2012 Oregon Open Part 1

Sep 8, 2012, 2:54 PM |

I made it back to the Oregon Open this Labor Day weekend. 6 games over 3 days. It is held every year at Mt Hood Community College in Gresham and still is holding out with the slowest time controls you can find in tournament chess these days. 40 moves in 2 hours + SD/60. And a 5 second delay! So the organizers wisely choose the 2 games a day over 3 days option for planning it. Its just too much chess to cram into 2 days. 

Anyway, the Oregon Open was the first tournament I had ever played in, way back on Labor Day weekend in 2008. (You can look at my blogs http://blog.chess.com/mueller/my-awful-performance-pt-1-of-3 , http://blog.chess.com/mueller/my-awful-performance-pt-2 , and http://blog.chess.com/mueller/my-awful-performance-pt-3-of-3 if you want to see my results from that trip). So I was glad to be back. Always fun to play in the same tournament more than once. Anyway, I was vacillating between the Open Section and Reserve Section. I was rated 1738 going into it, so I could be one of the weakest players in the Open, meaning I would score poorly, but I'd play tough opponents and presumably learn more about chess and all the other benefits of 'playing up'. Or I could play in the Reserve and be one of the highest rated players and have good chances of bolstering my ego and winning some cash. 

I decided to play in the Reserve section. I think I was the 3rd seed, and as is the case with Swiss System tourneys, the high-low pairing of the first round paired me with William Hanlan, a strong class C player whose rating was Provisional (meaning he had played fewer than 25 rated games). I try not to worry too much about ratings, but there is always pressure to win when youre the higher rated player.


So round 1 was a pretty disheartening defeat. I had a fine opening, and then over the course of playing poorly I got into a worse position, equalized, and then dropped the game. I can blame rust, or fatigue, but really no excuses, and William took advantage of my mistakes as chess players ought to aim to do!

The first round started at 11:30 am, and my game ended just over an hour later. The second round started at 5:30 pm, so while I spent the afternoon ruminating, I also decided I ought to play better and spend more time on my moves. 

And so after day 1 I was 1-1. Not great, but at least not 0-2. I felt like I played a decent game in the second round, and had confidence in my calculation. I got better sleep Saturday night than I did Friday, so I showed up on Sunday feeling good and ready to play.

Round 3 I was paired against Rick Nicoski. He had only recently started playing, mostly because his son was a strong class B player and thought it was fun/interesting/etc. 

So in my first 3 games, I lost one due to a bad blunder, but played solidly beyond that. I felt like I was playing good chess, and I remembered why I like'd to play, but I also thought if I want to get better, I should sign up for the Open section in the future, prizes be damned.

http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblPlr.php?201209033832-002-12921908  This is my cross-table from the tournament, and you can look at the over all tournament here  http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201209033832-12921908