IM dpruess
Jun 30, 2010, 12:51 AM |

[This blog reports on the last day of the Copper State International. To read previous days, go to: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5-2]

Waking up on fire and motivated is lots of fun. I divided my time pretty equally between some King's Gambit lines, and the Fantasy Variation. With each new line I understood, with each new idea I found to improve a line, my confidence continued to grow. Fridman's performance up to this point had generated an aura of invincibility around him; but I not only had forgotten that aura, but was becoming increasingly certain that I could not be contained that morning, and would win explosively.

It's interesting that one day apart, you can go into a game expecting a 99% chance of a win for your opponent and into another game expecting a 99% chance of your own victory.

Before the game, Danny asked me to sign the commemorative first board, which was being auctioned to raise money for the tournament. Like last year, I signed on f7, a square I like to sac on. I'd been thinking about Mikhail Tal, because in Danny's room there was a New in Chess dedicated to Tal, which I had been reading. I remember an anecdote about Tal (from his own autobiography, I believe; I have no idea if it's accurate) that he used to tell his friends in advance what square he would sac on in his next game during tournaments. So as I signed the f7-square, I announced I'd be sacing there today.

Sometimes, it's just so fun to play chess, right?

I want to take the time to share a few observations about Grandmaster Fridman. I have seldom met a more dignified and respectable chess player than him. If I remember correctly, when he resigned, he complimented me for having played well. This in itself is not especially common among strong chess players, who tend to be fairly upset after losses. But he went on to analyze the game with me in a very friendly and even manner. During our immediate post-game analysis, it seemed that black could have justified his pawn-grab by playing Qxb2 instead of Qb6. However, despite "winning the post-mortem," when it later occurred to him that white could get a good game with Qh3 there, he went and told me about it. Also, as the closing ceremony came to a close, he asked the organizer to speak a few words. He then thanked most graciously the people who had put the event together. Finally, he made a financial contribution to the event! Not only did Mr. Fridman grace the tournament with the highest rating in the room, but also with (there were a lot of great people there, so I wouldn't want to slight any of them)  a lot of class. I hope I have the chance to play him at the 2011 Copper State International. Or at least that nine other lucky folks will have that opportunity.

That's it for my personal story of the 2010 Copper State Int'l. Thanks for reading and commenting :-) Peace!