Montana Closed - Round 4
This past weekend I traveled to Bozeman, where the Montana Closed and the Barto Open were both taking place at the City Center Inn. Not having qualified for the Closed this year (I was a lowly alternate), I resolved to play in the Barto and watch the other players duke it out to crown the new state champ. Luckily, I persuaded my girlfriend to go with me and make a fun weekend out of it, all the more feasible when considering Bozeman's culinary options.
On the second day -- after playing three games and with only two rounds remaining -- I was offered the chance to hop the fence and join the Closed. Jim Skovron was having a bad tournament and decided to hang up his cleats, so I ditched the Barto and took his spot, wondering if it was humanly possible not to finish last with only two rounds to score any points.
Despite the imposing odds and players arrayed against me, I kept my promise (published in this very blog a short time ago) to unleash my weird openings. It worked, proving again that life is stranger than fiction. I scored 1.5 points in 2 rounds, avoiding last place and recouping a few of the rating points I squandered at the Open in April. With these kinds of results I might take up even the St. George, and I now have a book devoted to that crazy opening.
Anyway, I played Conrad Lee in Round 4, a young man with far more talent than I had at 12 (I didn't even know how the pieces moved), and who will easily have more talent than I do now when he's my age. For the time being, at least, I was able to win by using Bird's opening.