Unrated but Not Unfun

Nov 16, 2014, 3:55 PM |
This weekend I played in an unrated tournament that was held at my local college. I knew I was the favorite but it wouldn't be a walk-over victory.
In the 1st round I faced Bruce, someone I have I played many, many times. He is a dangerous veteran opponent, so I knew that it would be one of my tougher games. I opened up with the Modern Defense as usual. The game then became weird, with me manuevering - shuffling my pieces around - until I lashed out with f5. After f5 my opponent gave up a pawn, but still kept fighting. Just when it seemed he had some glimmer of hope, he blundered.
I was glad to get this win, but there was still three games left to play. 
My second game was against Scott. Scott has been a quiet member of our club for a long time now. I knew I would most likely win, but remembered not to underestimate my opponent.
My third round game was against Sawyer. I haven't played him very often so I wasn't sure how good he was. However, I knew he was a very good defender, winning some games in which he was "dead" lost. Unfortunately for him, he played two horrible moves in the opening and was more than dead lost. He was dead, dead lost.
Round Four proved to a near disaster. I played Frank - one of the Founding Fathers of the chess club. He always seems to get very good positions against me but always messes it up somehow or accepts my draw offer. In this game, I misplayed the opening somewhere and then blundered a full piece. My opponent played the "best" moves but had he played simpler moves he would have won with no problems. With his last move he made a horrible mistake and I got perpetual check.
There were no tie-breaks, so Frank and I tied for first. I hate draws but was glad to draw this one.
Some Chess Puzzles from the Tournament Games

For me chess is one of the great spectator sports. I leave you with a couple game puzzles from missed continuations in two games.
This was a position from a game between Saywer and Stepen. Stephen was totally winning but blew the game. He missed a huge opportunity here. Can you find it?
This game postion was from a game between Brian and Bruce. Brian had lost a piece earlier in the game but never gave up. Here his missed his chance to save the game. Can you find it?