Another successful tournament victory!

Apr 12, 2008, 10:32 PM |

Wow is all I have to say.  I won another local tournament 4-0 to win a $123 prize (it was split for a first place tie and we both got $123).  I played 3 lower-rated players, the highest being a 1600.  However, they were pretty good.  In my first game, I kept building up my position and black was not accomplishing anything useful enough to counter my impending slow kingside buildup. 

 In my second game, I followed the game from a Joshua Waitzkin lecture from chessmaster.  It was a great guide.  My opponent played slightly different from the Joshua lecture game however it went ok and again he was making some moves that were wastes of time and ineffective and so I got some powerful play.  

In my third game, I played a grand prix attack against the sicilian (again), and my opponent received doubled pawns early.  He was still ok but Re8 is not great since if he did move the e-pawn his doubled pawn complex would become vullnerable.  I was trying to combine playing against the potentially weak doubled pawn complex while pursuing the standard Qe1-h4 f5 Bh6 Ng5 attack so typical of the grand prix and many other openings.  YET I made several inaccurate moves (I thought they were nice subtetlies at the time, but there were serious tactical problems and the game started going away from me)

So this is where Joshua Waitzkin's advice comes in handy.  I could have easily 'gave up' and played fast, not playing the best moves, and not putting up a fight.  Instead, I tried my damndest to reverse the situation and I actually managed to get into a somewhat equal bishop vs knight ending (i was probably slightly worse in it).  To my suprise, my opponent took a poisoned pawn and I won a piece for it.  After that the game was fairly easy.  

So my last game.  It was against collin bleak, who is rated 1995.  I was rated 1867 before this tournament.  I played him once before and it was a pretty exciting game, I was worse almost the whole time but hung on till the end and played some suprising moves that almost let me swindle the game. 

So we played again and right off the bat I thought I was doing good in the opening after exchanging bishops on d2.  I don't know the theory of this opening so I can't authoratitively state that but that is what it seemed like at the time.  I played c5, which I thought practically forced e3 and instead he allowed me to trade bishops. 

At first I thought i was crushing him but his move Qf3 (which I did anticipate right beore it) was a great move which seemed to almost completely equalize for him.  I had to match him move for move and so I played Rh2, protecting my queen, and then when he pushed e5, I played Ng4, attacking his e-pawn (the knight couldnt be taken due to a pin, which was neat). 

I thought I was doing great in this position but when he played b5! it started looking sour.  My knight on b8 had nowhere to go!  So I struggled to give my knight a square and he prevented it.  Then I got a little tricky and moved my king to d8.  Actually I thought I could take on c4 next move if he didn't move his knight but then I realized he still had a check on e6 and I would still drop my rook. 

Sooo, he played Rf4.  I then played Ke8.  My little 'blunder' turned out to be incredibly good!  Now his rook was not on the e-file anymore and his knight was blocking his c4 pawns' defense so what that meant was I was getting some freedom!  In the next few moves I had a crushing advantage and I went on to win the game.  Before I got up in material, I had about 5 minutes to his 20.  At the end of the game, I had about 4 seconds to his 50.  At the very end of the game, I had 4 seconds, and he ran out of time (from a hopeless position).  I ALMOST got checkmated by a sneaky rook retreat that threatened mate on the h-file.  I almost fell for it but realized I didn't look at his last move carefully enough and then with almost no time remaining fizzled his mate and then he ran out of time.  

 So beating a 1995 player will surely give me a rating boost.  I guess I'll be around 20 points higher due to that win. 

I have a reputation now as being a tough defender in worse positions.  I think that's a great reputation to have.  *do not give up* unless you are so lost that they can't make any more mistakes.  *do not think you have won a game* unless the game is already over :)   Josh's advice from chessmaster has been instrumental in giving me this attitude of resilience in the face of difficulty and while under pressure. 

And so , for your pleasure, the games: