play it, there is no need to play h3. The sole exceptions to this would be if black's LSB only has g4 to develop to, or if Ng4 looks particularly dangerous
Middlegame: If I can take space with tempo, I should just do it. My worries about Na4 were completely unfounded--black's knight is just as bad out there as it was on d8
Middlegame: I need to be more aware of opportunities to cause weaknesses. This means calculating forced capture lines with better depth and clarity
Game Two: I had the black pieces in a Grand Prix attack, an opening I'm not particularly familar with. I came out of the opening worse, and instead of trying to counterplay on the opposite wing, I opened up lines on the kingside before I had solved my problems. It was an instructive loss, and honestly I'm more pleased with it than I was with my third game.
Opening: Against 1. e4 c5 2. f4, I'll play the Tal Gambit. Against 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4, I won't be scared to play g6 and Bg7, and follow my closed Sicillian strategy.
Middlegame: No opening lines if I still have problems of development.
Middlegame: If my only way forward involves play on the queenside, I need to go for it, spending less time getting distracted by other things.
Game Three: We went into the poisoned pawn Winawer, and despite it being an extremely tactical opening, he blitzed out all his moves, and in a few minutes I was up all these pieces. I misplayed the opening a bit, and I noted it, but otherwise there isn't much to say about it.
Improvement: The Winawer is 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3 6.bxc3 Qc7 and then if Qg4 Ne7. The way to punish an early Qg4 is the simple Nf6, attacking the queen and developing a piece.
Overall, it was a solid tournament. No tactical mistakes (two tournaments in a row), and I'm now up to 1518. I'm happy with the way things are going, and now I've actually looked into the Grand Prix Attack and I know what to play against that too. I don't know when my next tournament is, but I look forward to it very much.