2016 PCC Golden Triangle Open

NM blitzcopter
Apr 30, 2016, 4:08 PM |

Secret: if your local club makes some big changes to tournaments, many things may not turn out exactly right.

It looks like the Pittsburgh Chess Club is moving toward faster time controls so people don't need to spend as much time playing. This year's Golden Triangle Open changed from a 2-day, G/120 event to a G/30 with score-based prizes.

At first, this sounded great, especially the likely money with the score-based prizes. More than 40 people registered and we needed a larger room. Then I realized 5 of the 10 in the Open section were masters. Not so simple.

After winning Round 2 as Black, I was paired as Black again against another master. I figured it was fine, since I'd get White in the last round, and in the game I played solidly, eventually reaching a pawn-up bishop ending with a few extra minutes on the clock. Except I somehow lost the ending and got Black in Round 4 too.

Fortunately I won the game, but it gets worse. A seasoned TD (who should have known better) dropped out without notice, forfeiting his game to an 1800 who had a Round 2 bye. The same player got a last-round bye and thus tied for 1st with 3-1, despite losing the only game he played.

Of course, not much anyone can do about any of that.

It is always tough to play NM Eidemiller and I still have only a draw against him, but my games against him are getting better. Today turned into a King's Indian after he initiated Pirc and I transposed with 3. f3. My game was really promising after he was forced to positional pawn-sac, but I accepted a scary knight sac with a few minutes left and couldn't defend.

Then I had Black against NM Magar. I've beaten him before but expected this game to be better due to the time control. I definitely played too much on the time, but was still decently better most of the game (finally seized the c5 square in the Bogo-Indian!). The end was a little tricky and calls for some more concrete analysis.

Against my third-round opponent, I wasn't really sure what to do in the Nimzo so I decided it was most practical to play for equality, especially with the short time control. Unfortunately I messed up in the pawn-up bishop ending despite being up 2 minutes.
The third consecutive Black was an unpleasant surprise, but I got to play the Bogo-Indian again, so it worked out.
So I broke even with a 2180ish performance rating and went from 2117 to 2125, but it dawned on me that I'd have to play even better to break master. This is going to be a difficult road, but more on that later.