The Chopping Block -- Tim Just Winter Open Round 5

Good evening everybody!

It has been such a long time since we last saw each other, but I promise our next break won't be so long.  I spent some time in the past few months attempting to improve my game, play in more classical time control tournaments, and gather some material for this blog, so it was not wasted time!  

In the next few entries of this blog I will be writing a series I am dubbing "The Chopping Block."  In this series I will post tournament games of mine played at time controls as close to classical as possible.  The posted games will contain my own analyses of the entire game, highlights from key positions in the games, and self reflection of what I felt I learned from the game.  Without further ado, let us get to it!

On the weekend of the fifth of January I took part in my first Open section tournament.  The Tim Just Winter Open had two sections, an Open and a Reserve, and I decided I would play in the open in the hopes to play strong opponents and improve my chess.  Had I played in the Reserve I very well could have taken home a decent amount of cash, but I feel that cash is not as important as improving my game.  In the tournament I played strong chess and walked away with 3/5 points and a whopping 60 rating points!  I had lost the first round to a young man rated 1987, but after that I never looked back and finished the final four rounds with two wins, one draw, and a half-point bye in the third round.

This tournament also featured my best, as of yet, over-the-board victory.  In the fourth round I played White against a 2102 rated player and scored a convincing victory in the same boa-constrictor style as Karpov!  However, that game is a study for another time.

This week's game is from the final round of the Tim Just Winter Open.  After having come off of my fourth round victory, I felt excited to play another 2000+ rated player in the final round.  With Black against this player I knew I would have to be on my toes in order to give him a fight, and what a fight did I give!

The game began with 1.d4, but quickly transposed into a French Defence after some lacklustre play by myself.  Having gotten myself into some trouble out of the opening I played actively and took full advantage of my imbalances, as IM Silman would call them, until I got an equal game against my opponent.

After transposing into the French Defence I was on my own as far as book knowledge went.  I played the French Defence maybe a handful of times when I first realized I was not comfortable with open games like the Sicilian. I knew that the thematic ...c5 break would have to be in my plans or else I would get choked off of the board.

Sacrificing the exchange on a8 granted me enough time and initiative to give White plenty of problems to solve.  My piece activity trumped his material advantage for the middlegame and only when it left him with plenty of weaknesses to attack and uncoordinated piece play did I trade into an endgame.

The final endgame position is interesting to say the least. White has a full Rook advantage, but I gained compensation in his weakened pawn structure, my strong passed pawns, and my three pawn advantage.

I hope you enjoy the game.  Please leave comments, questions, and concerns in the comment section below.  Thank you, and good chess!



  • 4 years ago


    This was a great game you blog in a very similar style to me, Kudos for the draw against the expert player and I enjoyed reading the article! You're a true blogger, just like me, it's always very interesting to read a players thoughts, insights and plans etc and this blog ticked all my boxes Cool

    I hope to see more of your games in the future, would you care to check mine out and give your thoughts?...

    I only started playing chess again properly about 2 years ago, otb only a year and a half ago... so 116 ECF (1578 FIDE equ.) is my starting grade/performance from last season and won't be updated until July. I could have put 1730 as my rating but I have 2 more games this season so I just used my "official" grade/rating equ. of 1578 for all my games.

    When you publish future blogs maybe you could put yours and your opponent's ratings in the boxes so they show on the board, just a small suggestion Wink

    Yeah seriously, big kudos for getting a draw and rising to the challenge against the experts and not being put off by the prospect of defeat but rather relish the challenge, big respect for that attitude and approach I feel I'm the same in that aspect - can't play weaker players forever and expect to become an expert - we have to continue to jump in deep with both feet and fight! And I can tell - you're a fighter!! Smile

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