Success at the Maryland Open-Dual Blog

May 9, 2015, 4:00 PM |

Hey everyone, this is my first blog post since about nine months ago, since I haven't had a good tournament to blog about! After my very successful Potomac Open last August (Check out my previous two blog pots to see that tournament) where my rating soared to 1847 USCF, I hit a mental wall and began shedding rating points. Going into this tournament my rating was only 1732, so I played in the Under 1800 section along with my friend Niraj (His username is MarioChessNiraj, you can find a link to his blog at the bottom of the page). It was a lot of fun, and I even won a check for $300 for scoring 4 out of 5 points Cool Anyway, on to the games:


Round 1: G45 + inc. 30" 

In Round 1 a played an older man who I had beaten in a previous tournament (I blogged that tournament, it was the CAC Fide Open). I had a decent position in a Maroczy Bind and had a nice initiative going, but I traded queens into a worse endgame. Fortunately, my opponent couldn't find a way to break through and offered me a draw. Here is the game:

Game summary: I wasn't thrilled about some of the decisions I made in that game, but I was happy to have ended up with a half point in what looked like a losing position. **Please check out some of the variations in the middlegame aroung move 20, I'm sure I missed some ideas and would really appreciate input from other players. Thanks!

Round 2- G45 + inc. 30"
In this round I was paired with a young kid who I think was about 8 years old. I won a pawn early but got really passive. My opponent got his pawn back and had a winning endgame due to a passed a-pawn. The position was losing for me, but my opponent blundered badly and I got a miracle win. Here is the game:

Game summary: Not the way I like to win, but I'll take the point. I get a feeling that in a few years Madhava will be a very strong player.


Round 3- Half point bye


Round 4- 40/90 + SD30, inc. 30"

In the first game on Sunday I played a friendly teenager who I had never met before. I played my normal French Defence Tarrasch lines, and had a nice combination that won me material. It was a bit of a struggle for a few moves after that, but then he blundered a rook. Here is the game: 

Game summary: This was by far my best game of the tournament, and the only one where I felt like I had complete control of the game the entire time.
The prizes in this tournament, like the Potomac Open, were based on how many points one scored instead of their ranking. Because I had 3/4 points going into this final round, I knew a win would get me $300 while a draw would win me $100. Here is Round 5:
Round 5- 40/90 + SD30, inc. 30"
In the final round I played a friendly, older adult who also had 3/4 points. I played the Benko Gambit, and was getting positionally beaten. My opponent had a way to win an exchange, but he missed it and I won a pawn. Then, he sacrificed two minor pieces to try to start an attack on my king, but I defended well and he resigned soon after. Here is the game:
Game summary: The game could have been a lot worse for me if my opponent had spotted the winning tactic, but I think overall I played pretty well.
Tournament summary: USCF 1732 ---> 1766! As well as recieving my $300 prize, I also got my fifth and final Category 2 norm. It was a really fun event, and despite having some luck on my side I think I played pretty well.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Check out my good friend MarioChessNiraj's blog of jis success at the Maryland Open: He scored 2.5/5 points in the same section as me, showing how he is playing well above his 1473 USCF rating! (link is: