A Missed Opportunity in a Field Full of Excuses

May 16, 2013, 11:09 AM |

(This diagram is for round two, please read, before going through the game)

Ring, Ring, the alarm clock buzzed and rattled in my head, I groggily woke up wondering where I was and what day and time it was, with the sunshine peaking through my drapes.

This is how my experience with the Battle Creek Great Lakes Open began, though can I say it was how my day began?

I had worked all night and got home a little after 7am.  I went to bed when I got home and woke up a little after 9a.m.  So, going on about two hours of sleep, I kissed my wife goodbye, told her how much I love her, and how much I am thankful that she is letting me play chess all weekend, and drove to Battle Creek from Kalamazoo. 

The chess tournament was held at McKinley Plaza Hotel in Battle Creek, a beautiful hotel, where coincidentally, is where the last wedding I attended was held, one of my cousins got married there last year.  I went inside, registered for the tournament, and started eating some food that my wife had packed for me, among other things, homemade banana bread :)  People where showing up to play, many people who I know from chess clubs that meet in the area. 

Some more senior gentlemen, full of experience, and many years of playing greeted me and we talked, we knew each other from the Kalamazoo Mini Swiss a month ago.  They told me about the Swiss Gambit and the possibility of employing it, I asked what is the swiss gambit.  It is where you lose the first game so that for the next few rounds you get easier pairings.

The time for the tournament to begin had arrived, the pairings were posted, I looked at the postings, and I wasn't paired with anyone, it just had my name and it read, see T.D.  I saw the T.D. and he told me I had a bye that round due to odd number of players, the computer just randomly choose me, but that I would get a full point for the bye since it was a forced bye.  So that meant two things, One down! four more to go, lol, and two I would have to wait until some other time to contemplate using the swiss gambit!!

I thought about trying to take the opportunity to sleep, but I was too excited to sleep, though I did sit in a chair and close my eyes, though to no avail.

The second round pairings came up and I was anxious to get started.


Round three got started, and I was hoping for a 3-0 start.  My game for round three in the under 1700 section was against the highest rated player in the section.  Here is the game:

 It feels like my opponent had lots of opportunities to win, but didn't find them; though, right now even I am having a hard time finding many of those opportunities.  I always struggle playing the Queen's Gambit Declined.  I always play it because it is the defense I have mainly played against d4 for my whole life, yet I still haven't figured it out, which of course isn't good.  I just like it because it immediately fights for control of the center and seems practical, and seems like it should be easy to play, though it has never been that way for me with me having lots of bad results with it, with my wins feeling like confusing messes that seem to have no structure or plan to them.

After the game I left and drove home.  My wife had gone out shopping with my family.  I drove to my parent's home, and my dad had a small fire going.  I sat outisde enjoying the warm night air, and the peacefulness of the spring night, especially since it is before the mosquitoes come out later in the spring and summer.  My aunt ended up coming over to visit my parents and we talked and relaxed. It was the peaceful night I needed after the tournament to unwind!  I was tired, but I had become wound up.  I will write about sunday's experience in another blog.  So after the first day I was 2.5/3 with two rounds to go.