The New York State Championship is becoming one of my favorite tournaments. I look back on my previous tournaments and am filled with fond memories. This year Aleksandr Ostrovskiy won the tournament in impressive fashion with 5/6.
This year was a good year for me. I played in the open section and performed well. I scored 3/6 and went +2 =2 -2. I mentioned in another post that each tournament has a “theme”. Something that ties it all together for me. This tournament I found myself with a lot of good positions. In almost all my games I was quite comfortable. I was better in a lot of games and felt relaxed and calm.
This year I was more social than in previous years. I met some wonderful people that I’d seen play before but never interacted with. I had the pleasure of talking to WIM Dorothy Teasley who’s been playing chess for a long time. She had a good tournament in the U2100 section and scored 4.5/6.
This year I was without my traditional roommate FM Ben Dean-Kawamura. This is the first time that he’s missed the NY State Championship in many years. This year I stayed with a promising young player from Rochester who did well in the U2100 section. I was able to help him with some preparation before one of his games. One guy played into the line and my friend won an exchange but only managed to draw the game.
I had a disappointing start of the tournament. After going 0-2 I was pretty annoyed with myself. Especially considering how I lost those games. In the first game, after playing well, I blundered a piece:
As you can see, a complete disaster. The second game wasn’t much better for me. It just seemed like in these first two games my opponents caught some breaks due to my poor play. I heard someone describe this phenomena in the skittles room. I’m paraphrasing here but he said something to the effect of,
I don’t believe in bad luck in chess, but I do believe in good luck. I think you can have good luck when you’re opponent blunders or misplays a position. It doesn’t work the other way around. You don’t play badly because of ‘bad luck’.
I really like this idea; but I’d swap out the word “luck” for the word “fortune”. After the game, I was incredibly frustrated with my performance. Needless to say, I was in no mood to talk about it after it had ended. My second round opponent described his own win as “lucky” (his words) when we talked the next morning. I don’t believe he was lucky, he found some good moves and saw through my tricks. Our game was a roller coaster where the advantage changed hands a couple of times. The difference between drawing and losing came down to one square:
The next game I was paired with a fellow Rochester player. In our game, unbeknownst to me, we followed a Smyslov game from 1946! I spent a good deal of time calculating an exchange sacrifice. I couldn’t find the correct continuation and kept seeing resources for Black. In the same position Smyslov finds the correct plan, with 15. Rc1. After doing some analysis with the computer, the exchange sacrifice is probably correct:
And here is the alternative where White keeps an edge but I didn’t feel that it was enough to net a full point:
My next game was a demolition job. My opponent got into some trouble in the opening and I converted without too much trouble. There were many ways for him to play more stubbornly and put up more resistance. An example of “good fortune” in chess:
The fifth round was pretty uneventful. I did a bit of preparation before the round that was thrown out the window on the first move. Apparently, my opponent hadn’t ever played 1.e4 before. We ended up playing a fairly boring game, I offered a draw in another position where I had a slight edge. I should have played this position on as I could play for “free” with little risk:
The final game was my favorite from the tournament. I was once again paired with a Rochester player but like the opponent in the third round we haven’t played in a while. I sacrificed a pawn and my opponent bravely accepted. I got an initiative and I believe that I had good compensation. My opponent played like a computer grabbing the material and holding on. We both played some inaccurate moves and the position started to become murky. He blundered and soon after resigned:
As is the new tradition for this post I have a few questions for next year and a few remaining questions from last year.
Questions to be Answered Next Year:
- Does “Luck” exist in chess?
Unanswered Questions from Last Year:
- What is in Yefim Treger’s Fanny Pack?
- What is a modified median?
- Who was Ephraim Solkoff?
- When will the USCF embrace the increment over the delay?
- Who was Claude Bloodgood?
- Will Gata Kamsky retire?