The Big Enchilada III, Round 4 and 5 (OK, so maybe I DO deserve to be 1800)
It's one thing to play a horrible game, it's another to be able to put that game behind you, pick yourself up, and move forward. I played goalie for a rec league ice hockey team for a few years and bouncing back from surrenduring a goal was was one thing that I seemed to do really well. I was lucky in the sense that round 3 was the last game of that day and I would be able to get some sleep and push away what has happend so far as if it were only a bad dream. Despite my bad play, I have found myself in the exact same position that I've been in coming into Sunday at the previous 2 Enchilada's, 2 of 3 and chasing a money finish. My combined record on Sunday at this tournament so far is a perfect +4 =0 -0 and I hoped to extend that streak. I knew though, that another 1800+ would be standing in my way in the morning. I played, by my standards, a strong game here and I'm much more pleased with my tactical board vision in this game, but once again, made some bad choices and found myself fighting for survival. My opponent had a much stronger position and easier win at the end of the game than I realized, but neither of us saw the winning lines.
One thing that really helped me in this game was the new time control. We were playing G/120 i/30 (game 120 minutes with a 30 second incriment). Meaning that we get 30 seconds added to our clocks per move. I had a LOT of tactics to calculate in the middle game and it felt good being able to use my time knowing I would always have at least 30 seconds to make a move. I fell under 5 minutes for most of the endgame (hitting 25 seconds at one point), and while I felt rushed, I never truly felt like I was in 'time trouble'. If I had an i/30 against Ron Simpson in either of our games, I would have gotten those half points I surrendered under the pressure of the meager 5 second delay. I was also able to maintain my scoresheet and keep a record of this game. I was already happy about palying with the incriment, but this game caused me to absolutely fall in love with it!
In the end...I did manage to accomplish my goals. I finished in a 5 way tie for 3rd winning some money and my rating went up 16 points to 1813. My new all time high. Next tournament will see me attempt to defend my new standing as a Class A player!
It was also announced that this would be Jeff's last tournament as an orginizer. Between his schedule and health issues, he simply has too much going on right now. I hope the NCCA will be able to do something with the Enchilada and if not, I will be really sad to see it go (and not just because I've had such a good run here either...). I do hope to get out to one more big tournament this year (shooting for the NC Open) and I that there is someone out there willing and able to fill the void Jeff is leaving and carry on the rich tradition of chess in both the Raleigh area AND in North Carolina.