Portland Spring Open 2012 Part 1

Mar 23, 2012, 8:54 AM |

The Portland Chess Club hosts seasonal opens that I have been playing in for the last couple years. A pretty regular crowd of people come, and this time, I recognized about 60%-70% of the people there, but there was a large influx of kids that I hadn't seen before. Obviously many of them are on the way up in ratings and skills, so they're all pretty much underrated, which makes for some interesting upsets. (In round 4, a 950 rated player beat a 1700 rated player).

I played in the reserve section, and time controls were 40/90 + SD/30. I ended up being the topseed with my 1729 rating, so in the first round I had black against a 1300 rated player named Leo.

After mangling the opening and being down a clear pawn, I fought back using my pieces to force weaknesses in his position and eventually won my pawn back. When he offered the draw, I was slightly better (doubled rooks, and the possibility to target his backwards pawn), but after spending the game down a pawn and then trying to save my knight, I was happy for a draw. Maybe I should have kept playing it out because I'm assuming I could outplay him in the endgame as I did in the middle game, and I might have gotten an extra 1/2 point, but truth be told, I just don't have the killer instinct required to fight until bare kings sometimes. I felt he earned the draw, and honestly, I really didn't have much to work with, just slight chances, so I thought it was a fair result.

Round 2 was against David Cohen (who I played several years ago at the Oregon Summer Open http://blog.chess.com/mueller/my-awful-performance-pt-2 ). I was hoping I would do better, as I remembered I drew him, but I didn't remember anything about the game in particular. As he is a rather elderly gentleman, I assumed his game had gotten slightly weaker, whereas mine has improved since 2008. So I was certainly hoping I would win the game.

A very satisfying game to play but not particularly challenging. My opponent played an unambitious opening, I got lots of pressure on the kingside, tried to exchange it for material advantage, and eventually simplified into a winning endgame after missing a winning tactic.