Monday, August 27, 2007

Rod Wells Memorial chess tourney

My time in tournament chess can be divided into two periods, one was a couple of years in the early '90s between finishing high school and entering college, and the other beginning about a year ago and continuing to now. In the time back in the '90s, one of the chess club's regulars was Rod Wells. He was an older man, and quite a bit taller then myself. One thing he was known for was wearing these special types of glasses, I think they are called jeweler's glasses. He was never one of the stronger players in the club, but he was one of the club's mainstays and characters.

This tournament had a faster time control then has been normal, which also means that we played more games. We had seven rounds total, although I had a bye in the last round so only played six games.

The first game was intense. My opponent sacrificed to get a couple of passed pawns, and then I had to return the sac to get on of them, and we each wound up with passed pawns that we could almost but not quite promote. We ended up in an even rook-and-pawn endgame with time running out, so we agreed to a draw.

Game two was a win. My opponent's position acquired some defects in the pawn structure, though I'm not sure I did the best I could fighting against them. We came to another ending, but the rooks were about to be exchanged and one of my pawns was going to promote when my opponent resigned.

I lost the third game, but it was still a very intense game. Things were pretty quiet at first, but then we each made some sharp moves, and for a few moves things got crazy--pieces and pawns under attack, sacrificial possibilities came up, attack and counter-attack. But I didn't handle it right, and so wound up a piece down and, well, resigned.

The fourth game was another intense game. I had a good position, but my opponent was holding, and so I sacced a rook for his good knight and a pawn. We exchanged rooks, and so I had a bishop against his other rook, and I also had two passed pawns on the queen's side, though they were both isolated. He probably could have at least held the draw, even when he had to sac the rook for a newly created queen, but instead he let the kingside get closed and all I had to do was to bring my king over and win his pawns.

The fifth and sixth games are almost best left forgotten, though somehow the last game did end in a draw. The fifth was a good fight at first, but I missed something and dropped a piece, and he held the ending for the win. In the last game, my opponent came after me from the first, but I was able to hold. Right when I though I was evening things up, if not getting a bit ahead, I missed a tactic that I had taken into account in some previous moves, and he won a piece. The, out of the blus and on the verge of winning, he left a piece hanging, and we ended up in a rook ending, which I held for the draw.

And in the last round, I had a bye, which gave me an extra point.

So, four points in seven round. Not bad, but not great either. A few too many mistakes.

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