"Form is temporary, class is permanent." - Hikaru Nakamura
Well, I played in the March Madness tournament this past Saturday. I had just achieved my all time rating high of 1724 and I felt on top of the world. But I performed poorly.
I started out with a first round pairing against an opponent who was rated 1096. I was up a piece for a pawn by move six and so as you can imagine that game was just total domination. There was one annoying moment for me when I was up two pieces and lost an exchange back.
It was the type of move that I likely would have made anyways had I calculated it because it had the nice effect of simplifying the position. However, that's not what happened. What happened was I just missed the move and he was able to win the exchange.
As my opponent was a kid he (as expected) did not resign so I forced him into a helpmate. It wasn't my intention the entire time, it's just something I realized I could force towards the end and so I did.
My second round game I was paired against the top seed. He was rated 1940 but hadn't played in several years so I thought I would have good chances. What started out as a Modern Defense quickly transposed into an Accelerated Dragon. I went astray somewhere early and got cramped as he pawnstormed me. I then hung a knight. Flat out hung it. Moved it en prise and then resigned immediately when he took it.
The bad news is that it was the worst blunder I've made in a couple of years. The good news is that it was so bad I was able to laugh it off so it wouldn't affect my third round game.
In the third round I face another kid. This one was rated 1440. I played the Sicilian and he played the closed variation. I had never faced it or really studied it before so I wasn't aware of the idea that Black will typically play ...e6 or ...e5 in order to develop the king knight to e7 rather than f6.
I quickly learned why when I hung a piece (another knight) to a simple tactic. My knight on c6 was loose as I had played ...b5 and so he was able to play e5 which hit my knight on f6 while unmasking his bishop on g2 which hit the knight on f6. I misplayed the continuation as I should have been able to get two pawns for the piece but I didn't.
He showed excellent technique from there and ground me down in an endgame.
So when all is said and done I took three lessons from this.
1) I need more work on tactics. Seeing as how I dropped both an exchange and a piece to simple tactics I clearly haven't been working on tactics enough.
2) I need to remember to ask myself "Is it safe" ala Dan Heisman. Had I done so I wouldn't have hung that knight in game two. I may have lost anyways, but I could have put up a fight.
3) I needed to (and since have) looked at some Closed Sicilian lines.
After round three I withdrew and went home. I was tired and wasn't playing well so I knew it was better to call it a day.
New rating is 1699. However, unlike the last two times when I went over 1700 then dropped right back down I feel good about myself this time. I can see the areas I need to improve in my game. I can smell that Class A approaching.
Kohr,Jonathan (1096) - Wainscott,Chris (1724) [B40]
March Madness (1), 02.03.2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 c4 6.Bxc4 bxc4 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.0-0 Nf6 9.Re1 Qc7 10.d3 cxd3 11.Qxd3 Bb7 12.Bg5 Be7 13.Bh4 d6 14.Rad1 Rd8 15.Qe3 0-0 16.b3 Nb4 17.Rd2 Rc8 18.e5 dxe5 19.Qxe5 Qxc3 20.Qxc3 Rxc3 21.a3 Nbd5 22.Kf1 Bxa3 23.Red1 Rfc8 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Nd4 Bc5 26.Ne2 Bb4 27.Nxc3 Bxc3 28.Rd3 Bc6 29.Kg1 Bb5 30.Rf3 Be2 31.Rg3+ Kh8 32.Rb1 Be5 33.Rh3 Rxc2 34.Re1 Bg4 35.Rd3 Bf5 36.Rdd1 Rb2 37.Ra1 Bd4 38.Rf1 Bd3 39.Rfd1 Bxf2+ 40.Kh1 Rxb3 41.Rac1 Bb5 42.Ra1 Rc3 43.Ra2 Bb6 44.Rb2 Rc7 45.Rb3 Ba4 46.Rxb6 Nxb6 47.Rg1 Rc2 48.h3 Bc6 49.Kh2 a5 50.Kh1 a4 51.Kh2 a3 52.h4 a2 53.Kh3 Bd5 54.Kh2 Rxg2+ 55.Rxg2 Bxg2 56.Kxg2 a1Q 57.Kg3 Qc3+ 58.Kg4 f5+ 59.Kg5 f6+ 60.Kh5 Qf3+ 61.Kh6 Qg4 62.h5 Qg5# 0-1
Wainscott,Chris (1724) - Milette,Rob (1940) [B34]
March Madness (2), 02.03.2013
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd2 Nf6 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 d5 10.exd5 cxd5 11.Re1 Re8 12.Rb1 e5 13.f3 Bb7 14.Kh1 h6 15.Qc1 Kh7 16.Ne2 e4 17.fxe4 dxe4 18.Bc4 Qc7 19.Bb3 Ng4 20.Bf4 Qc6 21.Nd4 Bxd4 0-1
Najeeb,Haidi (1436) - Wainscott,Chris (1724) [B25]
March Madness (3), 02.03.2013
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 d6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d3 Bg7 6.Nge2 Nf6 7.0-0 0-0 8.f4 Rb8 9.h3 b5 10.e5 b4 11.exf6 Bxf6 12.Ne4 Bg7 13.g4 Qb6 14.Kh1 a5 15.Rb1 a4 16.c3 Be6 17.c4 d5 18.Ng5 dxc4 19.Nxe6 cxd3 20.Nxf8 dxe2 21.Qxe2 Kxf8 22.Qe4 Nd4 23.Be3 f5 24.Qd3 Rd8 25.Rfd1 Qe6 26.Re1 Qxa2 27.gxf5 c4 28.Qd2 Nc6 29.Qc2 Nd4 30.Bxd4 Rxd4 31.fxg6 hxg6 32.Qxg6 c3 33.Qf5+ Qf7 34.Qc8+ Qe8 35.Qxe8+ Kxe8 36.Bc6+ Kf8 37.Bxa4 cxb2 38.Rxb2 Rxf4 39.Rbb1 Rf2 40.Rxb4 Bf6 41.Rb8+ Kg7 42.Rg1+ Kh7 43.Rg2 Rf1+ 44.Rg1 Rf2 45.Rbb1 Ra2 46.Bb3 Rd2 47.Rg2 Rd3 48.Bc2 1-0