My 14th consecutive game without a loss

Unfortunately, I missed winning chances in this game.  Paul had an hour of time remaining at the end of the game, but that’s no excuse that I didn’t manage my own time well enough, since Paul likes to make the play mostly about the endgame, the later stages are where the opportunities are against him.

Round 2, Strong Swiss

[Event “Strong Swiss”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.11.14”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Paul Covington”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “1837”]
[ECO “B22”]
[EventDate “2018.11.14”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1913”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. e5 Ne7 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 Nf5 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. Be2
Qb6 9. Na4 Bb4+ 10. Bd2 Bxd2+ 11. Qxd2 Qb4 12. Qxb4 Nxb4 13. O-O b6 14. Nc3 Bd7
15. a3 Nc6 16. Nb5 Ke7 17. g4 Nh6 18. h3 f6 19. Rac1 fxe5 20. Nxe5 Nxe5 21.
dxe5 Bxb5 22. Bxb5 Rac8 23. Ba6 Rxc1 24. Rxc1 Rd8 25. f4 g5 26. Rc7+ Rd7 27.
Rxd7+ Kxd7 28. Kg2 Nf7 29. Kf3 h6 30. Bd3 Ke7 31. Bg6 Nd8 32. Bd3 Nc6 33. b4 b5
34. Ke3 a6 35. Be2 Kf7 36. Bd3 Ke7 37. Be2 Kf7 38. Bd3 Kg7 39. Kf3 h5 40. gxh5
Kh6 41. Bg6 a5 42. bxa5 Nxa5 43. Be8 Nc4 44. Bxb5 Nxa3 45. Bd7 gxf4 46. Kxf4
Kxh5 47. Bxe6 Nc4 48. Bf7+ Kh6 49. e6 Kg7 50. Bh5 Kf6 51. Bg4 Ne5 52. e7 Ng6+
53. Ke3 Kxe7 54. Kd4 Kd6 55. Bf3 Nf4 56. h4 Ne6+ 57. Kd3 Ke5 58. h5 Nf4+ 59.
Ke3 Nxh5 1/2-1/2

 

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The English, with an Expert

In my second round game, I played Earl, with the Black pieces.  Earl is normally Expert rated, but his rating dropped just a bit below that due to an upset by Jesse in the City Championship.

Another interesting game to analyze.  At one point, I played 37…Kf8, and then 38…Kf7?? I believe this was played, and it was on his scoresheet, but that’s right about where I messed up my score.  He made a move, I didn’t write it down but instead moved instantly, and then he replied instantly.  I should have written his first move down as soon as he made it.  Anyway, I believe the score is accurate, and the final position certainly is.  Obviously, were were both in time-pressure, making moves with under a minute.  I got down to 5 seconds before playing 35…Qg6, even though I knew it was the only move – crazy sort of thing people do in time-pressure.

[Event “November Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.11.14”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Earl Wikle”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “1913”]
[ECO “A25”]
[EventDate “2018.11.14”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1991”]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nc6 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Nd5 O-O 6. Nf3 Re8 7. O-O Nxd5 8.
cxd5 Nd4 9. Nxd4 exd4 10. e4 dxe3 11. dxe3 d6 12. a3 Ba5 13. b4 Bb6 14. Bb2 Bf5
15. Qh5 Bg6 16. Qg4 Qc8 17. Qc4 Qd7 18. a4 a5 19. b5 Re7 20. Rac1 Rae8 21. Bd4
Bxd4 22. Qxd4 b6 23. Rc4 Be4 24. f3 Bf5 25. e4 Bh3 26. Rfc1 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 f5
28. Rxc7 Qd8 29. Qxb6 fxe4 30. fxe4 Rxe4 31. Qa7 Qg5 32. Rf1 Re2+ 33. Kg1
Qh6 34. Rf2 Rxf2 35. Qxf2 Qg6 36. Qc2 Qg5 37. Qc3 Kf8 38. Rc8 Qe7 39. b6 Kf7
40. Rxe8 Qxe8 41. Qf3+ Kg6 42. Qd3+ Kh6 43. Qd2+ Kg6 44. Kf2 h6 45. b7 Qf7+ 46.
Qf4 Qxb7 47. Qxd6+ Kf7 48. Qe6+ Kf8 49. d6 Qf7+ 50. Qxf7+ Kxf7 51. Ke3 Ke6 52.
Kd4 Kxd6 1/2-1/2

Post City Championship

Round 1, November Swiss

I guess the question is, could I keep the unbeaten streak alive?  Paul Anderson kindly wrote in Colorado Springs Chess News:  “Current City Champ, Brian Rountree continues his unbeaten streak in round 1 of the November Swiss 90. Look out GM Ding Liren!”

