It is with sorrow that I announce that, after a valiant effort, I have relinquished my crown of Central NY State Chess Champion. I look back on my time as your champion with nothing but happy memories. One day soon I hope to reclaim the title. For now, I am content in knowing that the crown rests with a formidable opponent.
Before researching this post I thought I held a somewhat dubious distinction: “the weakest player to win the open section of a CCA event in years”. I was mistaken. There was a player lower rated than me, who won a CCA Open tournament (non-blitz/side event). I’ll let my readers figure out who that person was.
This year saw a stronger field than last year as we had IM Colomban Vitoux and FM Dov Gorman. Absent this year was my friend and all around mensch NM Matan Prilleltensky.
Despite my embarrassing miniature to FM Gorman in the second round, I managed to earn 3.5 points. 3.5 points was enough to tie for 3-6 and net 50 dollars. FM Gorman and IM Vitoux tied for first with 4.5/5.
I made an effort to take more photos of Syracuse. I got some cool photos of one of my favorite buildings in New York, the Niagara Mohawk (NiMo) Building:
The first round was a tense affair. I got the better of my opponent after he played optimistically in the opening. I was happy to defeat this player as he managed to escape with a draw the last time we played.
My next game was against my Central NY rival FM Gorman. He played a tricky opening and I immediately crumbled. I
sacrificed blundered a piece and he disposed of me. Instead of showing you this miserable game here is a tactic from the game. White to play and win a piece:
My third round affair was a somewhat sloppy game. I managed to win a pawn in the opening. Somehow we played on for an additional 40 moves before I could finally put him away. Once again my poor technique and auto-pilot played a big factor in me not finishing this game sooner.
The fourth round game was a mess. I fought tooth and nail for the initiative to no avail. Towards the end of the game, I realized that I was low on time and had a shaky position. To shake things up I played quickly and confidently. Much to my surprise it felt like he was speeding up too. Towards the end of the game there is the tendency to speed up as you just want it to be over. By rattling off moves, you can change the “rhythm” of the game. and bait your opponents into playing faster. This can get your opponents off balance and perturb their otherwise stoic demeanor.
My final game was against a player that I’ve played a bunch. We made a “strategic” draw in order to secure money for ourselves. Although this is something that I’ve been critical of before, after my opponent surprised me in the opening I knew I was potentially walking into dangerous territory. We made a draw and played a bunch of blitz games trading games back and forth.
Below are the rest of the photos that I took during the tournament. I have started a new tradition, when I cash at a tournament held at a university, I will make an effort to purchase a sweater from their local store. This victory brings my ‘Cuse sweater count up to two: