Thursday, March 13, 2008

1 Year Of Chess

So what have I learned or observed after one year of chess. On the general side, I see over the past 15 years there has been a drop in number of tournament chess players especially in the lower to average skill level. Originally I thought it might be that the Edmonton chess club was too elitist, but I now see that it is a common problem across the country. When I played in the late 80’s early 90’s the median player in a tournament was a 1500 player. When I’ve played in Edmonton in the last year it was more like 1800. Part of this might be due to a rating inflation over the years (the CFC has thrown rating points into the system every now and then) and part of it might be that I’m comparing to 15 years ago when I played within a small pool of player on PEI, but I think mostly it is that the lower rated players are not getting as much out of playing in a tournament as they used to. They can get all the chess satisfaction they need playing online. If tournament chess is to flourish it must find some way to cater to the average chess player and provide them with something they can’t get online.

On the personal side, when I compare myself to one year ago I think I’m a stronger player now. When compared to 15 years ago I don’t think so, mostly due to a loss of tactical strength. Even though my opening knowledge is one of the weakest parts of my game I believe it is better than it was years ago. Back then all I had was my “Penguin Pocket Book of Chess Openings” (200 pages) and my BCO that I never looked at much because there were no explanations, just lists of moves. Now I can study openings with Fritz, plus I’ve borrowed books from the Edmonton chess club’s vast library. My only problem is remembering the openings that I have studied. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I do much better with longer time controls now, mainly because shorter time controls require quicker tactical solutions and better opening knowledge.

As an engineer by profession, I can’t help but to analyze my results and track my progress (with graphs even). When I look back on my chess experiences this year there are some things that were good,
- My record with white was 10 wins, 2 losses, 4 draws
- My record against players rated lower than me is 12 wins, 0 losses, 3 draws
some things that were bad,
- My record with black was only 2 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw
- My record against players rated higher than me was 0 wins, 11 losses, 2 draws
- My tendency to fall behind on the clock and blunder as soon as I hit time trouble
And some things that were ugly.
- Witnessing a violent confrontation between chess “parents” at a chess event.

Will I continue to play tournament chess? Yes, I think so, because I enjoy it, and it is a stimulating intellectual challenge that is an outlet for my competitive spirit. I can also set goals for my self (which I won’t reveal here) and work toward achieving them. When I played years ago I had two main goals. One was to become provincial champ, which I achieved, and one was to reach a rating of 2000, which I did not. I don’t think I reached my potential as a player back then, mainly due do living in an isolated area and rarely having an opportunity to play strong players. Now, when I play in Edmonton there are always numerous strong players, and with the internet, isolation is not as much of a problem. I can go online anytime and find any number of players who can easily trounce me.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my observations about my games against them. I welcome any comments. My next tournament may not be until the 2nd annual Battle at the Border in June. It should be a great event.

Terry Chaisson

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Northern Alberta Open 2008-02

After the Saskatchewan open the previous weekend I was not very confident going into this tournament and to tell the truth not very excited about playing in it.

Round 1 Opponent - Richard Roberts (1459)
A good first round win against the Sicilian. Last year I came out of 13 years of chess retirement at the NAO and I was paired on board 1 vs. IM Vicentee Lee. Needless to say this was much easier. Position After 18.Qd2 I believe Black miscalculated the following exchange 18...Nxc2+?? 19.Kd1+- Qxd2+ 20.Kxd2 Nxa1 21.Nxf6 Rg6 22.Nd5 Kd7? [¹22...Nxb3+ 23.axb3 Kd8+-] 23.Rxa1 b5 24.Rf1 and I went on to win after 10 more moves 1–0

Round 2 Anastasia Kazakevich (2152)
She played the Sicilian and after opening the c file we exchanged Queens and all the rooks and she surprised me by playing 25…Bc5 and offering a draw which I accepted. I thought she would keep playing to try to get the full point from someone rated 350 points lower even though I think I had the stronger position. After the tournament I wondered if I accepted too quickly but at the time I was more concerned with gaining back some of the points I lost the previous week and I didn’t want to risk anything. Fritz rates the position as += (0.33). My score now 1.5/2.

