Monday, November 13, 2006

Carroll Capps Memorial

In past years this was a relatively strong event, it wasn't quite as strong this year, but there were a few masters I wanted to get a crack at. The tournament started well, in the first round I got my warm-up by slowly outplaying a B-player to get the win as black. In the second round I played a young (and hence dangerous) 1800 as white and got a nice King's Indianesque mating attack on the white side of the open Sicilian strangely enough. In round 3 disaster struck. My opponent played a move I knew from previous preparation to be dubious, but I didn't take the time to calculate moves I "knew" to be theory when in fact I was confusing two similar lines that would have been easy to check if I had calculated so I ended up just dropping a pawn then followed it up by blundering and exchange. I fought back tough and at some point was even up a pawn for the exchange I blundered so early, but my opponent held on for the win. In round 4 (the last g/1) I faced an unrated guy from Germany who was reasonably strong and had a provisional (but still unpublished) rating of 179x. He played a tricky opening line and I made one mistake to give back his sacrificed pawn and go into an endgame that was slightly better for black. My opponent seemed eager just to draw, but I was not ready for this result so I played on despite my slightly inferior position and I was rewarded later by being able to play a nice tactic on the board that won 2 pawns (it offered a rook sacrifice that could not be accepted do to a somewhat strange looking mate) and after that I won easily. So finally I got to go home and rest and prepare for an opponent I had played not too long ago. This time he chose to play the advanced variation against "my" french defense and played 2 or arguably 3 horrific positional moves the the opening when I got what I thought was close to a winning advantage. Unfortunately I played one move based on miscalculation which gave him the moves h3 and g4 for free which really put me under a bind. I thought my position was close to lost when I realized that I had a nice resource which he needed to avoid as it won on the spot following a strong attack I had for the exchange. I eventually ended up in a 3 pawn up R+N endgame where my technique was far from optimal but more than good enough to win. In the last round I finally got to play NM Michael Aigner. This was my first game against a player 2200-2450 since reno (i.e. a stronger player, but one I could be reasonably expected to score some points against too). I played very strangely in the opening (he played the bird's opening which is famous for with the nickname fpawn on ICC) and we reached a complicated middlegame which just favored white in all variations unfortunately, I tried to generate some tricks, but it was to no avail and he wrapped up the point cleanly. Overall even though the result was similar, I can be much happier with my play this weekend, I feel my tactics getting better, I just need to continue to practice before American Open in 2 weeks.
Estimated Rating Change: 2116 ->2110

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