Today there was a friendly tournament of 25-minute Allegro games at the Tipperlinn Bowling Club, home of the Civil Service chess team.
Rather than one big Swiss tournament, we were split into five groups of six players and played all-play-all within each group, which meant there was not really any scope for giantslaying. It also probably suited me a bit better today as I'm battling a cold and the giants would almost certainly have slain me a new one instead. Here's what I can remember about my games.
Round 1: Douglas Heatlie (1524) v Robin Johnson (1123) 1-0
Douglas got his own back for my victory against him last week. A King's Indian Defence in which I totally forgot to play my usual system of ...Ne8 and ...f5, dropped a piece early on, and got overwhelmed in a rook v rook-and-bishop ending. I don't think I've ever won my first game in a tournament; next time, I should lose an online game in the morning to warm up.
Round 2: Robin Johnson (1123) v Alastair Dallas (1120) 1-0
This was quick and fun enough for me to remember and get written down afterwards.
Round 3: Robin Johnson (1123) v Frank O'Donnell (1077) 1-0
An English Opening; I've had enough variety for today. Here's an interesting position from it:
(Again, I constructed this from memory after the game, so I might not have it exactly right. I've also edited the commentary on these diagrams several times; I suck at getting the co-ordinates right.)
I played 1.Bxf6.
I was rather hoping that Black would not want to open the g-file in front of his King, and would play 1...Qxf6. It looks natural, my knight is still pinned and looks uncomfortable on on e2, and his king still has its protective pawns there.
I would then have played 2.Nf4. If he had taken this for a blunder and played 2...Bxd1?, 3.Rxe8# is mate.
But it was not to be, and he played 1...gxf6. Getting his g-file open was handy though. He later gave me a queen for two pieces and an exchange, but I had enough tactical shots to wear him down.
Round 4: Chris Hampton (951) v Robin Johnson (1123)
Another quick one. He opened with 1.g3, which I tried to transpose into a Sicilian, but he gave me the centre. I managed to get an attack out with both knights and the queen before either of us had developed much, and got to a position something like this:
White has just played 1.f3 when he should probably have traded off the queens, which would have left me a pawn up but with questionable development.
I played 1...Nbd3+. After a long think, my opponent tried to move his queen to a position which would have left his king in check. If I were not one of those people who has an existential dread of Causing A Scene, I could have pointed out that the rules then obliged him to move the queen if there is a legal move, and there was: 2.Qxd3, losing her immediately. But he played 2.Bxd3 (anything else gives me a mate or a queen) ...Nxd3+, then he gave me the queen anyway with 3.Qxd3. 3.Ke2 might have kept things going a bit longer.
Round 5: Robin Johnson (1123) v David King (1268) 0-1
David got a perfect 5/5 score for the day; if I'd beaten him we'd have been joint winners in our group. I played yet another English and blundered a pawn early on, which was eventually enough to win him the game in a clock-thumping, both-about-to-lose-on-time finish.
I make that a performance average of 1248, which is not bad considering I didn't get to play any much-higher-graded opponents, and I was ill enough to produce something like twice my bodyweight in snot during the tourney. It's a pity the games won't be graded.
It was also the cheapest tournament I've been to (the lack of grading helped there), at £2 including lunch, which is very rare. Thanks to Douglas Heatlie for organising the day, and to everyone else who played.