Kidlington Chess Congress 2019: last year I had a lot of very long games, which I found rather tiring but enjoyable. Still, I wasn’t going to complain this year if some of the games were a little shorter.
- Round One: I started off with Black against a higher-rated opponent. He played slightly inaccurately in the opening and I spotted an opportunity to equalise: I think the game was always destined to be a Draw after that, neither of us willing to take any risks in the first round. Also a short game at “only” 2.5 hours!
- Round Two: Paired with a very highly-rated player, previously extremely highly-rated, playing White. The game was progressing well, he had a slight edge, then I managed to equalise. Then he found a good attacking resource to sacrifice knight & bishop for rook & two pawns. This was well-judged on his part because my minor pieces were too loose to consolidate. Well played, so ultimate I Lost this one.
- Round Three: Playing Black against my first female opponent I’ve ever faced at Kidlington. She played the opening somewhat timidly which allowed me to take an early initiative but I couldn’t quite find the right path to finish. I took a lot of time setting traps but she correctly avoided them all. I started losing the thread as I
ran low on time and it looked like fizzling out into a draw (or worse if I was unlucky), but I set one final trick. Fortunately for me, this one worked and I was very pleased to Win this one before heading home for a well-earned sleep!
- Round Four: Day Two started with a game with White against a similar-rated opponent. I didn’t play the opening correctly and got a very passive position where I just couldn’t find moves to play which didn’t make my position worse! I ultimately found a way to create a bit of play, but my opponent’s counter-attack was very well played. Shame to have Lost this one.
- Round Five: Another game with Black against a similarly-rated opponent. He played an opening I was unfamiliar with and I spent most of the game feeling under extreme pressure. He played a sacrificial attack and I was sure I was on the point of losing. I was grasping at ‘only moves’ to escape, so he kept sacrificing more material. In the end it was too much and I finished the tournament (again) with a Win which is great, psychologically-speaking.
Curiously all my points in this tournament came with Black: I scored 0 out of 2 with White, but 2.5 out of 3 with Black. So overall 50% which is my usual target: tournament grade is 160 which is pretty good (above my listed 149 at present).