Monday, June 11, 2007

07 Kentucky Open--a near miss

For me, the Kentucky Open chess tournament did not begin on the most positive of notes--having to stand in a long line to register, having to pay a bit more then I thought because I also needed a Kentucky Chess Association membership, and to usual late start to the first round. Nothing major, mind you, but a bit of a bother.

Oh, well, once the rounds began, things got more interesting. We had three rounds on Saturday, and two on Sunday.

The first game was a good one for me. My opponent played pretty well, but allowed a pawn fork early on. I returned the material to mess up his pawn structure and leave him on the defensive, and after that it was mostly a case of grinding him down for the win.

Game 2 started out interesting, as the opponent played a gambit, but I think didn't play it as well as he could have. He let me nullify his initiative while keeping the sacrificed pawn, and that pawn he sacrifced was eventually what lost it for him, as I was able to promote my extra pawn in the endgame.

The third was tight for a while. I was able to put some pressure on some open lines, but I couldn't find a breakthrough until the very end.

The fourth round was on Sunday morning, and that was my downfall. My opponent played in much the same style I had been playing, only she did it better. It was a hard-fought game, and we both may have had chances, but in the end she made the better moves and won.

The last game was, then, a bit of an anti-climax. There was still the chance that I could tie for second place in the tournament, but the two who were tied for first (one of them being the young lady who beat me round 4) drew and put themselves both out of reach of the rest of us. So, it was mostly a case of pride and rating points, which is quite enough. It was another tense game, with both of our kings under attack. I found some tactical shots towards the end which allowed me to queen a pawn and that was that.

So, it was a good tournament, only mildly disappointing. I like the level at which I was playing, perhaps the best I had every played, while still seeing ways I could improve. In the game I lost, I made some incorrect decisions in the middle of the game, which put me in some difficulties, which were well-exploited by my opponent.

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