2016 Liberty Bell Open, Day 2: Don't Panic!

NM blitzcopter
Jan 20, 2016, 12:54 PM |

For the remainder of the tournament, I rested well, so I had high hopes for recovering from my early loss. Still, I would have to score at least 3 in the last 4 rounds to finish in the money, so there wasn't much room for error.

Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan. A few minutes into Round 4, I was staring at this:

It was unbelievable. Here I was, fully rested, and somehow I managed to drop the Exchange and pawn in the first few minutes of a 5-hour time control.

The only compensation I had was my undeveloped bishop pair and White not having castled yet. Somehow, this was enough to generate a surprising attack (with queens off the board!). My opponent defended reasonably, but after he had given back the Exchange and I was on the verge of regaining my pawn, he lost confidence and accepted a draw in a better endgame. See below.

I switched back to e4 and played against another Closed Sicilian player for the evening game. It was interesting since I'm not usually such an aggressive player and Black had some good queenside play early on.

So I didn't win both my games, but I saved my self from a huge disaster early on. I scored 1.5/2 on the last day as well, though I was half a point behind the big(ger) money (6/7 and three 5.5s at the top; 5/7ers split the rest).