Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Battle on the Border

My first impressions of the weekend. I will add more later including my games and some pictures I took.

The third annual Battle at the Border Tournament was held over this weekend. As usual I waited until the last minute before preparing, but when I tried to look at some of my previous games on Thursday, I discovered that my database had been corrupted and I lost all the games I played in the last 18 months. So my new plan was to try out in long games a couple of gambit lines I been playing online in speed games.

Round 1. My first game was against a very young and precocious kid from Saskatoon, Jason Xiou (1147). He played very well and I think I underestimated him a little. I played too aggressively at one point and was certainly worse until he made a blunder. He then blundered several more times and I won soon after.

Round 2. I took a bye so that I could host a birthday party for my wife. We had a great time. I boiled some lobster, my father-in-law made some traditional Philippino food and we drank and played majong til midnight.

Round 3. I was paired with another underrated junior again (Josh Timm) but when I got to the site in the morning I noticed there was an error in the pairings. When it was corrected my pairing was changed to R Shanker (1804) He passed on my gambit line and I reached a nice position and a pawn ahead but then I made some errors and ended up with tripled isolated pawns. I choose to play for activity in a double rook ending and managed to draw.

Round 4. Art Milne (1873). We reached a position that I think was favourable to me but very closed. I was looking to sacrifice to open up his king but never found the right time. We traded off several pieces and then he offered a draw. I was way behind on time so I accepted but I believe it was a draw anyway.

Andrew Boik won with a perfect 4/4. Roger Blum had a great tournament and came second with 3 points.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Preparation for Tournaments

Well I’ve booked my hotel in Edmonton for the Canadian Open next month, and I’m registered in the Battle at the Border in Lloydminster this month. Now the only thing left to do is a little bit of preparation. I had hoped that I would have started before now but as usual I just can’t seem to find the time.

The one thing that I know I need to study is openings, but I’ve been struggling with which method is the best for me. I have used opening books exclusively for many years but found they can be very dry.
Lately, I also have looked at several opening DVD’s. While waiting at the Edmonton chess club, while my kids have played in scholastic tournaments, I had a chance to preview several of the Roman’s Lab videos. I was less than impressed with GM Dzindzichashvili’s style and lack of enthusiasm displayed in the DVD’s. I have also had a chance to watch a couple of the Foxy DVD’s at the Calgary Chess club. These I found much more to my liking. The enjoyment of the presenter in the lines was unmistakeable and made me eager to try out the lines recommended. I “copied” down some of the info, but when I looked at some of the same lines with Rybka, let’s just say that I was disappointed with the quality of the analysis. Even so I did get something out of them and have played those lines in many online blitz games since.
The most time efficient method for me might be to go through the opening book in a chess program, concentrating on lines that might be encountered, then to play through some database games in those same lines. I don’t know how much time I will have to do that before I play.

Another poll is open dealing with the BATB tournament.