Friday, October 19, 2012

Medicine Hat Open - Poor Result

My Medicine Hat Open result was pretty disappointing which is probably why I avoided blogging the result for so long. With my recent rating gain (thanks to the new bogus system - oops - I mean bonus system), I was the 4th highest rated player entered and had high expectations. I made the 5 hr drive on Friday morning and had time to do some golfing on Friday afternoon. I was staying with a close friend who is also from PEI and we had a pleasant evening, but I may have consumed a few too many wobbly pops and it might have affected my first game on Saturday morning.

Game 1
My first game was against Ryan Barnes (1538).  In the past I have been very effective at producing wins against lower rated players.  In fact, I can only recall one loss, and that was against an obviously underrated junior who produced a master performance rating. This time things didn’t work out for me.  Ryan played the Alkheline and since I couldn’t remember the main lines of the opening I chose to avoid them by playing some offbeat moves.  I ended up with a slightly worse position and never was able to create anything promising.  It was looking like a draw was the likely outcome when I made a horrible blunder (with ...d5 in the position below) and lost two pawns and then the game.  I was discouraged but took the attitude that mistakes are part of the game for everybody, and if I won my next two games I would be right back in the mix.

Game 2
I played against Mike Scholtz (1302).  I had a good position in the King’s Indian Defense and was able to win when he missed a move where I retreat my Q rather than exchange and then win his Q for a Rook.  In the position below Mike played Qxh5 which loses to Qg2.

Game 3
I played a closed Sicilian against Steve Panteluk (1763) and had a good position and was able to break through to his K before he got anything going on the Queenside.  In the position below after ...h5 Steve played gxh5 and I replied with Qg5 and was able to win a piece but it took me a long time to win the game as I allowed too much counter play.  It was a long first day but I went back to my friend’s house in a good mood.  I had studied the crosstable and knew that if I won my Sunday morning game I would be playing on board 1 in the final round for possible 1st with a win, or 2nd with a draw.

Game 4
I played a Scandinavian against Patrick Porter (1796) and was hoping for some action on the Queenside when Patrick moved his Queen over to the Kingside and proceeded with a rook lift and a straight forward attack on my King.  In the position below I blundered with 22…f5? and overestimated my defensive resources. After this game I realized I had nothing left to play for and withdrew from the tournament which I’m sure was the right decision because if I played without my heart in it anymore I might have lost a third game to a lower rated player.

Overall it was a very bad result and I had a loss of over 30 rating points.  Maybe I should have expected as much based on my poor preparation which consisted of just playing some online blitz.  Even online I was playing poorly and lost 200 points in the two weeks before the tournament.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Medicine Hat Open

I am playing in the Med Hat Open this weekend.  So far it looks like a small turnout but maybe there will be some last minute entry's.   I will post my games here ASAP.

I also plan to post the last two games I played in my last tourney against experts. I have looked at them and there is something to learn from both games. I was too willing to accept a draw in the first game and tried to force a draw in the second rather than looking for the best move

I other Alberta chess news there has been 2 big developments.  First Richard Wang achieved the IM title at the Canadian Zonal and then Eric Hansen achieved the GM title at the Chess Olympiad!
A couple of years ago I had a poll on my blog "Which Albertan will be the 1st to become a GM" and my candidates were Edward Proper, Eric Hansen, and Richard Wang.  My personal opinion at the time was that it all depended on Eric. While Edward is certainly capable of producing a GM norm, Eric was already as strong as Edward and had youth on his side. If he continued to work on his chess he was a good bet to get the title.  If Eric stop playing, then the young prodigy Richard is almost a sure bet to get the GM title - barring of course a loss of interest in the game.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vacation Chess

When you are on a family vacation and you want to take in a chess tournament also there are three rules to consider: 1. Don’t PO your wife; 2. Don’t PO your wife; and 3. Don’t PO your wife. With that in mind I made sure I got permission and I made sure that the wife and kids had something to do before I registered in the UPEI in Prince Edward Island on July 27-29th.

The UPEI Open is an annual summer tournament held at my old alma mater, the University of Prince Edward Island. Fred McKim is the organizer and it’s biggest claim to fame is that IM Tom O’Donnell plays in it every year. Four years ago I joined the tournament and had a good game against him in the first round. You can see that game in my Aug 2008 blog entry.

