Anti-sandbagging, or, the Louisville Summer Open


Okay, I come clean. About a month ago I decided to sandbag. I hit 1249, and thought it'd be a good time to stop playing in tournaments, study really hard, and then be a high seed for the U1300 section at the KIng's Island Open in November, hopefully win some money. Last night though, I was checking out, and saw that a small swiss tournament was being held here in Louisville today. Having been a month without playing OTB... I was suffering some withdrawl.

And it got me thinking... what good is sandbagging? When I decided to get back into chess a year ago, I never once thought I'd do it for the money. I hadn't even realized there was much potential to gain money in the first place. In the end, I simply love playing and being with chess players. It's a great day when I'm in front of a board.

So this morning I forced myself out of bed to get up. Despite some misleading directions from Google, I eventually found the site and played. I was registered in the U1400 section, and there were only 4 players. So we round-robined it and played only 3 rounds instead of a 4 round swiss.

In Game 1, I played Terry Vibbert, the father of boy-wonder Sean Vibbert who ended up winning the Open section. I was still a bit frazzled from the hectic drive, and played way too fast. However, ended up being the first game done (even though we actually started 10 minutes late!) when I got him on a cheap mate on move 12.

Game 2 I faced a familiar opponent, Leonard Bloom, whom I played in Round 1 of the KY Open in June. His step-son Ben was playing in open, and it was good to see his family again. Leonard again played a strong game, but simply wasn't prepared for his choice of the Alekhine Defence. I went up in development very quickly and he struggled most of the game. However, near the end I took pleasure in a well-chosen tactic.


Utilizing Rf4!, removing the defender made my day. He saw it coming, but kept on with his bishop movement even though it was too late. As Chernev said, no move is adequate when one is on the losing side.

In game 3 I found a very tough match with the top seed of the U1400, Brian Cooper. We used almost the full two hours, but never reached a time scramble. Brian had a lot of counterplay even though I played an aggresive game for the black pieces, but got a little greedy in my key combination and ended up going down a crucial exchange. Once the endgame was reached, it was mine to win... but I'm not sure I would've been so sure about it if I hadn't done the endgame study I've done over the last month.

Here's the whole match:

So it was a tough match, but this game alone made today worthwhile. I was happy about my thought processes while in play and took advantage of the few slip-ups my opponent made.

Initial ratings posted on USCF put me as moving from 1249 to 1343.


So yes, sadly, I have definitely lost my sandbagging for King's Island. I suppose this only means I need to play and study more chess... which should only lead to more fun.

Simmons Bible College in Old Louisville was a great venue for playing. I hope more tournaments are hosted there soon. I won $25, leaving me a few bucks to roll into entry fees for more tournaments in coming days.