Montana Open 2017 - Round 1
This year's Montana Open in Missoula was a sight to behold and the toughest tournament I've ever competed in. Greg "the Octopus" Nowak made a surprise appearance, the first time I've seen him play in a rated tournament since I met him seven years ago. Another master -- a fifteen-year-old prodigy -- was visiting from Portland and actually outranked Greg. There were some experts from other states such as New Jersey and Washington, along with a large gathering of Class A players from Montana and the surrounding region. I was no longer a big fish in a little pond; now I was swimming with the sharks, seeded way down on the list at spot number 14. But this was a golden opportunity to sharpen my play. When the smoke cleared, I had managed to tally 3.5 points, suffering only one loss in a very close game against an expert.
This first round was against Frank Miller, a man whose unpredictability makes him dangerous. In January he clobbered my friend Jacob Copley, and my own record against him was a meager 1-1-1. Fortunately, I was on my game and scored the point for my first round.