Round 1: This year I was at the bottom of the top half of the field (instead of the top of the bottom half in 2008) so instead of an IM I had an unrated junior for my first game. I was able to win with little difficulty. 1/1.

Round 2: I was paired down with David Paulowich (1805) who took a bye in round 1. I was glad he showed up otherwise I would have been paired with one of two Sowa brothers from RI who play in the tournament most years and who also took a round 1 bye. They are rated 1700 in the US but only 1200-1300 in Canada and they are improving very rapidly. Like most grumpy adults who want to protect their rating, I fear playing underrated juniors. My game with David was an even game until he missed a simple tactic that wins the exchange for me and he resigned 1 move later. So far - so good – two relatively easy wins 2/2.

Round 3: I had to wait until the last game finished to find out if I would be playing a 2000+ player or one of the US brothers who won their games. I ended up playing Richard Bowes (2080). It was a good game. I think I had the better position throughout the game but he had some initiative. I forced him to have doubled pawns and then he un-doubled them at the cost of leaving me with a B vs. his N plus the major pieces. He offered a draw after move 30 and I accepted. I should have looked longer at the position I might have realized that I could improve my position but he couldn’t. 2.5/3

Round 4: I had asked for a bye when I entered the tournament (see the 3 rules above) so I had ¾.

Round 5: I was going to withdraw because we had a family meal planned for 5 PM (see above rules again) but the organizer said that he could arrange a faster time control with my partner and start a little earlier if I wanted. I accepted so I played Jason Manley (2026) on board two. I played a good game that I should have drawn but I made two mistakes that cost me the game. Maybe the faster time control was a factor but more likely just poor end game skill. If I won I would have finished solo second behind IM O’Donnell, if I drew I would have tied. I finished at 3/5 and probably gained some more rating points.

A draw in the last game would probably have put me over 1900 for the first time in almost 20 years - a win for sure would have done it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Second Sober Thought (Edm Intl)

On second sober thought I find that I was very lucky to end up with 2.5/5 points.  I probably only deserved 0.5.

In game 1 the position where I thought I might win was as follows with white to play:

I played 36. a5 and instantly regretted it as I gave up the a5-e1 diagonal.  36. Bf2 is better but it does not win.  It should hold the draw easier.

Later on in the game I completely lost concentration and played 50. Rxd3 missing the fact I would lose my bishop.

Instead 50. Kxf7 d2 51. Bxd2 Bxd2 52. a6 offers the best chance.

In game 2 against Jamil we had the following position:

I played 20. Nc1?? because I didn't even see the discovered check after 20...c4.  20 Be3 was needed.

Later on Jamil lost after making some small mistakes and then blundering with 39...Qc8??  
which loses the Knight to 40. Qf2+.  I didn't deserve half a point let alone a win.

In game 3 I was just outplayed and lost.

In game 4 I was lost most of the game.  In the following position white could sac the Knight on f5 and mate will follow.

Fortunately white didn't pull the trigger for the next 3 moves and I somehow untangled myself and counter attack with my queen.   34. Ng3? Be8 35. Re7? Qd8 36.Rb7? Qc8 37.Ra7? Qc1.  Somehow I equalized the position and then happily forced a draw.  I never noticed that at the end I had a win available after 64 Nb2??

I played 65. Ra7 Rb3 but missed the simple 66.Ba3! winning the exchange.  Instead I played Be7 and offered a draw after my next move.

Game 5 was probably the most disappointing for me.  My opponent played an incorrect tactic in the opening on move 18 and I was winning.  Over the next 66 moves I must have blown my win with bad moves about 6 times but luckily my opponent played worse.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Edmonton International

It's been over a year since I played in a regular rated event but this long weekend I played in the Edmonton International Reserves section. Originally I planned on traveling to Edmonton with the whole family for the three day tourney, but when my mother-in-law became sick my wife had to stay home so I changed my plans and intended to go by myself for 2 days and then withdraw.

Day 1

Got up early in the morning and made the 3 hr trip into Edmonton for the 10 AM start.

Round One: I was paired as white against Aaron Sequillion (2099 CFC, 2012 FIDE). I was playing a good game and I believe I had a winning position at one point but I haven't reviewed any of the games yet so I will reserve judgment for now. Later I blundered my bishop for two pawns, but I still had a draw but even though I saw it I played something else and lost the game in 64 moves. I will post all the games later this week.