This is only David’s second rated chess tournament, his first rated tournament was the City Championship where he actually won two games (it took me multiple tournaments before I won my first rated game).  Not bad for a first tournament!

I thought about playing other variations, but really wanted to play what I know against a new opponent for me.

4.c4 Why not? Certainly, the idea of a future cxd…cxd to weaken b5 for the Nc3, was enough for me.

6…exd Surprising choice of recapture.

8…c4 His pushing the play, with each chance he gets, is a little too predictable, or predictable from a much lower-rated opponent. 8…Ne7 looked solid.

10…h6 This must have been either to support …g5, or prevent a Bg5 pin on a knight, and struck me as too optimistic for Black.

12…Rg8? 12…Ng4 would have been the most critical reply, although …BxNc3 and …Nh7 are possible. After the game, I mentioned to David that 12…Ng4, 13.h3 h5 (aka the Fishing-Pole), might be possible here. Also unclear were 12…Ng4, 13.Nd5 Ba5, and 13.Ne4. This is a position that is crying out for some creative insight!

13…gxf6? Relatively pointless, although it sure looks enticing from a visual perspective. I was expecting 13…Nxf6.

18.Nxf6+ This game is long over, but I was sorely tempted to play a fantasy variation (ha! no pun intended) just to keep the game interesting. We both had half an hour or more remaining at the end of the game, and so the line goes 18.exf Rxg+, 19.QxR BxQ, 20.fxBe7 Qc8 (say), 21.KxB. Black has all six minor pieces versus queen and rook, and the king is trapped to where it can’t castle.

[Event “November Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.11.06”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Brian John Rountree”]
[Black “David Tomy”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1354”]
[ECO “B12”]
[EventDate “2018.11.06”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1913”]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 Nd7 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bd3 c5 8. Ne2 c4
9. Bc2 dxe4 10. fxe4 h6 11. O-O Ngf6 12. e5 Rg8 13. exf6 gxf6 14. Nf4 Bd6 15.
Qe2+ Be7 16. Nfd5 Ne5 17. dxe5 Bh3 18. Nxf6+ Kf8 19. Bxh6+ Rg7 20. Bxg7+ Kxg7
21. gxh3 Bc5+ 22. Kh1 Kf8 23. Ncd5 Rc8 24. Qg4 Qxd5+ 25. Nxd5 1-0

 

Round 1, November Strong-Swiss

Me and Sam always have these highly contentious positional battles, and it looked like Sam had me in this one.  However, there is always the clock, and as we both got down to five minutes remaining (in less than 20 moves!) one of those inevitable possibilities happened.

1.b3  Sam always plays The Nimzo-Larsen Attack.

3…d6. 3…d5, 4.Bb5 is often considered as a positional error for Black, because BxNc6 will be so strong in this variation. So, this is one way to avoid that, and just like that I am in some new line where I don’t have a clue.

6…g6. My first reaction, and almost played, was 6…a6, but 7.BxN NxB looks strange, as I sort of want to castle queenside then, well I suppose …d5 and …Bd6 and …f6 type plan would be possible, thinking of it now. If 7.Bd3 Nb4 was unusual, and I wasn’t sure. In hindsight, it looks rather strong for Black, as 8.a3 NxBd3, 9.cxN looks like it strenghtens White’s center, but really gives Black a tempo in a way, with freer and clearer development. I thought he should have played 6.d4, but we are talking instincts in an unknown position. I would play …a6 here, given another chance.

12.d4 This is the move that I overlooked when playing …Nb4.

12…Qe7. I spent a long time looking at 12.Qg5, but we both saw that this move at least protects the …Nb4.

14.Nc3 A solid positional move that I missed.

15.Qd3! Very nice. Protecting e3, and connecting the rooks.

15…f5 I reached to play 15…Rad8 (with idea of …Bc8 with possible …Bb7 redeployment), which helps me knight get back into play with …Nc5 (or …c5) type moves, but in one line I saw I didn’t have time, and so this move played was more out of a feeling of necessity.

16.Rae1! He is onto this position.

16…e4 Not what I desired to play, but the only practicable move that I could find. 16…exd, 17.exd Qd6, 18.Red1 with c4 coming, hitting the loose …Na6 is what I was worried about there. If 16…Rad8, then 17.e4 f4, 18.Nge2 g5 might have been best, with …Bf5 to come, but I was a bit aghast that this seemed forced, and didn’t have the nerve to try it. If Black doesn’t play 17…f4 in this line, then White will take on f5 and e5 and has more centralized play – the …Na6 is offside, and the isolated pawns are not encouraging.

