2012 Oregon Winter Open Part 1

Dec 17, 2012, 9:33 AM |

I just got back last night from the Winter Open up at the Portland chess club (http://pdxchess.org/). I don't know how much time I'll have over the next few days to write about it, so I figured I would squeeze one in this morning before my run. 

It was a 5 round SS with 40/90 + SD/30 (with 5 second delay if your clock has that function). This meant a. a lot of chess in 2 days and b. by the end of the day I was pretty exhausted and my games/motivation/strength suffered, but presumably almost everyone's did. In the past, most of these 2 day tournaments have 3 games Saturday, and 2 games Sunday, and the Sunday games switch to 40/120 + SD/60. They've more or less dropped that and just go for the uniform time control.  

I've always played in the Reserve section (U1800 USCF), but as I was rated 1700-1750, I was pretty much always playing "down". It meant I had better chances of getting cash prizes, but my chess really wasn't improving and my rating wouldn't go up unless I managed to go 5-0 or 4.5-.5. Anyway, this time, I opted to play in the Open section which meant that I would be playing up pretty much every round, I was seeded 16 out of 19. I figured I would just play as best as I can, and not worry about making any money, as the money you make isn't the motivation for playing (at least at this level). Whatever ego pains I would have from losing a bunch would be worth it if it actually improved my game at all, and long term my ego would benefit (or so I tell myself). 

Round 1 had me paired against Yaman Tezcan. He had a FIDE rating of about 2130, but his USCF rating is 2026, which placed him as the 6th seed so we were on board 6 first round. He had a bad first day at the tournament and withdrew after.

This wasn't the only upset of the first round. I think 3 or 4 of the underrated players on the 9 boards in the section won. I played well and got lucky that he missed Qd3 and instead played Qc7, and got lucky with Qxc6. But I still felt I played pretty sharply against him. Yes my opening was sloppy, but he didn't really get any advantage out of it. And the middle game seemed pretty accurate by both of us.