2011 Columbia Open

Sep 4, 2011, 5:07 PM |

I recently played in my third Columbia Open. It's a great nearby tournament that grows every year. Just as in the South Carolina Open, I gave the Under-1800 section another shot. I don't feel I played as well this time, but I came out with a better score. Lately I'm winning games I should lose and losing games I should win. I guess it balances out, but I would like a nice convincing start-to-finish win one of these days.

I opted the play the 2-day section and started out with a Game/90...the lack of extra time ruins it for me here despite a 2-pawn advantage.

The second game went very long and my time see-sawed with my opponent's. In the end I had a small lead in time, and we had a nice audience of players who had already finished. Everyone saw the winning move except me, and we ended with a draw.

That second game took so long, and I hadn't eaten a proper meal all day, so just before it ended, I went in and registered for a third round bye. It gave me a chance to rest and eat something, but it wasn't very exciting being a spectator when I could have been playing.

Sunday morning I was ready to play and even made myself eat something healthy at the hotel instead of sausage biscuits. Perhaps the yogurt and grapefruit helped me win this weird game that I should have lost.

In the last game I was up against a much higher rated opponent. And I had the black pieces for the third time in four games. I decided to try to be aggressive, mainly so if I lost, it wouldn't take five hours. In retrospect it was a bad strategy and not my style, so not surprisingly, I ended up with an early loss.

Still, when you're a 1300-level player and playing in the U1800 section, you really can't lose. I ended up with a small rating increase after it was over. I'm up to 1388. The next goal is to crack 1400; class C here I come! Thanks to the Columbia Chess Club for a fun tournament.