Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rook Takes First Place in OTB Tournament!

In 1979 I took first place with a 4-0 finish in the 1979 Beginners/Unrated section in the 2nd Annual Pontiac Open Chess Tournament. That was my first and only tournament experience until just a few months ago.

History repeats itself. On Saturday, September 16th, twenty-seven years later, I took first place 4-0 (shared with another 4-0 finisher) in the "All the King's Chessman's" Beginner's Unrated Chess Tournament. Unlike last time where I only got a cash prize, this time I did get a trophy! (See picture).

To be fair, the pairings worked in my favor. Although there were four or more adults entered, in rounds 1-3 I was paired with a novice teenager, a 5-year old, and a 10-year old. In the last round I played board 2 against an adult player. Since my game finished quickly, I had an opportunity to view board 1. I'm pretty certain if I had been paired with either player from board 1 they would have trounced me - it was obvious by the way they played they were very experienced chess players.

Here is my winning game from the last round:

Opening "Scandinavian (Center Counter) Defense"
ECO "B01"
White "James M. (Rook Van Winkle)"
Black: "Rod B."

1. e4 d5
2. e5

I have no idea what opening this is. I decline the pawn offer and push forward to prevent Nf6 and to follow up with d4. The opening information above is what the ICC reports it is.

2. ...Nc6
3. d4 e6
4. Nf3 Bb4+

5. c3

The bishop will retreat and I will continue an advance in an attempt to trap it.

5. ...Ba5
6. b4 Bb6

7. b5

If not the bishop, hassle the knight. I know I am probably violating opening principles by making all these pawn moves and ignoring piece development - but I can't resist the temptation.

7. ...Nce7
8. Ng5

I move here just because I can. It will annoy black and threaten the f7 square, especially if I can follow up with 9. Qf3.

8. ...h6

With 8. Ng5 I didn't even think to consider what black's response would be - I'm still very much playing like a beginner! I was annoyed at moving the knight there only to have to move it a second time to safety. It was at this point I found something interesting that I had not planned for at all.

9. Qh5!?

Threatening the f7 square with the queen. Black can now take the knight with the pawn, but he is loath to give up the rook after 9. ...hxg5 10. Qxh8.

9. ...Nf5??

Just about the worst move black could make since the d7 flight square will be lost with the displacement of the knight from e7.

10. Qxf7#

P.S. In the 1979 tournament I checkmated my last opponent in 12 moves - a bit surprising considering my opponent had won his previous 3 games. In this tournament I checkmated my last opponent, who also won his first three games, in only 10 moves. It was SPOOKY that I won so quickly because it felt exactly like a moment in time had repeated itself. Unfortunately I cannot credit any great skill or technique on my part in either win – it really was more a case of my opponents losing their games :-)

No comments: