I am playing in a 5 round tournament, G/90 + 30 second increment.
I arrived 25 minutes late, considering it an accomplishment just making it there as I was out of it last night and this morning. When Buck runs a tournament, that is about when it starts, but I found out that it starts on time with Fred (I can’t remember a tournament here ever starting on time before).
So in Round 1, I had 25 minutes less, and botched it in time pressure. First, I gave up the exchange because I really didn’t have enough time to calculate a ..Ne4 sac, didn’t see it, that would avoid the mate of 3 captures on g6. I figured this might not be an actual threat, but that takes lots of time and nervous energy to find that defense. I was going to play ..h6 instead of ..g6 at first, and then noticed the triple-attack on g6.
Later in the game, it was close, but I quickly played Bd6, seeing that I could get it to g7 in 3 moves, then realizing how stupid that was, should have played Bg7. She was much stronger than I realized, never played her before. In any case, I overlooked the 21..Bh6+ which is -+, picks up the Nf3 after Qg2+, which is why she so adroitly played the correct Rg1, upon my flawed 21..Bxe5 capture (only trades a pawn, instead of wins a piece).
Round 2, got lucky enough that Black decided not to castle, returning the exchange, which would have been around +1 for Black. After the game, I told him that he should have castled, played ..Nd7, etc. The winning move for White would have been Nd4 rather than the b4(?!) move which I played.
Round 3, I got the brother of the girl in Round 1. This kid played the opening fast, then suddenly he spends around 8 minutes on Qxh7 (which was obvious to me and expected when I captured on d4). I didn’t play h3 before that combo because Black could sidestep it with Qd3, I figured.
Then Justin spent over half an hour on the Be3 move, and I had already lost my chess composure, and it was like starting the game all over again as if I were cold. I had seen Ra1, before and after I played Rxa2, but after waiting so long to move, I was willing to play anything that wasn’t a blunder. Now I see what that does to a person when the other person takes so long on a move. It’s very hard to pick up where one left off. Anyway, I didn’t have the discipline, and I went over it with Fruit. There is a “Karpovian” way to win that seems almost unbelievable at first, by pawn-rolling the f and e pawns while White is in zugzwang. Anyway, I was not that capable of a chessplayer, particulary at G/90, which I am so accustomed to now. The positional stuff is pure hell at this time-control, and this all we really play at these days G/90ish time-controls. I include defensive positional play in that comment.
The girl in Round 1 was rated 1082 at the beginning of this year. This tournament is as I dreaded and knew was coming, attack of the killer kid, under-rated chessplayers.
Anyway, the London System is one of those few openings that I have no answer for in my repertoire. You can see that I faced it twice, against the brother and sister and tried something different each time. In round 1, I should have taken the Ne5, and that was my gut reaction. Also, I could have played a ..Nh5, but I didn’t realize who I was up against.
I feel like I am lucky to get a draw against any of these opponents; all three are quite capable. I don’t expect that it will get any easier in the final two rounds. Maybe I will face some higher-rated players tomorrow, that way regardless of result I have less to lose to some extent. But I would lose a lot of rating points almost no matter who I would play. This is why when the really high-rateds lose a game, they often pull out of a tournament, probably knowing that continuing on is a lose-lose proposition and therefore a waste of time.
I’ve learned quite a bit about this London System going over Round 1. The thing about this opening is that the person who knows more of it’s positional ideas will have the bigger practical edge.