Recap of the 2016 Cleveland Open

I recently competed in the 2016 Cleveland Open. This summer I’ve taken a lot of time off from chess. Since my previous experience in Canada I haven’t felt motivated to compete. Since the NY State championship is approaching I figured that now would be a good time to get back into “form”. Aside from some online games I haven’t been playing much. With that in mind I decided to take Friday off of work and play in the three-day section. I figured this would allow me to play at a more “relaxing” pace. I was able to explore Cleveland a bit while I was there. I got down to the art gallery, and the rock and roll hall of fame. I also saw the Garfield Memorial and managed to catch up with a friend from high school. We hadn’t seen each other in roughly eight years!

As for the tournament, I got off to a rocky start. I drew a player who was playing up two sections in a game that I would describe as poor quality; from both sides. I got into time pressure attempting to convert the ending and found myself up a piece but down a few pawns. Thankfully, my opponent couldn’t navigate through the ending. In the end, I managed to demonstrate how to draw with a knight vs 2 connected passed pawns. A real accomplishment on my part. Our game was the last to finish that night as my opponent wanted to continue to play until we had kings left on the board.

I was able to shake off this debacle and sat down to play against my second round opponent. My opening play was dubious and he got a small edge. My opponent seemed unsure of what to do with his position. He floundered around a bit which allowed me to equalize. After some maneuvering I outplayed him in a somewhat complex ending:

After this game I was feeling a bit more confident. I was paired up in my next game against a local master. Once again I found myself fumbling through the opening. As luck would have it my opponent fell asleep during our game! After some maneuvering, he blundered. After finding the correct moves in the ending I won a nice game:

In the final round I played a strong 2300. After completely butchering the opening I obtained a worse position. I forgot how joyless defending those terrible positions are. My opponent was patient and handled the position well. I never had any counter chances.

So, not a bad tournament. In the future, need to manage my time better, and learn the openings. I don’t think I played too poorly, and it was good to shake the “rust” off. Outside of some zeitnot, I didn’t play any egregious blunders. I felt that my calculations were solid and that I didn’t miss much. Look for my next tournament recap about the NYS championship!

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