Round 3 Keith MacKinnon (2081)
I knew Keith played the Lopez exchange version sometimes and I wasn't prepared for that line so I played the petroff. I got a great position and was able to win a pawn and have a great attack against his king. We both had about 27 min left on our clocks and I was fairly sure it was a won position for me until I played 22...Nhg5?? I was deciding which Knight to retreat to g5 and chose the wrong one. Fritz suggests 22...f4!? which I did not consider at all [22...f4 23.gxf4 Nh4–+ 24.Qg3 Nf5 25.Qxh3 Nxe3 26.Qg3 Nxd1 27.Bxd1 Bxf4] Even after losing the piece for a pawn I still felt my position was close to equal due to his weak king and Fritz actually shows black with a slight advantage 23.h4³ Nxh4 24.gxh4 Ne4 25.Bf2 Re6 26.Nbd2 Rg6 27.Qf3 Rh6 [here Fritz suggests 27...Be6!?µ] 28.Nxe4= fxe4 [I thought about 28...Rxh4+ 29.Bxh4 Qxh4+ 30.Kg1 fxe4 31.Qf2 Qh6] 29.Qxe4 Rf6 30.Qe2 Bf5 31.Bc2 Qd7 [31...Bxc2!? 32.Qxc2 Qd7=] 32.Bxf5² Qxf5 33.Bg3 Re6 34.Qf2 Qe4+? [¹34...Qxf2!? 35.Bxf2 Rf8± I was down to 10 min on my clock now and my play deteriorated] 35.Qg2+- Bxg3 36.Qxe4 Rxe4 37.Nxg3 Rxh4+ 38.Kg2 Re8 39.Re1 Kf7 40.Nf5 Rxe1 41.Rxe1 Re4?? Black crumbles [41...Rg4+ 42.Kh3 Rg6+-] 42.Nd6+ 1–0 Even though I lost, I think this was my most enjoyable game of the tournament. 1.5/3

Round 4 George Sponga (1554)
The night before I asked Micah what George played for openings and he said he played no specific opening but he like to make odd h6, g6 pawn moves and I should try to take advantage of superior development by sacrificing to develop an attack. Sure enough George played d6, h6, g6, and c6 in the first 7 moves but I think I waited to long to sack a pawn and I don't think I was better after the opening. Position shown after 27.Qf4 which lead to the following simplification. 27...Bxf6 28.Qxf6+ Qxf6 29.Rxf6 Kg7 30.Rb6± Nd7 31.Rxb7 Nc5 32.Rb5 Nxb3 33.cxb3 He is tenacious and it came down to a rook ending. I was very pleased with the way I played this especially considering how badly I blew a rook ending last week against Roger. 33...Ra8 34.Ree5+- Rac8 35.Rxa5 Rc2 36.Re3 Rd8 37.Rb5 Rd1+ 38.Kh2 Rdd2 39.Rg3+- Rc1 40.Rb7 Rdd1? Trying for a cheap mate in the corner 41.Rf3 Rh1+ 42.Kg3 g5 43.Rbxf7+ Kg8 44.Rf2 Rcd1 45.Rb7 Rd3+ 46.Kg4 Re1 47.Kh5 Rd6 48.Rbf7 Re8 49.R7f6 Rde6 50.Kxh6 R8e7 51.Rxe6 Rxe6+ 52.Kxg5 1–0
Score now at 2.5/4

Round 5 Sardul Purewal (2094)
This was a surprisenly easy game for me. I didn’t use exsesive time in the opening like I usually do and I never felt in any danger throughout the game. He played the Scandinavian Defense and seemed to be willing to exchange pieces including the queens. I admit I was playing conservatively and based on his willingness to exchange I offered a draw after 20.c3 in the position shown. He declined and said that he was going to play to the end and we continued to play on - exchanging more pieces until we got to a knight and pawn ending. He tried to force a pawn through on the queen side but I was pleased with the way I played this end game too and we reached a position where he had to repeat moves otherwise my outside passed pawn and superior king position might have won it for me. 20...b5 21.Na5 Bc5 22.Rd3 Nh5 23.Be3 Bxe3+² 24.Rxe3 c5 25.g3 Nf6 26.Nb3 Ke7 27.Re2 Kd7 28.Kd2 Kc6 29.Ke3 Rd8 30.Rd2 Rxd2 31.Nxd2 Nd7 32.f4 f6 33.b3 a5 34.a3 Nb6 35.c4 a4 36.cxb5+ Kxb5 37.bxa4+ Nxa4 38.Kd3 Nb6 39.Kc3 c4 40.Kd4 e5+ 41.fxe5 fxe5+ 42.Kc3 Na4+ 43.Kc2 Nc5 44.Kc3 Na4+ 45.Kc2 Nc5 ½–½

Final score 3/5. Overall I was very pleased with my results from the tournament especially compared to how I played last week in Saskatoon. In my 3 games against expert players I had 2 fairly easy draws and a won position (that I managed to lose). Plus I managed to get the full point from both of my lower rated opponents. Rp=1944 and brought my rating up to 1817. Thanks to the guys from Saskatoon for getting me a ride to edmonton and to Micah for putting us all up. If not I probably wouldn't have played.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2008 Saskatchewan Open

