Kentucky Open 2009

Jun 7, 2009, 5:13 PM |

The Kentucky Chess Association is still a small group. It and the Louisville Chess Club have been around for many years, but it never really seems to grow. The KCA tends to focus on Scholastic Chess, but every year puts on the Kentucky Open, the Kentucky Closed, and the Kentucky Junior invitational. The KY Open is "The Main Event" of KCA's year, and is now a tourney worth 40 Grand Prix points for those in the Open section. The 2009 KY Open was held this weekend, June 6th and 7th.

Rated at 1080, I entered into the U1400 section and found myself seeded 10th of 14. I didn't think I had much of a chance at the 1st or 2nd prizes in the section, with a handfull of 1200+ around, but thought I stood a decent chance at getting the $120 Class E prize. There were five entries rated between 1000 and 1199, and I was the lowest at 1080. An uphill battle.

My first round was scheduled to be against a young man rated 1219, that was a pairing error. That young man registered into the U1800 section, seeking experience, and his step-father (Rated 999) was accidentally scheduled into U1800 instead. The TD fixed it for future rounds, but for Round 1 it was just easier if we would switch. So I played Leonard Bloom (999) who would actually be seeded 11th, just below me. It was a fair match, but I played with a very calculated, methodical style, and he simply made one too many mistakes. After the round we talked for a while and I met his step-son, and I ended up meeting with him several times throughout the tournament. It's nice making new friends.

In Round 2, I played 7th seeded James Osborne, a recent UofL alumnus who actually lived in my dorm with me my sophomore year. He was rated 1115 and had lost his first round to the top seed, Jesse Tucker. I won after he blundered away a free knight on move 22 and resigned thereafter. I was the only person with a W in Round 1 that played someone who lost in Round 1 for their second match. Unfortunately, James withdrew from the tournament after that round.

Jesse Tucker lost his second round to the eventual U1400 champion, and played me in Round 3. I had played Jesse back in October in the MSU open, only now both of our ratings have increased ~200. He was a 1332 for this tournament, and the top seed. I played strong until the endgame, where I made two blunders under time pressure. I resigned after being forced into Q and R vs. R position, and the final time was me: 1 minute 43 seconds, Jesse: 14 minutes. Sigh.

Round 4 Sunday Morning, I had a strong opponent in William Bunyan, 4th seed and rated 1204. Actually his rating is over 1300, but the supplement update hasn't yet come out so the 1204 was his listed rating. I wish I could say I played well and lost on my own error, but William actually just outplayed me. He was very strong all game and I never really had an attack. I really must learn how to play as black against the Queen's Gambit.

I entered into Round 5 thinking that with only 2 points, it was now impossible for me to take any money in Class E. So I played with much less pressure and a clearer mind against 8th-seeded Rodney Smithey (1106). It was back-and-forth a bit in this game, which ended up being my most moves at 52, however leaving the middle-game I clearly gained an advantage. In a great combination I equalized in pawns and was up the Exchange. I found myself in QRNN vs. QBNN, and cleverly traded down material to R vs. B. After the Rook and Bishop trade (with a pass pawn well out of reach), Rodney resigned.

I left the game happy, and wanted to say goodbye to one of the assitant TD's who is a friend of mine from the UofL Chess Club. He then informed me that I was actually going to split the Class E prize with some kid that had 3 points and lost in the last round. The winner of U1400 was also in Class E, but he took the $300 U1400 prize, and left us two to split the $120.

So left the tournament with 5 good games to review, and my entry fee and gas money returned to me (in essence.)

Accourding to USCF ratings estimator...

Performance: 1227 ... New Rating: 1080 => 1149