17.Qd2!? This came as a surprise. I was only expecting 17.Qe2.

17…Be6? This is a mistake. 17…c5 looks warranted, as Black needs some play, even at the cost of a temporary knight incursion to d5. 17…c5, 18.Nd5 Qd6

18.Na4! Came as a surprise, as 19.Qa5 is threatened.

18…Rab8?! A likely blunder. 18…Rad8 was the other move I was considering.

19…Bc8 I offered a draw here, as this seemed the time to do it, since we were both down to 5 minutes (I had another half minute), and I was only expecting his queen to retreat rather than block itself in with 20.b4! He accepted my draw offer immediately, as we’ve had some crazy time-scrambles together where I did rather well in all but the last one.

After the game, Sam showed me 20.b4, threating 21.b5! winning the knight. I made good on some ridiculous tries in the post-mortem, such as 19…f4, but White must be simply winning here. I would not have offered the draw, had I known that I was completely losing and dropping a piece, as that’s not my style, I don’t make insulting draw offers, or at least haven’t made one yet, in that sense. In any case, Sam was rather happy and pleased with what we got done in the time we had, as was I of course. So, for us at least, it was another fun night of playing chess.

[Event “Strong Swiss”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.11.07”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Sam Bridle”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “1913”]
[ECO “A01”]
[EventDate “2018.11.07”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1800”]

1. b3 e5 2. Bb2 Nc6 3. e3 d6 4. Bb5 Bd7 5. Ne2 Nge7 6. O-O g6 7. f4 Bg7 8. Ng3
O-O 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. fxe5 Nd5 11. c4 Nb4 12. d4 Qe7 13. a3 Na6 14. Nc3 dxe5 15.
Qd3 f5 16. Rae1 e4 17. Qd2 Be6 18. Na4 Rab8 19. Qa5 Bc8 1/2-1/2

New Colorado Springs City Champion

Round 5

Going into the last round, there were four of us players contending for the title of City Champion.  My opponent, and I, as well as Paul Anderson and Dan Avery on the other board.   There had been a lot of upsets in this tournament, and many in the lower-half of the draw finished with three points or so.

I was the clear favorite going into the last round, since I had White against a lower-rated opponent, however I choked in the opening, and it wasn’t long before I was simply defending a losing position.

At the end of the game, Black needs to play either 47…Rf5 or …Rh5.  After the game, I showed Jesse that I was looking at the line 47…RxR, 48.NxR Rxf, 49.Ng5, but then instantly realized I can’t give up the b4 pawn, even for his e6 pawn.  I believe that 49.Ke3 or Kd3 is the move, then 49…Rf3+, 50.Kd4 (if 49.Rf1 Rxg), and the position looks clearly losing for Black.

This game came down to hanging in there as White, and the move 29…Ng4??; whereas, I was expecting either …Nd7-e5, …Qc7 or …Qd6.  He might have tried 29…Ne5, followed by …Nh5-f4, for example.  It was a critical point for Jesse to determine how he wanted to decide the game.

His move was more understandable, in light of not looking for opponent’s best replies.  When a player doesn’t frequently study tactics (I don’t know whether he does or not, in his case), it’s natural to not look too hard for refutations.  Most tactics positions have refutations for plausible wrong answers.

In the end, he flagged, and so this is how I became the 2018 Colorado Springs City Champion!  🙂

After the game, everyone congratulated me, including the Hermans, and Master Josh Bloomer.  Expert Earl Wikle said “Welcome to the club!” when he shook my hand (reminded me of when they give the green jacket to the Masters golf tournament winner).

I was only the 7th seed in a field of 19, whereas in a normal monthly tournament, like next month’s, I would possibly be the 2nd seed.  A big reason why this tournament gets such a strong turnout, and the longest and most competitive games of any month, is because it is called the City Championship, and the winner gets their name on the club plaque for the current year.  I believe there are three plaques that I have seen, as the tournament dates back to the 1940’s, but of the two plaques that Paul had up on the wall, the yearly list of names goes back to 1960’s, before I was born.

It would have been neat to tell my dad that I had won.  I never told him about any of my chess successes, back when I had the chance to.

