For a second year in a row I did not win any games in this tournament!
The good news is, I had one loss, five draws against players rated 1800 - 1889 and gained 17 rating points. The tournament did have it's share of "Murphistic" moments, but overall it was a helluva better then last year's event.
Unfortunately Murphy reared his ugly head in the worst possible way. He's a miserable rat bastard in regards to my laptop. Come to think of it, I'd take 0-6 in the tournament to not have the disaster that befell my lap top on Sunday night. One of the reasons there is such a delay in getting this post up is because Sunday night my Mac Book would not start. It was making horrible clicking noises when it tried to boot up. Clicking noises aren't usually good things to hear eminating from one's hard drive. My live-in Mac geek (hubby) wasn't able to do a damn thing. All of my games scores are on this computer. I did have some analysis on the other. However those were games that I posted so I can always get those off my blog. The worst thing is I've lost all my pictures from my Spain trip, and a good chunk of my Korea trip. I can get pictures from other people, but it's just not the same as taking one's own pictures.
I don't know what's with me and hard drives. It's the third time in 4 years that I've had a drive crash. Two PCs and now a Mac. My Mac geek hubby was the one who kept telling me that Dell and Compac are pieces of crap and switch to Mac. Maybe I need to get one of those Panasonic laptops that you can run over with a truck and spill water on. This time I didn't do anything stupid. It just died while I was at the tournament.
Oh yes, the tournament. That's what this post was supposed to be about. Back to chess! I played the two day schedule which meant the first 3 rounds would be Game/40 with a 5 second delay. Then the 4th round would be part of the regular schedule at 40/2 and G/60. In round one I dropped a pawn on move 14. I thought "Here we go again! I can't get much out of the opening and already blew a pawn." However I felt I had compensation for the pawn because he gave up his light squared bishop and had a gaping hole on the h1-a8 diagonal.
It was a nice way to start the tournament. I told people "I have as many points in the first round as I had for the entire tournament last year!" That was my way of laughing about last year and seeing what I could do about this year.
My second round draw was only interesting because I played a few mind games. My opponent offered me a draw on the 32nd move. The material was even, he was ahead on the clock, and he may have been slightly better. I turned the draw down anyway. I hate taking draws when there's so much material left on the board. We both had a queen, rook, two minor pieces, and four pawns. I figured it was worth using my draw psychology here. Though in this case I was not playing a kid who I out rated by 100-200 points. I was playing an older guy sitting on his 1800 floor. I figured he wasn't very confident in his ability to do anything with his slight edge so I played on. I actually won a pawn a few moves later, but he was able to force a draw in a rook and pawns ending. I couldn't escape his rook checks. Now I've doubled last year's score.
An interesting side light was what happened in round three. My second round opponent was paired against Ethan, the kid mentioned in my draw psychology post. He offered Ethan a draw after 15 moves. Ethan jumped at the draw offer since the opponent out rated him by 150 points. The thought crossed my mind that Ethan really should have kept playing, but then I reconsidered. It gave him a two hour break before having to play the fourth game of the day at the longer time control. I may have accepted a draw in that spot too. Though it begs the question, "If you're going to offer your opponent a draw after 15 moves, why bother playing that round?" Hey, it's not my money. I come to play chess. A 15 move draw is not chess.
So "Ms. I'd rather lose, then take a short draw" ends out drawing her third game in a row. It was not a 15 move, 10 minute draw. I missed a very good shot in round three. We reached this position after 18...Qc7.
I missed 19. Nb5! Probably his best continuation is 19...cxb5, 20. Rxc7 Bxc7 giving me the queen for my rook and knight. Instead I played 19. Nxd6 and eventually the game petered down to 6 pawns each and bishop against a knight. We agreed to a draw on move 32. This would give us a chance to catch a breather before the 4th round at the longer time control.
Round four, and Murphy is going to mess with my mind. Last year I had "castled queen side" on the wall chart and I got the bye in round four. Last year my sister was away, so getting a bye was going to suck. I opted for a house player, and lost that game too. This year my sister was around, but by the time I heard from her it was too late to ask for a 1/2 bye for round four. It was even too late to ask for a zero point bye. The pairings were up. She and two of her daughters were thinking about going out for dinner, and then go to a movie at 9:00 pm. Hmmm, could I play a game at 40/2 G/60 in less then 3 hours without blundering?
The answer to that question is "NO!" Some times I wish I could stick Post-It notes on certain pieces and squares to remind me of things I need to do, or not do.
"Forgive me Caissa for I have sinned." Note the four queen moves I made in the first 11 moves. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3 6.bxc3 a6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.e3 Qg5 10.f4 Qh4+ 11.g3 Qe7 12.Nf3 dxc4 13.Bxc4 b5 14.Bd3 Bb7 15.e4 Nd7 16.O-O c5 17.c4 bxc4 18.Bxc4 Bxe4 19.d5
Somewhere between moves 12 and 17 I really should have castled! If I had done that I would not have needed to remind myself not to make a capture with the pawn allowing the file to open up. In fact it was around move 15 that I said to myself "Watch out for f5 or d5, because you can't capture with the e pawn."
The problem was I didn't have a little reminder so when he pushed he played d5 I played 19...Bxd5? Thinking I'm now up two pawns. After he plays 20.Bxd5 I suddenly remember my little note from move 15. "You can't capture with the e pawn." So now he has a bishop for those two pawns. The two pawns are no bargain since I'm sitting there with 3 isolated pawns and he's piling up on my e pawn which is still pinned.
20...Ra7 21.f5 O-O 22.fxe6 fxe6 23.Re1 Rf6 24.Qb3 Nf8. After I play the knight back to f8 I'm wondering what my sister's plans are. (Kids: Don't try this at a tournament.) I go outside to call her, and see that I have a voice mail from her. They're waiting for a table at a place a few miles down the road from me, and then after dinner go to the movies. I call back and get her voice mail. I tell her that I screwed up horribly, and may join them for dinner.
I go back into the playing room and continue my game. My phone vibrates, but it's to tell my I have voice mail. I'm not sure why it kept going straight to voice mail, but we're playing telephone tag. In the mean time my position is just getting worse. 25.Bc4 Kh8 26.Re3 Qd6 27.Rd1 Qc6 28.Ne5 Qa8 29.Qb6 a5. I call her back and leave her another message saying if my opponent plays a certain move I'm resigning. I'm expecting my opponent to simply play 30 Qxc5, but instead he plays 30. Rc8. My sister calls again, and this time I actually get to talk to her. I tell her I'm on the verge of resigning and will be joining her for dinner.
As I'm having this conversation one of the kids I know hears me. So he asks me if I'm going to resign right now. I said "Probably, but I'm not sure." He follows me back into the room to watch. I decided I did not feel like having an audience for my resignation so I played a few more moves. 30...Qb7 31.Qxc5 Ra8 32.Ng6+ 1-0
Ugly game! Remind me next year if my sister is in town, just to take the round four bye and be done with it. Though I can't blame it on her. I always have trouble making the transition from the game/40 to the slower time control. I tend play as if I'm still on the short time control. I have to remind myself to slow it down.
Before my round four game my opponent mentioned that he reads my blog and enjoys it a lot. I told him he should know how I play if he's a regular reader. He told me if I beat him to be kind. So this is for you Scott. I was very kind in that I played like an idiot, and let you have an early evening. :-) Now you know why I played like an idiot.