I got back from Kansas two weeks ago. I was a little tired from the trip, so I was not in the mood to jump right back into the thick of things. I decided I would not go for my Thursday "cracktion" fix at the Marshall. I waited until the following week for that. However it's not like I did nothing chess wise until last Thursday. Sunday I was directing the Grandmaster Challenge at the Marshall. This is a 6 round G25 tournament that is sponsored by Yevgeni Margulis. James West wrote a post on his blog about last month's tournament. It was a change of pace for me from the usual chaos that I face at large scholastic tournaments. The toughest part was trying to calculate some of the special prizes for top senior and junior because they're based on the player's age.
Wednesday I played my make up round from the Westchester Chess Club summer round robin. Unlike like last year's chaotic event, it's more manageable. We broke it down into two 6 player round robins, instead of one gigantic round robin. Instead of going by straight rating order of putting numbers 1-6 in one section and numbers 7-12 in the other section we mixed it up by alternating ratings. (1,4,5,8,9, 12) (2,3,6,7,10, 11) The idea was to give lower rated players an opportunity play some of the higher rated players. In hindsight I'm not sure this was ideal since the spread between some of the ratings is significant. I'm number 2 in my section. Number 1 is 1969 and number 6 is 987. I have my work cut out for me in this section. I beat the 987 pretty easily, but after that it gets hard.
Wednesday I played Michael Knatz, rated 1969. I did not have to play him in the club championship since he got upset in the first round, and had a few draws while I was winning my games. It was probably good that I did not have to play him in the Club Championship. I'm not sure I would have scored 5.5 and won the tournament. I'd only played him one other time, and he beat me with Black by playing a reverse Grand Prix against my English. I had forgotten about that game so I didn't know I would be seeing the same type of stuff as Black against my Sicilian.
My biggest problem stemmed from wasting moves early, and not forcing a trade of his c4 Bishop. One approach I've tried against the Grand Prix has been to attempt to trade queens after White puts his Queen on h4. However it doesn't work well when White plays Bg5 and I don't have f6 at my disposal. Things got very difficult after 13. Bg5. Here's the game.
I played again Thursday night at "Four Rated Games Tonight!" I can't stay away from my "cracktion" for too long. Things were more like they used to be with me near the very bottom of the wall chart. No kids with three digit ratings and no unrateds of dubious repute. I knew I would probably get the bye in the 2nd or 3rd round, but I didn't go for the pre-emptive last round bye. I figured I'd take my chances on maybe being able to avoid it all together, or hope there was a house player near my rating hanging out. Neither would be the case. I lost in the first round to an expert, and one of the players below me drew in the first round, and the other was taking a 1/2 point bye. That left me with the bye in round two. There wasn't a suitable house player floating around, so I just hung out. At least having a point would give me good pairings in the last two rounds. I played kids in rounds three and four, but these are big kids who out rate me by 200 points.
Wouldn't you know it! After Wednesday's ugliness, I'm paired against Zachary Weiner. Guess what he plays against my Sicilian? Yep! Another Grand Prix. However having remembered the previous night's game, I took a different approach. Early on I was able to block out his light squared bishop and not have to deal with the annoying pin on f7. I actually defended well and was up a few pawns. Unfortunately I had one of my time pressure meltdowns and hung a rook.
Sigh. I hate when that happens. I'm seriously thinking about switching tournaments in September when the Marshall starts up their next FIDE Thursday. It would be one game a week for 6 weeks at a time limit of G/120. Even though I kept telling people I don't like to come into the city just to play one game, I think it will give me a better shot at trying to regain some of my form. It's open to 1600 and above so I should get some good games.