Happy New Year, loyal readers! I bring good tidings! This weekend I played in my first tournament of the new year and felt as if I really turned a corner. The first two rounds were abysmal, as I drew a class-A player and lost to an expert, but then I got more serious about my time management and went 3½ out of 4 in the last four rounds to end with a score of 4-2. I believe that will win some prize money, but probably not a whole lot. For me, the prize money is not as important as finally feeling as if I played some good chess.
Also, as always, there was a little luck involved. In both of my last two games I had positions after the time control (move 30) that were at best equal, but fortunately in both games my opponents tried too hard to win. If they had been a little bit more peacefully inclined, or even a little bit more careful, I wouldn’t have won both games. But that’s chess! I’ve been on the other side of that story many times, too.
Here were the results in the open (over-2000) section:
1. GM Julio Sadorra (6-0). Wow! At 2600-plus, Sadorra may be the strongest player ever in a Bay Area Chess tournament. There was nobody else within 200 points of him. And he played like a grandmaster, blowing away the field and not even taking a quick draw in the last round when that was all he needed to clinch first.
2-3. Hayk Manvelyan (4½-1½)
2-3. Edward Li (4½-1½). A sensational tournament for this class-A player. He upset national master Michael Aigner in the last round. By the way, let me also say that I was very glad to see Michael back in action. I haven’t seen him playing in a tournament since his health problems started a couple years ago.
4-7. Neel Apte (4-2). A really good tournament for this expert, who was 4-1 going into the last round before being fed to the Julio Sadorra juggernaut.
4-7. Richard Koepcke (4-2). Score one for the old-timers!
4-7. Hunter Klotz-Burwell (4-2). Another young expert who had a good tournament.
4-7. Dana Mackenzie (4-2). Yours truly scored another for the old-timers. Actually, my last five games were all against adults, so it was more like old-timer versus not quite so old-timer.
I went to the tournament with Linnea Nelson again, who played in the under-1500 section. She got off to a good start at 2½-1½. The fourth-round game was her first tournament game ever against someone older than her, which is pretty amazing because she is just 17. It was also her first draw ever in a tournament (after something like 15 decisive games in a row).
Unfortunately, Linnea felt sick this morning and so she withdrew from the tournament. That’s disappointing because I’m sure that she would have had a good shot at an under-1300 prize, and this is probably the last time she is ever going to be eligible for that. But prizes aren’t everything. I’m glad she did well in the four games she did play, and hope that she feels better soon.
I’ll probably post a couple of interesting positions from the tournament in my next entry. Let me just say that I think that my new chess motto, “Just Do It” (stolen from Nike), really helped. In positions where I had a preference for one move but I didn’t quite feel ready to commit to it, I told myself to “Just Do It” instead of wasting more clock time. I even wrote “JDI” on my scoresheet next to the moves where I “Just Did It.” There were two “JDI”s in my fifth-round game and three in my sixth-round game.