[Event “City Championship”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.10.30”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Brian John Rountree”]
[Black “Jesse Williams”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1624”]
[ECO “B01”]
[EventDate “2018.10.30”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1893”]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd8 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d4 Bf5 6. Bc4 e6 7. Nh4 Bg6 8.
Nxg6 hxg6 9. Be3 c6 10. a4 Bb4 11. Qf3 Nbd7 12. O-O Qc7 13. Bf4 Bd6 14. Bxd6
Qxd6 15. h3 Qxd4 16. Bb3 Qh4 17. Rfe1 O-O-O 18. a5 a6 19. Ra4 Qh5 20. Qe3 Qc5
21. Qe2 Rh5 22. Bc4 Qa7 23. Raa1 Re5 24. Qf1 Rh8 25. Bd3 Rhh5 26. b4 Reg5 27.
Re3 Qb8 28. Be2 Rh4 29. Rb1 Ng4 30. Rg3 Qe5 31. hxg4 f5 32. Qe1 Nf6 33. Bf3 Qd6
34. Qd1 Qxd1+ 35. Rxd1 fxg4 36. Be4 Rgh5 37. Kf1 Re5 38. f3 gxf3 39. gxf3 Rh1+
40. Rg1 Rh2 41. Rg2 Rh1+ 42. Ke2 Rh3 43. Kf2 g5 44. Re1 g4 45. f4 Nxe4+ 46.
Rxe4 Rf3+ 47. Ke2 1-0

Here is one of those beautiful songs from the 1970’s that they’ve long since stopped playing on the radio:

Round 4, City Championship

Round 4

I was going to take a bye, until I found it that it would have only been a zero point bye, so I went to play and was glad I did, as I was feeling better than expected, after getting over a respiratory infection.

 

[Event “City Championship”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.10.23”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Paul Anderson”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1893”]
[ECO “A21”]
[EventDate “2018.10.23”]
[TimeControl “G/30, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “2000”]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. g3 Bxc3 4. dxc3 Ne7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nf3 d6 7. O-O Nbc6 8.
Qc2 f6 9. b3 Be6 10. Bb2 Ng6 11. Rfd1 Qe7 12. Rd2 f5 13. e3 Rae8 14. Re1 Kh8
15. Ree2 Qf6 16. Qc1 f4 17. exf4 exf4 18. Re1 Bg4 19. Nd4 Nce5 20. Rf1 c5 21.
Nb5 Nf3+ 22. Bxf3 Bxf3 23. Re1 Rd8 24. Qc2 a6 25. Nc7 Ne5 26. Rxe5 Qxe5 27. Qc1
fxg3 28. hxg3 Qh5 29. Qf1 Qh1# 0-1

The imponderables

Round 3 City Championship

Once upon a time, it seemed essential for me to have nervous energy before a game, and so I had a cherry pepsi on the way, but I was only far too nervous in the first part of the game, and too amped to quietly look for moves in the second part of it, which is part of why this game came to an abrupt end.  Once again the playing hall was hot for me (last time, I turned down the temp during the game after complaining about it a few times).  It is really more about me, though, because I get too nervous when I’m hot, when playing, and vice-versa.

I had 17 minutes at the end of the game, and my opponent close to an hour.  I had the advantage, but this is just the type of technical position, ala Magnus Carlsen, that I prefer to avoid.  I thought during the game that if there were a second time-control, that I would play on to reach it, but I did not want this type of game to be decided in my time-pressure.  It was really difficult for me to figure on how to go about proceeding in it, I have to admit, so did look at it with a computer for a while.

After the game, some Experts went over my game and easily converted the a-pawn, and won it for Black.  Expert Dan Avery, the highest seed, told me that the a-pawn is worth a piece.  Well, I got some good chess lessons from the Expert and from 1900 Peter.  This type of position is like a hole in my game, where one side is set to convert a pawn in the next 10-15 moves.  I feel lost in it, so it is good to practice it even if that’s only after the game.  This is not the first time that Mike has taken me into a technical position where I found it difficult to proceed correctly.

Me and Mike were both 2/2 going into this third round.  In the previous round Mike won against an Expert.  Still, this was no reason for me to play without keeping my cool.  This happens to me quite a bit, I get nervous in third rounds after going two out of two, but I am also too nervous of a player, in general.  Need to find a way to play more calmly.

