Evanston Three X Three: Disaster

Jan 20, 2014, 10:47 AM |

This weekend I played two one-day tournaments, as a final round of rated games before heading back to school. The first one I played at the Evanston Chess Club, in the U1200 section. I wasn't allowed to play up into the U1400 section because the rules stated that my rating needed to be above 1100 to do so, and my published USCF rating is still 1031 (since the new ones don't come out until February 1st). The U1200 section was made up almost entirely by members of the Argo High School Chess Team, who were all very nice for the most part, though not the strongest team I've ever seen. All of my games were played against their members; the first two I won pretty handily thanks to early blunders by my opponents. Time controls were G65|5; I don't have much to say about the first two games, so here they are.

The last game I played was an utter catastrophe. I faced Alekhine's Defense for the first time ever OTB (I've seen it maybe twice online), and I just didn't know how to play it. I quickly found myself being worse because I was out of my element and I started ignoring opening principles and leaving things undefended. The pressure turned into me hanging a pawn, and then, trying to be too clever for my own good, trading a knight for a pawn with zero compensation. I lost, as I deserved to, and it was a terrible way to end the tournament.
I wasn't too proud of my results, especially blowing that last game, but I guess that was that. I went home, had a beer, shoveled some snow, and got ready for the tournament the following day, mainly by looking up what exactly it is you're supposed to do against Alekhine's Defense. My provisional rating dropped slightly for the second time; would I make it up in Northbrook tomorrow? Could I?