I'm so glad I traveled to New Jersey to play one of the Marshall Chess Club usual suspects. I guess that's what happens when I wear my new Marshall CC baseball cap to other tournaments. Just like Thursday night I lost to him. Make that 0-15 against the guy. I'm not superstitious, but I was wondering if this was a bad omen to lose to the same guy that started off my 0-4 evening at the Marshall last Thursday.
We had our own little bi-state chess bloggers carnival at the tournament. Here I am with Jim West and Atomic Patzer, Tom Stanics.
Grandmasters Alexander Stripunsky and Sergey Kudrin do battle on Board 1 in round 4. I'm not sure what the final result was, but there was no two move grandmaster draw since there was another 3-0 playing a 2.5 on Board 2.
The playing room for the Open Section was very nice. The room is the classroom and restaurant for the school's culinary program students. Everyone had individual tables, and we were far away from the scholastic bedlam occurring in the main cafeteria. Ruy Lopez would have liked the layout. If you had misfortune of facing the windows you had to deal with the sunlight in your eyes and reflecting off the board.
The tournament got off to a rough start. After losing to Privman in round 1, I got paired against a middle school kid with a rating in the mid 1500s.
He spent the entire game attacking the living daylights out of me. After 26. Qe7 we reached this position. I thought I was dead meat here. He's attacking my bishop and my f7 pawn. He also is threatening Bxg6. I kept looking for a way to resolve all my problems. First I considered 26...Ba6. However then follows 27. Bxg6+ Rxg6 28. Qxf7+ Kh8 29. Rxg6 and mate in 1 or 2.
Next I considered just giving up the bishop to defend the f pawn with 26...Kg8. That's bad too. 27. Bxg6 Nd6 28. Bxf7+Kh8 29. Be8 Nxe8 30. Qg7+
I was on the verge of resigning, but having been given to premature resignations as of late I decided to keep looking. Finally I came up with 26...Qc7. That appears to hold everything. My opponent played 27. Qb4. I was patting myself on the back for toughing it out and finding the move that seems to hold everything together. However it doesn't really since my opponent missed 27.Rxg6! Qxe7 28. Rg7+ Kh8 29. fxe7 Rb8 30. Rxf7 and goes downhill from there.
The game continued 27... Nxf6 28. Qd4 Ng4 29. Be2Bc8 30. Bxg4 Bxg4 31. Nxd5 Rxd5 32. Qxd5 Bxd1 33. Rxd1 Qf4+ 34. Kb1 Kg7 35. Qa5Qxh4 36. Qxa7 Qf4 37. Qa3 h4 38. Qc3+ Qf6 39. Qxf6+ Kxf6 40. a4 h3 41. a5 Rh842. a6 Ra8 43. Rh1 Rxa6 44. Rxh3 g5 45. c4 At this point we both stopped notating to arrive at the position below. According to Fritz, Black is slightly better. However Fritz is never in time trouble so what does it know?
With seconds left on my clock the position looks something like this. The White pawns are definitely on those squares. My pawns I'm not sure about.
Don't ask me how his pawns got up the board like that, and mine didn't. I think I made too many defensive moves with my rook. I think two factors came into play. The first was I spent the entire game on the defensive. Sometimes it's hard to switch gears so one tends to stay in defense mode even after the attack has been stopped. The other issue was the clock. This is where a better understanding of rook and pawn endings would help. I guess I should have brought Silman's Endgame Manual with me on vacation. (Too big!)
To be continued from DFW....