2016 Pittsburgh Open

NM blitzcopter
Mar 13, 2016, 7:21 PM |

Since there were only 5 rounds, I decided not to continue the tradition of making one post per day of play. However I didn't want to leave all the writing for Sunday night, so I wrote up the rounds as they finished. Just don't expect guaranteed commentary quality.

After Liberty Bell, I decided to quit trying for prizes in class sections in favor of being seeded 3rd-lowest in the Open. Overall it was pretty nice. I got a great start, ended up breaking even, and boosting my rating to 2073, much better than expected. I tried unsuccessfully to convince a bunch of experts to play Opens instead of U2100s in the future.

Note the CCA decreased the time control to 40/100 SD/30 d10 this year.

Round 1 (Friday, 7 pm)

Against a familiar opponent, local master Tom Magar, I played a decent Bogo-Indian game with no major errors but was eventually outplayed, and was lucky to get into a complicated (if disadvantageous) position where Tom blundered in time trouble, highly reminiscent of our last meeting.

Round 2 (Saturday, 11 am)

My next opponent was Arthur Guo, the top 9-year old in the country. I was tipped off that he had been cramming Closed Sicilian so I decided on 1. d4 at the last minute. It paid off since he didn't have a good plan against the 4. Nbd2 (anti-)Bogo-Indian and blundered into a crushing ending (though the R+2P vs. B+2P was trickier than it should have been).

Round 3 (Saturday, 5 pm)

In a third straight Bogo-Indian struggle, this time as Black against FM Gabe Petesch, I thought my position was going to be comfortable in the long term, but the computers seemed to like White; not too surprising as the game turned tactical with more dangers for Black. Unfortunately, I blundered a bishop at the end of it all.
Round 4 (Sunday, 10 am)
In a Slav similar to the one in our first meeting last June, NM Ahlborg and I burned a lot of time trying to make sense of pieces flying everywhere, but I ended up with a decent advantage. Nevertheless because of time pressure I had to try to simplify but ended up blundering a pawn. Fortunately, John blundered shortly after time control, allowing a perpetual. so rather lucky, but in our last game I had messed up a likely winning Q+P ending so it seemed fair!
Round 5 (Sunday, 3 pm)

All of us with 2.5/4 needed a win for the U2300 prize, but I was still hoping to outplay my opponent in a quiet Caro-Kann game. However my opponent, local expert Jack Mo, was fresh from beating a 2313 and had other ideas. I was also somewhat tired, which is not optimal for dealing with a raging kingside attack.