Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Idaho Closed, Day 2 & 3

Round 3:  Games today were very hard and really got the blood flowing.  Or was that all the coffee I drank?  My first game was to be my longest and best game against Jim Stark(1563).  Jim is a math teacher in Boise and a steadfast competitor that I have met at almost every tournament I have entered, but have never had the pleasure of playing.  We played a long and arduous game that went for over 4 hours.  Upon one of my trips to the coffee pot, Jay asked if I was growing more gray hairs.  I think the answer to that was easy as Jim finished the tournament in 6th place.  I had to pause during my game for a chuckle when some geese were stomping around on the roof right by the window next to board 1 & 2.  What was funnier was that they started honking like a semi-truck's horn.  I was really falling in love with the tournament room and did not want to leave it after this game.
Barry(left) and Dylan(right)

Round 4:  Egads . . .I now am up against Caleb Kircher(1548).  As Jason Evers put it, "he's tough and plays near 1800."  Additionally, Caleb helped me analyze my game with Jeff the day before and knew exactly how I was going to play the Colle.  So I extensively deviated and he had a devastating pawn thrust in the center which captured a piece.  I countered and could read the nervousness in his body language as my counter attack solidified my position.  Caleb will smile and sit back when in control, and actually will grimace and his body becomes more rigid when in a tight fix.  He was now on alert, very focused and on the defensive.   I was stretched and won back my piece but then goofed by linking my knight and bishop in a check.  His rooks   were then able to seal the deal through some exchanges.  I was able to equalize but the one additional pawn proved to be all that was needed.  Good game . . .I could have played that one better.
Jeff(left) and Garrett(right)

Round 5:  I still have a lot more of the Caro Kann book to dig through and this was readily apparent after my game with Ricky Weathers(1500).  I opened strong but wrecked my position by creating some pawn challenges that left my king's dairy-aire uncastled and stuck in the center on the 7th rank.  I began salvaging my game but Ricky had a very strong bishop that could check on the king or queen-side.  I was even in material and tempo but after I planned an attack that would win two pawns and clear a nice path for my rooks, I blundered by scooping up that second pawn one move too early in my plan.  The brain fatigued, my queen hung, I resigned early.  Nice play, Ricky.  Early to bed, early to rise keeps a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  I wish we had three more days of this.

Round 6:  My last game pitted me against my host's daughter, Katie(978).  She uses tactics very well and so I had to play very guarded.  After she took a pawn with her bishop, I pinned it to her queen and then began my attack against her kingside pawns.  I gleaned a very interesting score-keeping technique that I am going to use with my club kids.  I noticed that she made happy faces next to moves she was pleased with and frowny faces  for moves that she did not like.  Her bishop move deservedly earned a frowny face.  : )
Jasen works it out for a win

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