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.

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