Monday, September 17, 2007

LPO chess tournament--a bit of a disappointment

The past weekend was the Lipkin-Pfeffercorn Open in Winston-Salem, North carolina. Well, actually, for me it was only Saturday. It wasn't a good tourney.

The ride down here was ok, my Dad was with me. We ran into a few snarls, but got here in good time.

The first round could be played either Friday evening or Saturday morning. I chose Saturday. What I didn't notice on the on the tourney announcement was the the time controls would be different depending on if one played the first on Saturday--they would be a bit shorter. I don't think it would have made a difference.

The first was a tough game. I think that early on I had a good position, but misplayed it, and my opponent took control. I defended well, and right when I thought I had gotten even again, he played a very clever tactic that won him a pawn. The ending should still have been a draw, but for some reason I started trying to press for the win, and a justice would have it, he responded well and won.

The second was a bit cathartic. It was actually a pretty tense and complicated game, with both of us going after each other's kings. I had pinned one of his knights, and was trying to pile on to win it, and it resulted in his queen being pinned by my bishop, and so he resigned.

The third was a fight as well, though quieter and more of a maneuvering battle. I thought I had the edge on him, but he kept finding some tactics to keep me from gaining in real advantage, and I kept him from getting one on me, and in the end we drew.

So, three games, one and a half points. All of my opponents were in my same rating class, though a bit lower then I was. with that score, I was pretty effectively out of any chance of winning anything, so I withdrew and we'll head home in the morning (I'm writing this Saturday night).

There are reasons why I wanted to come here, and to try to win my section of the tournament. They are for the time being personal reasons, outside of course of sheer orneriness and wanting to compete and win.

Has my game gone backwards since a little over a month ago, when I tied for first in the Lexington tournament? None of the people I played here were a highly rated as those played that time, so it would safe to assume that my competition that time was tougher then it was here. Yet my results were worse here. Granting that I played stupidly in the first game, losing a drawn position, had I played like I did before, it may not have come to that.

It's a tough thing to know. If I have been remiss in my chess studies, it's not as if life hasn't had it's complications. Plus, what is it worth? Let's be honest, I'm not going to make any kind of master's level in chess. I take the game seriously, but not that seriously. I like the design work I do, and enjoy free time to read or watch movies when I can.

But as I said, chess at this point in time isn't just a hobby for me. It's a potential means to an end, or at least the next step to an end (or a beginning). One reason I pressed in that first game was because of that--a draw wouldn't have been disasterous, but it would have made things iffy. One time when I played here years ago, in a lower section, I had 4 1/2 out of 5 games, and wound up in a 4-way tie for first. Not bad, but splitting among so many did cut down on the funds.

Of course, it's still better then nothing. I should have been smart.

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