Fall Classic Tournament

….also called the Winter Springs Open, but apparently since it’s not “Winter” yet….

Round 1

I saw 24…Qc4 with half a minute left, but was looking for anything better 24…Bxb4! –+.  When I saw I was at five seconds, I played my move and pressed the clock, but somehow it said 30 seconds and flag light was on, so I must have been a tenth of a second too slow, when I was expecting to have made the move with two or three seconds still left.  In the post-mortem, I was mating or winning several different ways against Rhett’s various tries.  he did eventually play the best 28.Nc4, giving up two pawns for the piece but tried 28.Nc4 bxN, 29.Qxa3 Rf7, 30.RxR BxR, 31.bxc? (Rhett and Expert Daniel both chose this capture, which I didn’t see the point of since b1 is controlled by my bishop).  31.dxc is the only way to play on (neither one could hold it after 31.bxc?) with three pawns for the piece.

Round 2

Again, this time on move 40, I played 40…Kf3?? (naturally not seeing the saving move 40…Nf1), knowing that 40…f4+ would be winning for him.  Well, again and this time I was watching the clock when I pressed it, and his clock flagged me as soon as I had pressed the button.  I asked him what his move would be, since I wanted to know if he would have played …f4+, and after some thought he did play that move and won the position easily post-mortem.  We were both nervous during this game and probably both having trouble concentrating (he is closer to my age) compared to Round 1, when a mind is fresh, and we both got under a minute, so neither had any extended time to think and we both had to rattle off moves.  If this had been 40/2hrs time control, there would theoretically be ten minutes left for my 40th move.

Over the years, time-controls for weekend chess tournaments (What happened to “Chess Congress”es?) have gradually gotten faster, and I can’t see how this would benefit people who both study chess books and play in these tournaments unless they are gifted young kids whose parents drag them around to every local tournament (there are many in Colorado – but not in most states!).

Anyway, I may get a bye for Round 3 because I have such a low-score – which sucks, particularly for that reason!.  One thing is for sure that I will get little sleep yet again.

Getting back to the game, I wanted to play 23.Bc1 followed by 24.Ng5, which is winning, but didn’t trust it because it looked anti-positional, and I just didn’t have that much time left to risk missing something.  Also, earlier, I strongly considered 16.c5 pawn sac, as I had been setting up for it for many moves, and figured on 16.c5 bxc, 17.Rb1 Qc6 which opens line against his king, and gets me a great game, but I went for the more positional continuation, and he defended better than I had expected him to.

Funny thing about this game, I forgot to bring a pen, and I used the only junk pen left at the table, and it literally fell apart, and it was taking me a long time to write the moves as all I had to write with was that little skinny plastic ink cartridge the width of the ball.  Despite about five players and the TD watching, no one offered me a pen to borrow even though I kept dropping it as I tried to write my moves.

Round 3

Despite flagging in the two previous games, I got into time-pressure in this game as well, making quite a few moves with 15 seconds remaining, and wisely not letting the time ever drop below that point.

Round 4

Started this game out slow, as if an another flagging would be impending.  She played this …d6-d5 dragon variation, which I had always wanted to play against as White.  Stockfish says her queen trade was a mistake, she should play …Qc7 instead.  Most theoreticians frown on winning the d5 pawn, but I wanted to, and have never thought it too cool that Black was giving up a pawn like that.

After 7.f3, I had 1 hr and five minutes remaining, as I was looking at lines where Black plays 7…Qb6? instead of 7…0-0.  It was her not playing of …Nc6 that threw me off.

When I played 10.exd5, seeing the variation in which I would win a pawn, I had 53 minutes left.  This might seem freaky of me, but from this point on I played on the increment and actually finished the game with that same 53 minutes remaining on my clock!  I had anticipated her moves, so the game felt like it played itself, and it was sharp, and concrete enough that no second-guessing was required.

On a lighter note, funniest flagging I’ve seen, the game was barely started.

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5 thoughts on “Fall Classic Tournament

  1. In the last game, you didn’t win a pawn so much as she didn’t know theory:
    10 exd5 Nxd5 11 Nxd5 cxd5 12 Qxd5 Qc7 13 QxRa8 Bf5 14 QxRf8+ Kxf8 is a known line that is thought to be a little easier for black to play.
    As white I’ve drawn a couple and lost a couple but it is definitely hard to defend and not really to be entered as white.

  2. Trebig, thanks for your reply! 🙂

    I did notice that line with Stockfish, trading the queen for two rooks, while going over the game with my friend Alexander. Yeah, I got the sense that this line was very dangerous for my king, and not to be entered again on a whim, unless I have something up my sleeve/prepared for it next time. I was thinking of avoiding it instead, yes. 😉

  3. Round 1 – 22. Qc1 started his troubles, 22. Ka1 is better.
    24. Nf3 not good either, Nd3 would defend b4, you could play Rc8 instead of Bg6+ and he can’t defend b4.
    Yeah, Bxb4 was the key.

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