I No Longer Bow to the Fearsome Reputation of International Masters (Team Tournament 2013)

Jul 18, 2013, 12:00 PM |

This weekend I played in a big team tournament. You might have seen my earlier blog posting where I said I felt like my team was counting on me. Well I did ok, I guess. I wanted to win all my games, but things didn't exactly go the way I wanted to in my games.

In the first round I played a 1867 and I decided to play 1.d4 instead of my usual 1.e4. My opponent played the Queens Gambit Accepted and before I knew it I had an amazing position. I got a dream position and on the 21st move my opponent dropped his queen and resigned. An easy and crushing victory! My best game I have played in my life. Pretty much a flawless win.

In the second round I had black and faced an 1800. My opponent played an unusual opening and I should have spent more time figuring out a good plan. Instead I just was lazy and eventually traded queens. I might have had a slight edge in the resulting 4 knight ending but after Ke3 my evalutation of the postion changed and I thankfully was able to force an easy draw with the excellent move Nd7! which I was very happy that I found that nice idea over the board pretty easily. It turns out thought that I probably could have won as my opponent would have had to find some tough moves to hold a draw if I had not accepted his draw offer.

 My team had a bye in the third round so I did not play in that round. In Round 4, I went over to check the pairing and saw that I was matched up against an International Master. Here was my reaction: YES! - All Right! (pumps fist). Serioulsly, I was excited to play an IM and to try to prove myself. One year before I had played him and basically came to the game to lose, not even trying to play because I "knew" I was going to lose anyway. Since then I have gained a lot of confidence and I resolved before the game to go after my opponent like a absolute monster Laughing. I did not fear his mighty reputation. And attack him I did, I went after him like a BEAST, no fear. We both played the opening fairly quickly until he played 12...h5 and 13...h4 after which I wasted an enormous amount of time on my clock looking for a knockout that wasn't there. During the game I was a bit surpised by his move 15...Qc7 which allowed my to do what I like to do best, sacrifice something. 16.Nd5!! was a insane but totally correct sacrifice which led to complications which totally confused both myself and my IM level opponent. I missed 17...0-0 (which actually isn't that good because it is castling into a heavy assualt) and my 18.Bxg6 wasn't as good as 18.f5. In fact myself and my opponent, Kustar, both hallucinated in a simple line missing the simple move 20...Qe8 in our calculations, we both thought even after the game during the post-mordem that if black took the bishop it was just checkmate, in fact it was probably a draw with accurate play, thus proving that IM's are humans like the rest of us non-masters. Instead my opponent played the blunder 18...Nc5 which should have led to him losing the game. Unfortunetly, I was in time pressure and had no time to really calculate stuff out thus leading to the horrible 21.Qd3? and the utterly repulsive 24.Qg6+??. After that it was easy for Kustar to wrap the game up without much trouble.


What a game! I am still kicking myself today for missing a brilliant opportunity to beat an International Master. I was so close it wasn't even funny. The video belows sums up my attitude about chess and master strength players after this game:

"I will never back down"; I have respect for people like Kustar and other IMs and titled players, but I will never back down. Sacrifices and crushing attacking moves are like the slam-dunks of chess. No matter who I am playing, I will not hesitate to attack and stir up complication. So don't worry, you all will see more insanity:  "I will never back down".