Chesapeake Open 2016 Rounds 4-7
Round 4: 40/90+SD30, 30" inc.
With a solid 2/3 score going into Day 2 I was confident and looking forward to playing some solid chess. In Round 4 I was paired against Zachary Jablow, an 1826 who appeared to be one or two years older than me. I learned that he liked to play the Smith-Morra, so I spent about 30 minutes before the round trying to prepare. After deciding that I didn't want to go into a tricky gambit against someone who likely knew plenty Smith-Morra theory, I eventually chose to decline it with 3... d3. I developed awkwardly and ended up down an exchange with a poor position. Somehow I managed to activate my pieces and was able to win material, though I couldn't end up with the full point... Anyway, here is the game:
Game summary: Although I suppose I should be happy with the half point, I don't think I played well throughout the game. I was missing obvious moves (I didn't even see 18. Bc6 until he played it :/) and I think I had more around move 35. Regardless, a draw is a draw no matter how I get it. 2.5/4 is still solid, and I felt extra motivated to get another win in the next round.
Round 5: 40/90+SD30, 30" inc.
In Round 5 I played an adult named Kurt Heinz. He played the Scandinavian, an opening I never feel 100% confident with, but I developed well and had a slight advantage throughout the game. It looked like it was going to be a very long, tough game but I found a queen-trapping tactic to seal the deal. Here it is:
Game summary: I believe this was one of my better games in the tournament. Rather than having to weasel out of a poor position in the opening/early middlegame like many of my other games, I felt in control of the outcome throughout. With 3.5/5 points heading into the final day I knew I would be playing some stiff albeit beatable competition.
Round 6: 40/90+SD30, 30" inc.
In round 6 I played a man who appeared to be around 40 named Ahmed Hafiz. He had 4/5 points going into the round with several upset wins, so I knew getting a win (or even a draw) would be a tough task. By about move 25 my fears had been confirmed; I was getting positionally dominated with no hope in sight. I decided to try a last ditch knight sacrifice even though I had calculated that it didn't work, because I wanted to at least try to complicate the position. Somehow it worked, and he messed up leaving me with tactics. When the dust settled, I ended up an exchange in a winning endgame. Here is the 82-move miracle win:
Game summary: I'm very fortunate to have survived the knight sacrifice and glad I was able to churn out a win in that endgame. With 4.5/6 points going into the seventh and final round (putting me in prime prize contention), I was eager to solidify an already great tournament.
Round 7: 40/90+SD30, 30" inc.
Because the tournament had score-based prizes, I knew that the situation for the round was this: A win would make me $500, a draw would win $275, and a loss would keep me at $100. Needless to say, I was quite nervous going into the round. It didn't help my nerves to learn that I was playing my friend Richard Tan (at the time rated 1961), who had an insane 5.5/6 and had just crushed an 1890 in 15 moves. I was not looking forward to the game.
Richard asked me not to post the game (I happily obliged as it was a rather disappointing game) but I'll include a summary and some diagrams. He played an opening I'm not familiar with but looked similar to the Grand Prix Attack, and he had a monster kingside attack while I was basically doing nothing on the queenside.
My position looked pretty bleak, but Richard got a bit hasty and ended up losing a piece (!) without much of an initiative. It was looking like I would hand him his first loss of the event, but I miscalculated and blundered my piece back:
Really David? You were thisclose to a win but got caught in a nasty tactic. The worst part is that I think I noticed Rg1+ in my calculations, then somehow forgot about it and played Rxb2 anyway. However, I have to give credit to Richard for finding the game-saving tactic. Good game, but look out next game because I'm gonna get my revenge :P
Tournament summary: With a final score of 5/7, I won a solid $275, earned the 1st category title, and my rating jumped from 1912 to 1942. I think my overall play throughout the tournament was strong, but I feel like I'm having difficulty coming up with plans in the early middlegame. This issue was epecially apparant to me in rounds 2 and 4, where I felt I was reacting to my opponent's moves instead of moving off of my own ideas. I think this should improve over time, when I get more comfortable with my openings and better learn the ideas behind them.
Please let me know what you think of my games. Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed reading!