Round Two: I was paired as white against young junior Jamil Kassem (1854 CFC, 1906 FIDE). He won a pawn off me out of the opening, but I had compensation. I went over the game with him afterwards and it's amazing how we saw the game differently. I thought I was struggling for a draw after dropping the pawn, but he felt that taking the pawn was a mistake and that he was the one who was behind. Later on I was able to create pressure and eventually he surrendered a piece on move 41 and resigned so I guess he was the one who was correct.

After round two I had to change my hotel plans. I had forgotten my medicine at home and needed to travel the 3 hrs back to Lloyd. I considered withdrawing but decided instead to repeat my long day one more time.

Day 2 (Canada Day)

Again had to get up early and travel 3 hr to make the 10 AM start

Round Three: I was paired as black against David Miller (2092 CFC, 2049 FIDE). He had bus trouble and was more than a half hour late. I played a Petroff and came out of the opening in good shape. After that I was outplayed and resigned at the time control on move 40.

Round Four: I was paired as black again against Jared Young (UNR) He played very aggressively in a strange opening and I played too passively. Eventually I became cramped with all my pieces around my king preventing immediate disaster and a pawn down. I think he missed two chances to sac a piece and win but I fought hard and was able to free my queen for a counter attack and equalize. We agreed to a draw on move 66 and once again I was the last game to finish.

Before I had a chance to withdraw, they had me paired for the final round, so I talked to my wife and unbelievably decided to make the trek one more time. I made it back to Lloyd at 11 PM just in time to make it to the park for the Canada Day fireworks and get to bed at 12:30

Day 3

Packed up the whole family and for the third day in a row made the trek into the big city. Luckily the final round didn't start until 11 AM so had an extra hour sleep. My wife dropped me off at the chess club and headed to the mall for a day of shopping.

Round Five: I was paired as white against Kevin Smith (1801 CFC). We played a Spanish and at one point he played a tactic that backfired and I won a pawn and then had two passed pawns on the queenside. I was able to force trading down to what I thought was an easily won rook and pawn endgame with an extra pawn but I managed to blow it several times. Luckily for me my opponent blew his draw just as many times and I won in 83 moves (once again the last game to finish). I kind of dread analyzing this game because I am sure I will find many mistakes in the long endgame but it should be instructive.

Overall: 18 hrs travelling and 24 hrs at the chess board. Needless to say I am exhausted as I type this. I finished with 2.5/5 which is OK since I was one of lower rated players in the section. They were scoring on a 3 point win system and 1 point draw (same as in the International section) so I had 7 points.

Nigel Short won the International section as expected but did suffer one loss. I don't know who won the reserves or under 1700 sections. Rob Gardner scored an IM norm with a great tourney including a short win over GM Kovalyov.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

John Chess in Edmonton

I was in Edmonton on the weekend for a family activity and stopped by the Chess Club on Saturday afternoon.  I knew there was a sectional tournament going on and I thought I could see some of the action and maybe catch a few fun games. 

It was unfortunate that only 6 players joined the tournament so there was only 1 section and it had quite a range of skill from 1500'ss to 2300's.  Harris Wang was the organizer and his young brother Richard was the favorite and won with 5/5.

I managed to get 4 fun games in.  2 against Wayne ? which I won quite easily and then 2 against George Sponga who had a break between rounds.  I won the first on a tactic after dropping a pawn and in the second I again dropped a pawn but managed to win it back and got a good position until I dropped whole piece.  I managed to push my outside pawn to a threatening position and somehow won the game.

The position was something like this when Black played ...Rh2+ and after Rh4 I managed to trade rooks and win.  Black could still have sacrificed his Rook for the pawn and probably drawn with something like Rf2-f8

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Northern Alberta Open

I came extremely close to entering this tournament last weekend. It wasn't until Saturday morning that I finally decided to bypass the event.  Still it is good that I'm getting the urge to play OTB chess again.  I like looking at the result charts of tournaments and seeing the outstanding results.  There were several in this tournament.
  • Alex Yam's result was outstanding and shows that he is now one of the elite players in Alberta. 
  • Maybe the best result was from veteran player George Sponga who had a performance rating of 2131!  Surprisingly he only gained 90 points from this phenomenal effort to go from 1573 to 1663.
  • Ryan Lacy and David Yao are, I believe, both juniors so their performance may not be unexpected.
  • Vlad Rekhson's, poor performance is noteable but he has had scattered results lately.
  • Arnold McKay had the unfortunate bad luck to face the two overachieving juniors in the first 2 rounds.

