Turkey Time - Round 2


Still eager to boost my rating before year's end, this past weekend I bit the bullet and entered the Turkey Open here in Missoula despite being tired from recent other tournaments. When I got a glance at the competition on the first day, my spirits sank because not only were Montana's finest on display, but several ringers from Washington and Idaho had arrived as well. I chose to stay; after all, the motif was turkey, not chicken.

I proceeded to win the first round. Then the second. Then the third. Then the fourth. I was leading the field and poised for a clean sweep! But in the fifth and final round I confronted my good friend Jim Skovron, the only other undefeated player (he had 3.5 to my 4), and he proceeded to kick the tar out of me. It was tortoise-and-the-hare syndrome all the way, as I wanted to coast and just play for a draw. Kudos to Jim for reminding me never to condescend that way, and for bouncing back after a string of tough tournaments. And I'm happy we kept the Turkey trophy here in Montana, where it belongs!

My rating also got a much-needed shot in the arm and produced some interesting games for sharing. I will include Rounds 2 through 4 because -- in the pure and impartial pursuit of truth -- they are the ones most worthy of study.

This one was against Sherwood Moore, who has a solid style of play that is as difficult to punch through as granite. It was a prolonged affair of jockeying for position that looked drawish up until things exploded at the end. With only 3 minutes left on my clock, I found an improbable way to win.