Three weeks before this tournament I was pretty optimistic about my chances. I had played Jamin a few more rapid games and thought I acquitted myself fairly well. Then the Wednesday before the tournament I played Jamin again and played extremely badly which was an omen for the upcoming weekend. The tournament was a personal fiasco for me from the start. Due to my son’s hockey tournament which started Friday night, I decided to not drive to Saskatoon until Saturday morning. I knew this would make a long day for me but when the organizers changed the Saturday schedule from three games to two games I figured I could handle it. I woke up at 4:30, tried to go back to sleep for an hour but couldn’t, so I took my shower and left home at 6:45. It was minus 50!! with the wind chill and my vehicle was making a strange noise all the way to Saskatoon whenever I got over 100 km/h. I got to the university a half hour early but took a while to find a parking site and then went to the tournament room with what I thought was 10 min to spare. It was then I realized that I had overlooked the time change between Alberta and Saskatchewan and the round was already underway so I got a forced 0.5 point bye. I almost turned around and drove home right there, and if I knew how I would end up playing, I probably would have.

Round 2 was against Chris Achtemichuk (1719). It was a very tactical game. I found a tactic to go up a pawn and then he had one to get it back. I went up a pawn again and then we reached this position with black to play. He sacked the exchange to free himself but missed Bxd5. Instead 27...Rxf5? [¹27...Bxd5!? 28.exd5 Qxf5±] 28.exf5+- Qxf5 29.Qe6 Qf4?? 30.Nxb5+- Rd8 31.Qg4 Qf6?? 32.Nc3+- Bd4 33.Ne4 Qf7 34.Ra5 Rxd5 35.Rxd5 Bxd5 36.Qe2?? Time trouble [¹36.Nc5+-] 36...Bc4= 37.Qe1 time trouble for rest of game - arbiter keep score 37...Bxf1 38.Qxf1 Qf4 39.f3 g4 40.hxg4+- h5 41.Qb5+?? Bb6= 42.Qe8+ Ka7 43.Qxh5 Qc1+ 44.Kh2 Qg1+ 45.Kg3 Qe1+ 46.Kh2 Qg1+ 47.Kh3 Qh1+ threefold repition with about 2 mins left for both players ½–½

Round 3 was against Roger Blum (1861). The game reached the position shown with me in time trouble again and an arbiter keeping my score when Roger played 44.Kg2 to try to lure the black king onto the same rank as the rook. I replied 44…h4 and knew that I just needed to keep the king around the g5 pawn for a draw. When Roger then played 45. Rb5+ rather than play Kf6 like I planned I played 45…Kf4?? for some reason (maybe I was hoping for a cheap mate on the 1st rank). This lead to 46. Rb4+! And he queens his pawn. I played on for another 10 moves before he captured my rook.

Round 4 was against Tyler Janzen. I let the previous games blunder affect the way I played this game. I was hoping to win quickly so that I could get home. I missed a chance to play e5 and win a piece early and then tried to force something that wasn’t there and ended up with the following position after Tyler played 20…Rd8xd4. Two minutes later, while I was thinking about my reply he offered a draw which I accepted immediately. I should have taken my time to consider but I had been looking at 21. Nxd4 Qxd4+ 22. Kh1 Nf2+ 23. Kg1 Nd3+ 24. Kh1 Nxe1 and 21. Bxg4 Rxe4 22. Qf2 Rxe1 23. Rxe1 Qxf2 24. Kxf2 Bxg4 and did not like my prospects. I had not seen 21. Kh1 which I think he just noticed when he suddenly offered the draw. After 21. Kh1 Rxe4 22. Bxe4 Nf2+ 23. Kg1 Nxe4+ 24. Qe3 f5 25. Qxb6 cxb6 26. Rac1 when black goes down the exchange for a couple of pawns.

1.5/4 with an Rp=1586 which brought my rating down to 1783.

Monday, March 10, 2008

1st Annual Battle at the Border 2007-10

Jamin Gluckie was the main organizer of this event in my hometown. I also have to give Jamin some credit for getting me back into tournament chess as he played several rapid games with me before my first tournament and occasionally since then. The event was a great success and attracted several master players and an IM and a WFM from Norway who were studying in Edmonton at the time. It was a four round accelerated swiss so I knew ahead of time that I would yo yo from high to low rated players again. One of the nice things about playing in your hometown is that you can sleep in your own bed.

Round 1 was against Roy Yearwood (2117). He is a very eloquent talker and I really enjoyed going over my game with him afterward. Position after 19...f5 A standard f5 pawn push. At this point I really liked my position 20.exf5 1:18 - The first exchange of the game 20...Qxf5 1:08 - here I start to lose the thread of the game gxf5 or Nd4 [¹20...gxf5!? 21.f4 Rbe8µ] 21.Bd5+ Kh8 22.Ng5 White now has the initiative 22...Nd8 disconnects my rooks [¹22...Rbe8!?³ is interesting] 23.f4² Bxd5 24.fxe5 Qd7 25.Rxf8+ Bxf8 26.cxd5 dxe5 27.Rf1± Be7 28.Qc4 Qd6 A blunder. I looked at Bxg5 and Nf3 for a long time but then changed my mind just before I moved as I thought that Qd3 stops his d pawn and protects my a pawn but I completely forgot about my hanging piece. Maybe Nh6 [28...Bxg5 29.Bxg5 Nf7=] 29.Qxg4 Qxd5 30.Qe4 Qd7 31.Qxe5+ Black resigns as mate is coming[31.Qxe5+ Bf6 32.Rxf6 Kg8 33.Bb2 Qd4+ 34.Bxd4 Nc6 35.Qe6+ Kg7 36.Rxg6+ Kf8 37.Nxh7#] 1–0 A good example of how quickly a game can go downhill.

Round 2 was against Doug Unruh (1487). He had his wife assist him by making his moves on the board. Before the game I was worried that it might distract me but once the game started it never bothered me at all and even though I think I played poorly that was not the reason. I played the opening very badly and missed several good moves for both sides but when he played 11...Bf5?? I was able to win a piece. [¹11...Nxc3 would save the game 12.bxc3 Be7±] 12.dxc5+- Qe7 13.Qe1 Nxc5 14.Bg5 f6 15.exf6 Qf7 16.Qe5 g6 17.Qxc5 Kb8 18.Bf4 Rhe8 19.Rad1 Bxc2 20.Rxd8+ Rxd8 21.Qe7 Rd7 22.Qxf7 Rxf7 23.Re1 b6 24.Nd4 Bf5 25.Nxc6+ Kb7 26.Nd8+ 1–0

Round 3 was against WFM Silje Bjerke of Norway. I played the opening badly again and in fact made the exact same mistake I had made in a game in my last tournament Still my position wasn’t too bad until I chose a poor defensive plan 22... Kd8 & 23...Qc8, which ended up decentralizing my queen and tying it up to protect a pawn 22...Kd8? (diagram) [¹22...Kb8!?= might be a viable alternative] 23.Qa8+ Qc8 24.Qc6 e5 [¹24...Ke7!?±] 25.g5+- Qxh3 26.Rf3 I did not see this simple move [26.gxh6 Qxe3+ 27.Kb1 exf4 28.Qxa6 Qe4+ 29.Ka1 Rf5µ] 26...Qe6 [¹26...Qd7 27.Qxd7+ Kxd7 28.gxh6 Ref8+-] 27.gxh6 exf4 28.Bb6! Rd7?? 29.Bxc7+! Rxc7 30.Rxd6+ 1–0 On the positive side this was the only game I have ever played where I had an advantage on the clock after the opening.

Round 4 was against Tyler Janzen of Saskatoon. He outplayed me in the opening without using any time of his clock but allowed me to play 15.Qg4! Rg8 16.Ng5 Qc4 17.f4?? Bad move. I was also thinking of Bf4 but Qh5 is strongest. [17.Qh5 g6 18.Qxh7 Rf8 19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Qxg6+ Kd8 21.Bg5+ Kc7+- 22.Rac1 Pins the Queen; 17.Bf4 h5 18.Qf3 Rf8 19.b3] 17...Nxe5 18.Qh5± Ng6 19.f5 Qb4 20.Be3+- Qh4 21.Qxh4 Nxh4± 22.fxe6 fxe6? 23.Bf2+- Kd7 24.Bxh4 Rge8 25.Nf3 Rab8 26.Ne5+ Kd6 27.Bg3 Rb5 28.Rac1 Ke7 29.Rc7+ Kf6 30.Rf1+ Missed a mate in two [30.Bh4+ Kf5 31.Rf7#] 30...Kg5 31.Rxg7+ Kh6 32.Rxa7 Rb6 33.Bf4+ Kh5 34.Rxh7# 1–0

Overall another tournament where every game went as expected by ratings. I finished at 2/4 which was good enough for shared first in under 1900. Rp=1820 and brought my rating up to 1810.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

2007 Alberta Open 2007-Oct

This 3 day event was held over the Thanksgiving weekend and had 50 participants. I yo-yo’d back and forth losing against higher rated opponent and then beating lower rated ones.

