On Fourth of July weekend, I had the pleasure of playing in my first international tournament held in Canada. My play was poor and I lost many FIDE points but my experience in Canada was quite positive. I corresponded via email with the organizer Graeme, who was helpful and organized. I was able to do a bit of sightseeing in Toronto the Friday before the tournament began which was pleasant. I ate some fantastic shwarma at Mr. Osmows in Mississauga on my way up to the tournament (and on the way back).
Here were the things I thought were notable about the tournament:
- The playing hall was nice and had a bar; I didn’t drink, although it probably wouldn’t have hurt based on my results.
- Cell phone usage was banned in the hall, although they did not implement the draconian measures that I’ve mentioned in other posts.
- The time control was reasonable, game 90 with 30-second increment (my favorite time control).
- The rounds started on time.
- There was a variety of food options a short drive away (although the area was nothing special).
- Abundant free parking (a MUST if I’m visiting from out of town).
- Amusing signage.
Upon entering the tournament hall, I encountered one of the best signs I’ve ever seen:
CHESS TOURNAMENT IN PROGRESS
NO CHATTING, GARRULOUS ACTIVITY, BAVARDAGE,
PRATTLE, LOGORRHOEA, LOQUACITY,
CREATING A DISTURBANCE OR TALKING
WHILE GAMES ARE IN PROGRESS
NO FOOD WHILE GAMES ARE IN PROGRESS
NO CELL PHONES!
The organizers took a moment to help increase our vocabulary and to warn us about talking in the tournament hall at the same time! Whoever said that chess couldn’t be educational has clearly never been to Canada.
In the first round, I played a CFC master who played a risky line I had played before against my friend Matt in the Marchand Open. I still believe this line is risky but, I may stop playing it. I can’t ever seem to prove that White has compensation for the lost pawn against stronger players:
In the second round, my young opponent played a few strange anti-positional moves. I thought I was doing well, but I couldn’t find a plan and floundered around aimlessly. I missed a little tactic that allowed him to win an exchange:
After castling kingside on the crosstable, I was hoping I’d be able to bounce back in the third round. My opponent played a sharp line but he didn’t know the theory and played some inferior moves. This game is the chess version of “rock bottom.” We pick up this game on move 16 after black has already obtained an inferior position:
After castling queenside on the crosstable I pulled myself together to play the fourth round. I dropped a pawn and then an exchange in a new opening I’m still learning. Feeling dejected I proceeded to the TD table where I announced that I would be withdrawing from the tournament. I went back to the board and readied myself for the arduous task of defending a difficult position. I played my moves quickly and confidently and after a few dubious moves he let me back into the game. I let my advantage slip away and he defended quite well in some serious time pressure. The game fizzled out to a repetition although he was better.
Stay posted everyone; I will be playing in the NYS Championship and will be addressing some overdue questions from last time. Additionally Gata Kamsky will be playing! If anyone from the WNY wants to play chess in Canada please let me know (via email or comments below). Their events are available on their site.
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