Monday, April 17, 2006

Western Pacific Open Results! (Updated)

I had a solid performance this tournament. Not necessarily a performance I dream of, but it was close.

In round 1 I played the top seed from the 3-day schedule as I predicted, IM Timothy Taylor. I actually got a strategically complicated position against him and was doing find pretty much the whole game, I was even slightly better for a while, but eventually I just miscalculated and collapsed.

In round 2 I play an unrated who gave me a scare when I overlooked a trick he had, but then I realized that this was not a trick at all as it dropped his queen, I wasn't feeling in the best form for this game, but I won fairly quickly and even mated in the endgame with most of the pieces on the board.

In round 3 I played NM Ilya Serpik who I have faced now for the 3rd time going into this game my record against him was 1-0-1 and we have even played some blitz in between rounds so I was feeling good. He played some offbeat line and I got a very nice position out of the opening with black. I actually threw away most of the edge I got by not spending enough time on some of my moves, but I still got a position with good pressure. He blundered shortly after and I converted no problem.

In round 4 I played NM Gregg Small with white. We reached a very complicated position in the middle game which I decided to show:
White to move
So, I might not have chosen the best continuation here, but I think I found a strong idea. Here I played Nb2!? (The whole point of the maneuver I had made from c3 to d1 was to go to c4). I was showing this game to some friends and they have the nerve to criticize this move which I believe I have full compensation if he takes the exchange which he didn't. I probably could've played Be1 first preparing the same idea, but this was still fine. The line I calculated was 19..Nf2+ 20. Rf2 Bf2 21. Nc4 Qa7 (forced) 22. Rf1 Bc5 here I stopped feeling that if nothing else I would have Qg3 Rdg8 Qh4 with some serious compensation, but in fact, I have a knockout that I couldn't calculate all the way in advance, but looked dangerous. 23. Ne5! fe 24. f6 Kd6 (forced or it's basically mate) 25. fg Rhg8 (or Rhe8 Bg5 with a strong attack) 26. Bc4! and the pawn is immune due to Qf6+ 26.. Kc7 27. Bg8 Rg8 28. Qh5 and white has 3 pawns for the sacrificed piece and a continue attack +/-.

Unfortunately for me, things did not end so brilliantly in the game. My opponent wisely declined the exchange and instead played Be8 after which he eventually broke though at the wrong moment which lost a pawn in a position where I was up a pawn and had a better position. Unfortunately in some mutual time trouble (although his was worse) I fell for his last trick in the position which gave him a slightly better endgame which he ground down very well.

In round 5 I got what I deserved for failing to convert my won position in round 4, I was paired against a 1475 player. I won quickly, but I gained (almost) nothing from the game. It did however bring me up to 3/5 which through some miraculous series of events allowed me to qualify for the state championship candidate tournament in June. I'm looking forward to that and I'm hoping to be able to qualify for the state championship there.

Estimated rating change 2129->2135, not bad, I'll be hoping to be doing some more damage in upcoming events. (Note, had I won my 4th game, it would've been another 12 points gained regardless of my result last round against the IM I would've been paired against)

Rating Change Actually: 2129-2137 due to unrated finishing 1900 instead of expected 1800

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