I’m back. I’m not sure for how long, but I’m back for now. I have a lot of thoughts about returning to chess, and my “role” in the community going forward but I’ll save those for another post.
I had the opportunity to play in my first chess tournament in a while. As one might expect, I was a bit concerned that after such a long lay off, I would be rusty. Luckily, I was in good form and managed to win a few games. This was a great tournament to ease myself back in because it was a weaker tournament that consisted of mostly club players with a few experts. In general I prefer large open tournaments because you can expect mismatches. So if by some chance you lose a bad game, your pairing *should* get easier. There are of course drawbacks to this format but it helps someone like me to gain confidence against weaker players and get into form. Without further ado, here are some interesting positions from some games I played.
We pick this game up after the opening where I had an important decision to make in the middlegame. Here Black trades the bishop pair for an open file and activity:
In this game I elected to play a queen-less middlegame against my young opponent. In my experience, younger players tend to dislike these “stale” positions. He immediately made a few inaccuracies and I won this game without much difficulty.
This next game was frustrating for me. I played without any ambition and had to settle for a draw against a lower rated opponent. I will say that I was pleased I was able to see through the complications in the ending to find the draw but the game was not an inspiring effort by me.
I was pleased with this next one, I won a nice game against a tough opponent. During the game I felt I played well although I knew that I missed a few opportunities. Neither of us realized that I completely blew an advantage until I analyzed the game later with the computer.
In the final game, because of the tournament situation, I had 3.5/4 and my opponent was sitting at 3/4. I knew going into this game that two things would be true: I would have black, and he would be playing for a win. Unfortunately, I got a passive position out of the opening that I was forced to defend for a long period of time. I remember seeing a Caruana commentary where he was saying that if you defend for a long period of time, in an unpleasant position you start seeing ghosts. That’s essentially what happened to me. I defended for a while, then after I played an innocuous looking move to try to gain counterplay I was straight busted. It was a disappointing way to finish an otherwise good tournament.
So what is there to say after such a tournament. Although I felt like I played accurately in my games, I didn't come away with the result that I wanted. It gives me some encouragement to know that I can still win games against tough opponents and that my preparation has been good. I look forward to playing in more tournaments in the future and with any luck I can get some of the results that I've been looking for.