Round 1 was against Dale Hassel (2262). I completely mis-evaluated the opening and was crushed. After the game Dale explained that my whole plan to push f5 was faulty but at the time I had no other plan. 12...f5? [¹12...c6!?±] 13.dxe5+- dxe5 14.Rad1 Qf6 15.c5 Nd7 16.Nd5 Qd8 17.exf5 gxf5 18.Nh4 Nb8 19.Nb6 Qe8 20.Nxa8 then resigned on move 35 1–0

Round 2 was against Keith Aartsen (1447). Position after 7…h6?? I played 8. Bxf7! Kxf7 9. Ne5+! Ke8 10. Nxg4 and won the game after 32 moves.

Round 3 was against Micah Hughey (2113). He played some kind of pseudo-Marshall and used no time on his clock where as I used plenty of time in the opening. I saw a tactic for myself and couldn’t find a refutation at the board so I played it. 12.Bxf7+ Kxf7 13.Rf5+ Bf6 14.Rxf4 Qd3 15.Rf3 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Qxf3 17.gxf3 Obviously he played this variation many times before and when he played the clamping Qd3 I new I was in big trouble. I sacked the exchange to try to free myself but it was too late. I lost after 47 moves when he sacked the exchange back and we would both queen but he would win my queen with a skewer check.

Round 4 was against young Jonathan Mrugala (1680). He played 30.Qh3+ which allowed me to play 30...Qh5+³ and then exchange off the queens 31.Qxh5+ Kxh5 and enter a minor piece ending. At this point we both believed we had the better position. 32.Bh3 Ne7 33.Kf3 Kg5 34.Kg3 h5 35.Be6 Ng6 36.h3 Nf4 37.Bc4 37...Ne2+ [¹37...h4+!? 38.Kh2 Kf6µ] 38.Kf2= Nc1 39.Be6?? I was too aggressive with my knight and if he had played [¹39.b4 cxb4 40.Ke1± I would have been in trouble] 39...Na2³ 40.Ke2 Kf4 41.Bf7 h4 42.Kd2 Nb4 43.c3? Nc6–+ 44.Be6 Ne7 45.b4 Kg3 46.Bd7? Ng6 47.bxc5³ bxc5 48.cxd4?? [¹48.b4 the only rescuing move 48...dxc3+ 49.Kxc3 cxb4+ 50.Kxb4µ] 48...cxd4–+ 49.Kc2 Nf4 50.b4 Nxh3 51.Kb3 Nf2 52.Kc4 Ng4 and I mated him on move 72. 0–1

Round 5 was against Vlad Rekhson (2175). The position shown was reached after exchanging queens on e4 with 26.Bc8 Qxe3 27.fxe3 Another knight vs bishop endgame but this one I mishandled and allowed him to get an outside passed pawn 27...Nd8 28.Kf2 a5 29.Kf3 b6 30.Ke4 Kf7 31.b4 axb4 32.cxb4 Nc6 33.c3 h5 [33...d5+ 34.Kd3=] 34.a4 h4? [34...d5+!? 35.Kd3 Ne5+ 36.Ke2 Nc4²] 35.Bb7± Ne7?? [35...Nd8 36.Ba8 Ke6+-] 36.a5+- f5+ 37.Kd4 c5+ 38.Kd3 bxa5 39.bxa5 Ng6 40.Kc4 Ke7 41.a6 1–0

Round 6 was against Mike Sekuloff (1614). I played the opening badly and once again he was looking to sacrifice but he missed his chance when he played 11...Be6 [instead of ¹11...Bxh3!? 12.Be3 Bg4µ] 12.Bg5 Bc7 [still 12...Bxh3 13.gxh3 Qg3+ 14.Kh1 Qxh3+ 15.Nh2=] 13.Qd2 Nd7 14.Bh4 Nde5? [¹14...Qf4!?² would keep Black in the game] 15.Nxe5+- Nxe5 16.Bg3 f6± 17.Nd4 Rae8 18.Nb5 Qd7 19.Nxc7 Qxc7 20.Qf4 g5? [¹20...Qc5= and Black is still in the game] 21.Qe3 Qd7 22.Bxe5 fxe5? 23.Qxg5++- Qg7 24.Qxg7+ Kxg7 25.Rxe5 1–0

Overall every game went as expected by ratings. I finished at 3/6 which was good enough for shared first in under 1800 with Vitaly Motuz and Allen Wu. Rp=1883 and brought my rating up to 1809.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Edmonton International (Sectional) 2007-Aug

After experiencing the yo-yo effect during my first tournament I was hoping that this sectional, run in conjunction with the Edmonton International, would give me a better indication of my current playing strength. Round 1 was Friday evening and after achieving a good position a clear pawn up, and my opponent having double isolated c pawns, I missed my chance to maintain my extra pawn on e4 with 13…f5. Then I reached the following position after 18.Bc7=.

Wihnon,Jason (1816) - Chaisson,Terry (1779)
Edm International D 110'+30 03.08.2007
18...Bd5 [18...Rd7 19.Rxe6 Rxc7 20.Qh3=] 19.Bxd8² Bxe4?? [¹19...Rxd8 would save the game 20.Qd1 f5±] 20.Qxe4+- Rxd8 [20...Qd2 there is nothing better in the position 21.Bc7 Kh8+-] 21.Qe6+ This is the check that I missed in my analysis at the board when I took on e5 with the bishop Kf8 22.Qe7+ Kg8 23.Qxd8+ Kf7 24.Qe8# 1–0

Round 2 I played a teenager (who are almost always underrated) and achieved the following position. At the time I was sure was it was a winning position but after placing my king in a bad position I was the one forcing the draw.
Wu,Allen (1711) - Chaisson,Terry (1779)
Edm International D 110'+30, 04.08.2007
42.c5 h5 43.Kc4 h4 44.c6 Rc8 45.Kd5 h3 46.Rb7+³ Ke8?? Black is ruining his position [¹46...Kf6 and Black can hope to survive 47.Rh7 f4 48.Rxh3 g5=] 47.Rh7± h2 48.Rxh2 Kf7 49.Kd6 Rd8+ 50.Kc7 Rd3 51.Kb7 Rb3+= 52.Kc8 Kf6 53.c7 Rc3 54.Kd7 Rd3+± 55.Kc6 Rc3+ 56.Kb6 Rb3+² [56...Rb3+ 57.Ka5 Rc3±] ½–½

So after 2 rounds I had a disappointing 0.5/2 points. Round 3 I played a decent game against Trevor from Saskatchewan and my 2 connected passed pawns were decisive.

Chaisson,T (1779) - Robertson,Trevor (1581)
Edm International D 110'+30, 04.08.2007
34.Kf3 Ra3+ 35.Kxf4 h3 36.Rh1 Rh8 37.f3 Ra2 38.c6± Rg2? [¹38...Ke7 39.Ra1 Rxa1 40.Rxa1 Rh4+ 41.Kg3 Rxb4 42.Ra7+ Kd8 43.Rd7+ Ke8±] 39.b5+- d4 40.Ke4 Rh4+ 41.Kd3 h2 42.c7 Rh3 43.Rbf1 Rh8 44.b6 Rb2 45.Rb1 Rf2 46.Kxd4 Rxf3 47.Rbf1 Rh4+ 48.Kc5 Rxf1 49.Rxf1+ Ke7 50.c8Q h1Q 51.Rxh1 Rxh1 52.Qb7+ Kd8 53.Qxh1 Ke7 54.Qh7+ 1–0

For round 4 I asked my opponent if he wanted to play Saturday evening since the club was open for the grandmaster tournament anyway. He graciously agreed and that was supposed to allow me to start home earlier on Sunday but I ended up having to take the family to the West Edmonton Mall amusement park Sunday afternoon anyway. This is my favorite tournament game I’ve played. I just love the white pawn storm – in fact 11 of my first 17 moves were pawn moves. I thought I played a great game but of course Fritz found many improvements. This brought me to 2.5/4 and into contention.

Chaisson,T (1779) - Sequillion,Aaron (1729)
Edm International D 110'+30, 04.08.2007
16.fxg6 hxg6 17.h4 18.Qc2 18...Rdd7 19.h5 gxh5 20.Rxh5 20...fxg5 21.Bxg5 Nf6 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.Nf5 Rh7? [23...c4 24.Qg2+ Rg7 25.Bg4 cxd3 26.0–0–0+-] 24.Qh2 Rxh5 25.Bxh5 Kf8 26.0–0–0 Rh7 27.Rh1 Qd8 28.Qg2 Bg5+ 29.Kb1 Qf6 30.Rf1 Bf4 31.Qg6?? not a good decision, because now the opponent is right back in the game [¹31.Rg1 and White could have gained the advantage 31...Ne7 32.Qg4+-] 31...Qxg6= 32.Bxg6 Rd7? [¹32...Rh2= would keep Black alive] 33.Rh1+- Kg8 34.Be8 Rd8 35.Bxc6 bxc6 36.Ne7+ Kf8 37.Nxc6 Rd7 38.Rh8+ Kf7 39.Rh7+ Ke6 40.Rxd7 Kxd7 41.Nxa7 Ke6 42.c4 Kd7 43.Kc2 Bg5 44.Kb3 Bd2 45.Nb5 Kc6 46.Nc3 Be1 47.Nd5 Ba5 48.Ka4 Bd2 49.a3 Be1 50.b4 cxb4 51.axb4 Bf2 52.Ka5 Bh4 53.Ka6 Bf2 54.b5+ Kd7 55.b6 Kc6 56.b7 1–0