Northern Alberta Open Crosstable

# Player Old Perf New High Results Total
1 Yam, Alex 2326 2537 2364 2364 W24 W15 W3 W4 D2 4.5
2 Wang, Richard 2337 2398 2355 2356 W10 D17 W12 W11 D1 4.0
3 Porper, Edward 2495 2376 2490 2556 W19 W9 L1 W5 W7 4.0
4 Haynes, Nicolas 2314 2243 2320 2339 W23 W28 W8 L1 W9 4.0
5 Gardner, Robert 2308 2136 2306 2387 W22 W6 D0 L3 W10 3.5
6 Sponga, George 1573 2131 1663 1785 W7 L5 W19 L9 W20 3.0
7 Ottosen, David 2084 2056 2080 2237 L6 W24 W13 W20 L3 3.0
8 Pechenkin, Vlad 2425 2028 2411 2452 D0 W18 L4 D15 W12 3.0
9 Sequillion, A 2046 1980 2044 2129 W31 L3 W16 W6 L4 3.0
10 Kassam, Jamil 1899 1918 1917 1932 L2 W32 W18 W17 L5 3.0
11 Sasata, Robert 2395 2248 2385 2395 W20 D12 W14 L2 L0 2.5
12 Gluckie, Jamin 2156 2118 2156 2156 W16 D11 L2 W22 L8 2.5
13 Pua, Richard 2037 2068 2047 2050 D0 W29 L7 W14 L0 2.5
14 Yearwood, Roy 2197 2014 2174 2286 D0 W30 L11 L13 W25 2.5
15 Kalisvaart, P 2063 1946 2046 2243 W0 L1 D22 D8 D16 2.5
16 Lacy, Ryan 1656 1930 1699 1699 L12 W25 L9 W28 D15 2.5
17 Daniluk, Jim 2015 1863 2006 2193 W32 D2 D0 L10 L0 2.0
18 Yao, David 1179 1837 1236 1236 W25 L8 L10 L24 W28 2.0
19 MacLeod, Damon 1915 1831 1899 1960 L3 W31 L6 W23 L0 2.0
20 Bentley, Bill 1901 1716 1868 2000 L11 W33 W28 L7 L6 2.0
21 Rekhson, V 2038 1608 1990 2217 L28 L22 L0 W32 W24 2.0
22 Majaducon, W 1776 2041 1809 1809 L5 W21 D15 L12 L0 1.5
23 White, Chris 1793 1832 1792 1847 L4 D0 W30 L19 L0 1.5
24 Razzaq, Ali 1874 1707 1856 2022 L1 L7 D0 W18 L21 1.5
25 McKay, Arnold 1958 1439 1894 1987 L18 L16 W29 D0 L14 1.5
26 Wang, Harris 1871 1753 1872 1892 L0 L0 L0 L0 W32 1.0
27 Zeggelaar, M 1966 1753 1967 2079 L0 L0 W32 L0 L0 1.0
28 Johnson, Ron 1427 1578 1424 1480 W21 L4 L20 L16 L18 1.0
29 Nichols, Dar 1512 1598 1524 14 D0 L13 L25 L0 L0 0.5
30 Wiltzen, Trev 1737 1595 1666 4 D0 L14 L23 L0 L0 0.5
31 Lohner, Jason 1462 1581 1459 1462 L9 L19 L0 L0 L0 0.0
32 Riesen, Stuart 1293 1558 1353 22 L17 L10 L27 L21 L26 0.0
33 Fenske, Donald 0 1501 1501 1 L0 L20 L0 L0 L0 0.0

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chess in 2012

I actually played chess this month.  I was in Calgary for my daughters swimming activity on Feb 3-5 and the University Battle of Alberta active was the same weekend.  I joined and was able to play the first 4 rounds before I had to pull out.  I had three wins and 1 loss to the highest rated Alex Yam but it is hard to judge my performance because my wins were against unrated players.

I will post the games later but so far I have looked at one.

McLeod - Chaisson_1.pgn

Chaisson - Yam.pgn

Zhang - Chaisson_0.pgn

Chaisson - Madhusudan.pgn

I may be in Edmonton this weekend and the Northern Alberta Open is happening so I might get to play some more games.