As part of my chess goal for 2009 I’m am working on entering as many tournaments as possible. My first one was a 6 round 25+5 at The Manukau Institute of Technology on the Saturday after Waitangi Day. The venue is close to the Otara Markets so my partner dropped me off and went shopping and I caught a rid back into town afterwards.
The tournament was divided into 4 grades ( A-C plus a Junior under 14 years and under 1300 rating ) with 97 entries fairly evenly divided into each. In the previous tournament I went into C grade ( 1400 and below ) but I decided to go up a grade into the 1400-1700 grade ( my rating is 1314 but I’m a little underrated) since I would get better games, have a better chance to increase my rating and also be upstairs with the “adults” rather than downstairs in the same room as the noisy juniors (and their parents).
Since the time control is fairly short and I forgot to bring a pen I only recorded part of two of my games.
- I was white against Phillip Logo (1568) , ended up a bit behind and eventually lost
- I was Black against William Li (1371) and was going fairly even until he missed a pin at the end of an exchange I I ended up a Bishop ahead.
- White against Philip Mukkattu (1298) who is a bit underrated, this was fairly even and I was a pawn up towards the end of the middle game. However after an endgame with a Queen and a bunch of pawns each Phillip captured more of my pawns before forcing a queen swap and won.
- Black against Vivian Smith (1582), I played pretty weak here, got myself all cramped up and made weak moves and eventually Vivian ended up a rook ahead and I resigned.
- White against Gary Judkins (1409) was interesting, I ended up with an interesting opening and got a little ahead with a good attack on the king side. He then gave me an opening to attack and after I thought about it for something like 15 minutes I did with the e-pawn and then sacked my bishop against h6 for a very strong attack. He got out of the attack but ended up behind in material and eventually I finished him off with only a little time on my clock.
- Black against Thomas Gothorp (1296), I was going okay but he made a strong queen side attack which I didn’t defend well against and he got ahead. However he captured in the wrong order so we ended up with a fairly even endgame. However he made a blunder and I got a piece ahead and won after a few close calls.
In both of the last two games I was very short on time, less than 30 seconds on the clock and having to move within 5 seconds ( each move gives me an extra 5 seconds on the clock) in order to prevent it going down. I’ve found however that I can play reasonable well on this sort of time and that often my opponent is demoralised by my fast (and reasonably okay) play. In the case of game 5 I used up a lot of time checking a speculative move that turned out to be good but as a rule I’m still not managing my time well.
Overall I ended up getting 3/6 or 50% and playing to a 1420 or around 100 points over my current ranking and playing okay in every game except the one against Vivian Smith. Still I need a lot more practice to get my rating and ability over the 1700 mark.
The tournament itself was pretty good though, nearly 100 players and nice surroundings makes it a good start to the year and the A-grade especially was quite strong.