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.

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