Emerald City Open 2015

WCM mkkuhner
Aug 7, 2015, 7:05 PM |

I was a bit full of myself after winning prizes two tournaments in a row, and my first game did nothing to rein this in:

In the next game, however, my lack of opening preparation got me in trouble in a big way.  My opponent is a very strong teenager--his Washington Open results were spectacular.

I really enjoyed the game with Vikram, despite having been fighting for my life during most of it.  Perhaps too much:  my favorite games seem to involve insane complications in which either side could lose at any time.  My teacher rolls his eyes at this (well, it's an online-only relationship, but I'm pretty sure he's rolling his eyes).  Why not play more safely?

In round 3 things came down with a bump as I lost quickly to a strong Expert.  I had a few chances for counterplay, all of which he systematically quashed.  This led to a round 4 pairing with a lower-rated player who is, for some reason of mutual styles, a problematic opponent for me:  this game was no exception.  I was probably worse in an Exchange French when he ventured a combination to win a pawn:

In round 5 I was paired with a master:  I was on 3 and he was the only player on 3.5, there having been many draws in the upper ranks.  So in theory I was fighting to win the tournament, but yet again I couldn't complicate my way out of my opening mistakes and rapidly got a losing position.  However, he began to lose the thread in the endgame, allowing counterplay.  Part of his problem was likely that this tournament fell on the weekend before the end of school in Seattle, and the young players were extraordinarily unruly as a result--it was noisy in the tournament hall and nothing the TD did seemed to help.  My opponent was visibly distracted by this.

So I ended up with 3/5, which is one of those Swiss scores that could be good, bad, or mediocre.  I wasn't unhappy with my results, except that I really, really wanted to draw that last game--I'd been resigned to defeat in the early endgame, but I got so much counterplay it was disappointing not to save the half-point.  Ah well, next tournament?  (That's what I said in an online forum, and to my surprise, next tournament I did get another chance!)