[Event “City Championship”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.10.16”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Mike Evars Smith”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “1893”]
[ECO “C55”]
[EventDate “2018.10.16”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1598”]

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. e5 d5 6. Bb3 Ne4 7. O-O Bc5 8. c3
dxc3 9. Qxd5 Qxd5 10. Bxd5 cxb2 11. Bxb2 Nxf2 12. Bxc6+ bxc6 13. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 14.
Kxf2 Bf5 15. Nbd2 O-O 16. Nd4 Bd7 17. Rc1 Rab8 18. Ba3 Rfe8 19. e6 Bxe6 20.
Nxc6 Rb6 21. Ne7+ Kh8 22. Rxc7 Ra6 23. Bc5 Rxa2 24. Be3 Rd8 25. Ke1 Ra1+ 26.
Kf2 Ra2 27. Ke1 Ra1+ 28. Kf2 1/2-1/2

Time-Pressure Experience

Round 2 City Championships

My opponent in this game has a provisional rating.  He played Peter for his first rated game, and lost, so it gave him a 1400 rating.  Well, in round 1, this time he won against Peter, who is 1940 rated, so I knew that I had my work cut out for me.

It’s funny, I played the Bb5 Sicilian again, and haven’t even gotten to seriously studying yet.  Lately, I’ve been studying all kinds of other oddball openings.  I played this opening against Larry, who was an Expert a year ago, and won with it last month.  I played it tonight, spur of the moment decision.  Other than that, I haven’t played it OTB or online in over a decade.  Such a strange decision, but the C3 Sicilian is equal, and I have looked at quite a few of RP’s games.  😉  I was just happy to see the early …Nc6 move on move two, and figured it was a good time to learn some more about this opening.

I was late, but only had 11 minutes off my clock when I started – forgot to get gas, and had to stop off the freeway to get some, and put air in my tires.

Early in the middlegame, I figured that Ron had gone wrong, and White was winning, but later I blundered with 20.Bxa6??, and saw my blunder as soon as I started taking my hand away from the piece.  Naturally, I had been looking at something else when I played this, was looking at trying to trap his queen with 20.Bc3 Ba4 (found this, late), 21.Qf3  with Ra1 coming, but he can extricate his queen with Qb3, and it appeared he had gotten out of trouble.  Well, of course there are other moves, but I simply hadn’t blunder-checked that one that I played.

After this, I was trying to hang in there, and then he laid that creative combination on e4 on me, which surprised me.  This is when I knew exactly how good a player that my opponent was.

28…Qc5!  Surprised again.  I figured that he would probably win after 29…Qc1+, not just draw, so I didn’t allow it.

31…Qf6?  I was pleasantly surprised to see this move, as I figured that 31…Qe6 was basically an easy win for Black.

33…Bf8  At first, I figured that this move was simply winning, but he took so long to play it that I was inspired to find an antidote.  So, I found and played my move shortly after seeing …Bf8 played.

Now comes the strange phase.  I guess I got hypnotized by his clock, as he was repeating the position with 4 seconds when he moved (then, he would get his 30 seconds and repeat this procedure).  I didn’t want the draw, but did look up at him at one point to see if he wanted it, but Ross was still studying the board, so I was quite okay with this.  Meanwhile, I would play my moves with around 50 seconds left, because I do like some kind of buffer in case something goes wrong.

Anyway, you see how the game played out.  I saw g3 the first time, but not h4.  For some reason I kept looking at the terrible f4, even though I could plainly see that it does little more than drop a pawn.

 

[Event “City Championship”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2019.10.09”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Ross Inman”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1476”]
[ECO “B31”]
[EventDate “2019.10.09”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1893”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. c3 d6 6. Re1 Bd7 7. d4 cxd4 8. cxd4
a6 9. Bf1 Qc7 10. Nc3 Nf6 11. h3 O-O 12. Bg5 h6 13. Be3 e6 14. Rc1 b5 15. d5
Ne5 16. Nxe5 dxe5 17. Nxb5 Qa5 18. Nc7 Rac8 19. Bd2 Qxa2 20. Bxa6 Rxc7 21. Rxc7
Qxa6 22. Bc3 Ba4 23. Qf3 Qd6 24. Ra7 Bc2 25. Rb7 Nxe4 26. Rxe4 Bxe4 27. Qxe4
exd5 28. Qa4 Qc5 29. Qd7 d4 30. Rc7 Qb6 31. Rb7 Qf6 32. Bb4 Rd8 33. Qc7 Bf8 34.
Rb6 Qg5 35. Rb7 Qf6 36. Rb6 Qg5 37. Rb7 Qf6 38. Rb6 Qh4 39. Rb7 Qf6 40. Rb6 Qg5
41. Rb7 Qf6 42. Rb6 Qh4 43. g3 Qg5 44. h4 Bd6 45. Rxd6 Ra8 46. hxg5 1-0