Yesterday, I participated in Glenwood Chess Club's Chess Wars XI tournament, an G/40 d5 open tournament divided into 3 sections--Open, U1650, and U1250. This was one of my best recent tournament performances :) I ended up with 3.0/4 as a final score with my only loss against the first place winner, a grossly underrated 848-rated high school player. (He's board 1 of his high school's chess team, and had a history of winning games against class D/class C and higher players in various school tournaments that aren't USCF-affiliated...one time, he even beat an 1800 Class A guy! And the only reason his rating was 848 was because the last USCF-rated tournament he played in before Chess Wars XI was back when he was in kindergarten. Very respectable guy...loves game analysis a lot.)
My USCF rating went 980 -> 1019 after the tournament. (Yay, back to true Class E land)
This time around, instead of making separate blog posts with one analyzed game per post, I'm going to try to stretch my blog-writing focus four times more, and sit down for a dedicated amount of time to analyze all 4 games all together in 1 blog post, all in one sitting :) Feel free to applaud me or criticize me about how well I wrote my commentary in any such way, whether it's a strong endorsement, disagreement, or supplement to some of my commentary, once you finish reading this, readers :)
Also, shoutout to chess.com users kendomon71 and Saint2 for being awesome organizers/board members of the tournament/chess club!
ROUND 1: I was Black, on the 2nd highest board in my section. Swiss system pairings put me in the upper half of the seeds, so I played a 500-rated woman who was in the lower half of the pool. This was her 2nd USCF-rated tournament (her first one was just the day before, when I first met her!), so it was nice to see her dedicate a whole weekend of chess :) I ended up executing two forks (knight + bishop with pawn, and 2 rooks with knight) and a back-rank checkmate + queen sac against her.
ROUND 2: I played on the top board in my section, as White, and did an Italian Game opening against a 1053-rated man who's also the father of the Open section winner. I was able to pick up an extra pawn ahead of him thanks to some remove-the-defender tactics, and played an interesting bishop + king + pawns endgame where I was one pawn up, and where both my opponent and I had identically-colored bishops (RyanMurphy5, I think you'd enjoy looking at this!). In the end, I think he ended up making some semi-inaccurate maneuvers in the endgame due to time pressure (I had just under 5 minutes left, and he had less than 2 minutes left), and resigned because he couldn't beat me in a not-so-tight pawn promotion race. (My queenside rook pawn being able to safely be passed and cross the 8th rank + sort-of opposition tactics from my king saved the day :) )
ROUND 3: Still going undefeated into this round, I again played on the top board against the other undefeated-thus-far player in my section, a 1091-rated fifth grade boy who comes from a wonderful chess family. His older brother is in middle school and has a 1300-something rating, and his mother (great to see more adult women playing chess!) has a 1700-something rating, if I recall correctly. It's great to see they have each other to practice chess with in the family, and that they're also regularly frequent participants in Glenwood Chess Club's tournaments. This game was quite tactically interesting in the middle, with a battle of pinned knights, but I ended up having the advantageous edge over him in terms of how I handled the pins he put on me and took advantage of the ones I gave him, and eventually was able to put enough pressure on a center knight of his, which after a series of exchanges, I got a pawn ahead and had my queen + rook well-developed on an open file. He unfortunately moved his knight on the edge of the board in one of his last moves of the game, which is not only weak for a knight, but also it resulted in him getting back-rank mated by a queen sac of mine. (hooray for two successful queen sacs in one tournament :P)
ROUND 4: The one round I lost in this whole tournament, against the aforementioned underrated 848-rated high school senior. He played the Scandinavian Defense, with the Marshall Gambit variation--one of the variations that I'm least familiar with as far as the Scandinavian goes. As a result, I ended up being punished heavily in terms of the quality of my position (i.e., no castling + took a long time for my rooks to get connected) while trying to stay a pawn-two pawns ahead of him throughout the whole game, until the endgame when he won it back, equalizing our material thanks to a second-rank pawn storm with his rook. And then in the end, I blundered a mate that I could've avoided in the last move (I had < 30 seconds left on my clock at that time, while he played pretty fast and moved almost instantaneously for the duration of the game--trick to this is to think extensively during your opponent's moves too!) Also, he still notated the whole game despite me being in sudden death due to his extensive amount of clock time, so I was able to copy down missing moves onto my scoresheet after the game.
This is my longest chess blog post ever to date, and my first post covering an ENTIRE tournament's set of games, but I hope you readers enjoy it! Please leave a Facebook like or comment, and feel free to share!