Friday, October 19, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.