Two First-Place Finishes in December

Round 5

I did come up with one post-game improvement, but I’ll salt that one away as a “secret”.

Where we agreed to a draw, the position was 0.0.  I saw the game continuing as 17…Bc7, 18.Nc4 Nd5, 19.Rc1 and Stockfish agrees that this position is 0.0 still.  Alex was in fact going to play 17…Bc7, 18.Nc4 e5 which is also 0.0 after I capture twice on e5.  I had 37 minutes on my clock to Alex’s 38 minutes, and so being even on board and clock was a great time to offer the draw.  If I hadn’t offered the draw there, we probably would have played it to the end.

I wanted to win the first place prize, but as it turns out if I had lost this game, I still would tied for first-second with Sam, and made only six dollars less, so it was okay to keep on playing, although I have never been much of a fan of playing on in even positions against equal or stronger opposition, unless it was a position more dynamic than technical.

My post-tournament rating is 1877, whereas I started out December at 1728.

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4 thoughts on “Two First-Place Finishes in December

  1. I replied to your comment on my blog.
    Congratulations on your first place and rating jump!
    Will get later to your game.
    Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks, RollingPawns, Happy New Year to you, too! 🙂

    In this game, Alex played …Bf5, which he likes to do a lot, but GMs don’t like to do so much. The improvement is to play Nh4 instead of g3, and this is because the downside of …Bf5 is that it doesn’t pressure that g4 diagonal. With …Bg4, I’d have to commit to h3, and possibly g4 to remove the pressure of the …Bg4, whereas here, simply Nh4 does that trick.

  3. After 6… Bg4 White plays Be2 and Fritz thinks White has +1 advantage.
    The book move after 6… Bf5 is Be2, also 7. Bd3 is possible.
    Your 7. Nh4 is good too, because 7… Be6 (Fitz move) doesn’t look very aesthetic and after 7… Bg4 White plays Qb3.

    I didn’t play today, didn’t feel well.

  4. It’s interesting, as I haven’t studied this opening much. If Nh4 is delayed, Black can play …h6, and the book is not so good for White after Be2. It’s very difficult to do anything, I’ve found, with the book moves, but Ne5 is thematic.

    You are right for not playing, as there is no need to force playing chess.

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