The last time I played down in Westfield was June 28th, 2009. After getting stuck in traffic going down, and even worse traffic coming back, I decided I wouldn't go down again until after Labor Day. It's well past Labor Day of last year, and I finally made it back down there. It just seemed like I always had something going on in the fall, and we all know about the winter from hell. On the way back from the Marshall last Thursday, Guy mentioned that he and Josh were going to Westfield. I decided it was about time I played there again. It's always nice to carpool to an event like that. I didn't really want to drive myself. The day before I was taking pictures at a scholastic event I was directing. I was sitting on the floor, and some kids tripped on each other and one of them landed on my bad ankle. Fortunately he was a little kindergartner, and not some massive high school kid. Needless to say I was a little sore the next day.
With the quad format one never knows who will end out in their section. However it's most likely all the players will be within 100 points of one another. I much prefer being at the bottom of the higher quad then number one in the next quad. The last time I was at the top of the lower quad, it was just ugly. Though it was going to take awhile before anyone knew who was in their quads. They were having printer problems and ended out having to do everything by hand. What is it with me and this tournament? Even when I mind my own business and don't get involved with the organization of the event, something goes wrong. Murphy must love this place. The first round started about 45 minutes late.
Finally the pairings were announced. I wasn't even in the room when they called my name. I was in higher quad then I was used to. I considered it my lucky day. I was number 4 in quad 4 with no little kids in it. Of the three of us, Guy had it the worst. He had the misfortune of being in a kiddie quad with 3 noisy little kids. Even though they were at a different table, I found them to be distracting. That's when my iPod comes in handy.
In the first round I played the highest player in my quad. I played a little too cautiously, and missed a few good opportunities to win a pawn. When I finally did win a pawn, I gave the opponent too much counter play. I ended out down a bishop in a rook ending. I offered a draw, which he took. It was one of those positions where it will take time to try force anything. I had a time advantage. Here's the game.
In round two I played somebody who reads my blog. He said "I'm so honored to play you. I love your blog!" I know many people read my blog despite the lack of comments. I use www.StatCounter.com to track visits. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it seems like I have decent traffic. According to this counter, I've had 88,628 page loads since I put the counter on in late 2007. Not totally sure what that really tells me, or how many of those page loads are me reading comments or looking at older posts.
We had a very interesting game. Once again I just didn't play aggressively enough out of the opening. There were times I pushed pawns one square where pushing them two squares would have been more effective. I had one of those DUH! moments. I was looking at the possibility of playing my bishop to f4 and following it up with Rc7 forking Black's bishop and queen. He moved his bishop to a6. I figured he saw the threat so I pushed my pawn to f4, resorting to plan B. What I neglected to notice was that in reality his move Ba6 was not a defensive move after all. Instead he was threatening the exact same thing I was looking at. Some how I didn't see it coming at me. It's rather annoying when I miss the tactic in reverse.
The last round game was a rather quiet game. I had played this same kid the last time I was here, and like that game it simplified down, and he offered me a draw. Since Guy and Joshua were already done, I was perfectly happy to take the draw, and hit the road. It was a rough day for the carpool crew. Between the 3 of us we managed 4 draws. Hopefully the next time we come we'll have a better day.