My final round was Sunday morning against Mike Sekuloff and Mike was in the mood to sacrifice. I believe he missed the Bishop retreat 11 …Be6 and later on 19 …Ne4.
Sekuloff,Mike (1680) - Chaisson,T (1779)
Edm International D 110'+30, 05.08.2007
10.Bxf7+?? gives the opponent counterplay [¹10.Qe3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3± (11.gxf3?! Qe7=) ] 10...Kxf7–+ 11.Qc4+ Be6 12.Nxe5+ dxe5 13.Qxc5 Qd6 14.Qb5 a6 15.Qe2 Rhf8 16.Be3 Qc6 17.Qf3 Qxe4 18.Qg3 Qf5 19.Bc5 Ne4 20.Rxe4? [20.Qe3 Nd6 21.Qxe5 Qxe5 22.Rxe5–+] 20...Qxe4 21.f3 21...Qf4 22.Qf2 Rfe8 23.Re1 Bd5 24.Be3 Qf6 25.Qg3 Re6 26.b3 b6 27.c4 Bc6 28.Bc1 Rae8 29.Bb2 29...Qf4 30.Qf2 e4 31.Qd4 Qf6 32.fxe4 Qxd4+ 33.Bxd4 Rxe4 34.Rf1+ Kg6 35.c3 Re1 [¹35...Re2 seems even better 36.Rf2 Re1+ 37.Kh2 R8e2–+] 36.Kf2 Rxf1+ 37.Kxf1–+ Kf7 38.g3 g5 39.a3 Kg6 40.b4 Rf8+ 41.Ke2 h5 42.h4 gxh4 43.gxh4 Rf4 44.c5 Rxh4 45.cxb6 Rxd4! Double attack: b6/e2 46.cxd4 cxb6 47.Kf2 Kf5 48.Kg3 Ke4 49.Kh4 Be8 50.a4 Kxd4 51.a5 bxa5 52.bxa5 Kc5 0–1

I finished at 3.5/5 which I found out later was good enough for shared first with Jason and Allen. Rp=1863 and brought my rating up to 1795.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

2007 Northern Alberta Open 2007-02

This was my first tournament after coming out of Chess retirement. I knew I wasn’t prepared but I figured if I didn’t try it now, when would I? I didn’t get to ease myself in gently since my first game was on board 1 against IM Vicente Lee (2349). I was surprised that with a 1787 rating I was on the bottom half of the players list but I didn’t get too stressed out about it. I just assumed I would lose and played it as a warm up (against the strongest player I ever played). I resigned with black after 32 moves when I lost a third pawn. 15...Qc7? [¹15...Qd6±] 16.Qxd5+- Be6 17.Rxe6 fxe6 18.Qxe6+ Qf7 19.Bxh7+ Kf8 20.Ng5 Qxe6 21.Nxe6+ Ke7 22.Nxd8 Kxd8 23.Rb1 Kc7 24.Be4 Nc6 25.f3 Rd8 26.g4 b6 27.Kf2 Ne7 28.Rb5 Rd6 29.h4 Ng6 30.Rg5 Nxh4 31.Kg3 Rh6 32.Rxg7+ 1–0

Round 2 was against an unrated player MacKendrick,Callum and I won in 32 moves. 12.d4 Qxe6 13.dxe5 Bxe5 14.Bf4 Nd7 15.Bxe5 Nxe5 16.f4 0–0 17.Rxe5 Qxc4 18.Qd5+ Qxd5 19.Rxd5 Rad8 20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.Nc3 c4 22.Rd1 Rxd1+ 23.Nxd1 b5 24.Kf2 Kf7 25.Ke3 Ke6 26.Nc3 a6 27.g4 b4 28.Ne4 a5 29.Kd4 b3 30.axb3 cxb3 31.Nc5+ Kd6 32.Nxb3 1–0

Round 3 was against Andrew Boik (2166). After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 I was already out of my book. By move 14 I was losing and I resigned on move 29. Position after 15...Ba6? 16.Qd1?? gives the opponent counterplay [16.Nc4 Nc2 17.Nxb6 Bxe2 18.Nxd7 Nxa1 19.Nxb8 (19.Bxa1 Bxf1 20.Kxf1 Rxb3 21.Nxf8 Kxf8–+) 19...Rxb8 20.Rxa1 Rxb3 21.dxc5 Rxb2 22.c6³] 16...Bxf1 17.Bxf1 Nc6 18.Rc1 Nxd4 19.Bxd4 cxd4 20.b4 a5 21.bxa5? Qxa5 22.Nb3 Qa4 23.Nbxd4 Qxd1 24.Rxd1 Bxa3 25.Kg2 Bc5 26.Re1 Rb2 27.Kg1 Ra8 28.Re2 Bxd4 29.Rxb2 Bxb2 0–1 That ended day 1.

Day 2 started against another unrated player Amasaid Magdi but he was a very strong player and had already beaten Roy Yearwood (2137) in round 1. I played the Philidor Defense and was outplayed but after several errors by both of us I missed several chances such as 44...Rd6?? [¹44...Rd1+ 45.Ke2 h3 46.Kxd1 h2µ] 45.Nd4+- h3?? I thought I had calculated this correctly but I was wrong 46.Nf5+ Kf3 47.Nxd6 h2 48.Rf5+ Kg3 49.Nxe4+! Nxe4 50.Rh5 Nd2+ 51.Ke2 Ne4 52.Kd3? Nf2+–+ 53.Ke2 h1Q?? The final mistake with 10 min left. I still don’t know why I did not play Nh3 because I had seen it earlier. After this the knight cannot stop all the pawns. [53...Nh3! 54.Rh8 h1Q 55.Rg8+ Kh4 56.Rh8+ Kg4 57.Rg8+ Ng5–+] 54.Rxh1+- Nxh1 55.a5 Nf2 56.a6 Ne4 57.a7 1–0

The last round was a win against Myron Loke, a nice kid rated 1252. 18.Qb5+ Qd7 19.Nxd6+ Ke7 20.Qxd7+ Nxd7 21.Bb4 Kf6 22.0–0 a5 23.Bc3 Ke7 24.Nxb7 Ra7 25.Nxa5 Kf6 26.Nc6 Ra6 27.f4 Kg6 28.Nxe5+ Nxe5 29.fxe5 Rd8 30.d6 Rd7 31.a3 Kh6 32.Rf3 Raa7 33.Rd1 Ra8 34.Rd4 g6 35.Rh3+ Kg7 36.e6 1–0

Overall I didn’t play anyone with a rating within 400 of mine and only 1 game was close. I only lost 8 rating points to drop to 1779 and I didn’t embarrass myself so mission accomplished.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Welcome to my blog

White To Move.

I have to be honest. I have never seen the attraction of blogs. The thought of writing personal thoughts and then posting them on the internet for everyone to read does not appeal to me. I have a strong suspicion that most of what is written is mindless drivel and musings of the self important. Recently though, I have seen several chess blogs that I’ve found interesting and I thought that I too could write about my results from the chess tournaments I have entered. I doubt many people will be interested in my mindless chess drivel but then I don’t have any illusions that it has any importance at all so I don’t care.

Chess is a hobby that I took up again last year after a long hiatus. I used to live on Prince Edward Island and play chess at the Charlottetown chess club. I even managed to become provincial chess champion but the pool of players on PEI was fairly small and the highest my rating got was in the 1900’s. I stopped playing chess in 1993 or 1994 and didn’t play another game until a year ago aside from playing against my kids. They had seen my old chess set sitting in the closet and wanted to play the game with the funny little pieces. I was surprised that my wife also knew how to play and so we taught the kids the basic moves and occasionally played a few games.

Then by chance there happened to be a children’s chess tournament in our town with players from Alberta and Saskatchewan. I entered my kids just for the experience. The following year I entered them again in the same tournament and then several others in Edmonton. They had improved dramatically and at one tournament my daughter’s success was like a spark to me. She was in a six player sectional and had won her first 4 games, then like an old pro offered a draw to her opponent in the last round to win her first gold medal by a half point. It was an exciting result and rekindled in me the desire to challenge myself and see if I still could achieve a modest level of success at chess. Plus I had just given up playing rec hockey and this could fulfill that need for competition, so with that in mind I packed my suitcase one weekend and went of to Edmonton fir the 2007 Northern Alberta Open.

Sol'n to problem: Qxc6 allows mate with the Knight