This weekend I played in the Milwaukee Summer Challenge II, a five round G/120 tournament.
In four of the five rounds I was paired up, and in the final round when I was paired down, it was only by 23 points.
In round one I had Black against Bob Both, rated 1899. I had played him twice before, but in G/60 events. The first time we played I won, the second time he did. So I expected a tough fight, but wasn't overly concerned about the 200+ point rating difference.
After an interesting English Opening that featured some sharp opposite side castling I wound up slightly better but the position was very rich. I wound up on the better side of an ending, but I misplayed it and had to use some technique to hold the draw.
Round two I was paired against Robert Bruch, a player rated 1841 whom I had never faced before. Again I had Black, and for the first time in my life I played a mainline Slav (I have played the ...a6 Slav from time to time). I decided to sac a knight for two pawns and the initiative rather than give up the bishop pair and be faced with a position that would require a long and patient defense. My opponent was able to get Queens off the board, but in doing so had to give me the bishop pair.
Although I had some comp I was thinking that I was going to have to fight for a draw. Then Robert blundered a rook and resigned on the spot.
In the final round of Saturday I was paired against James Ellis. A former master and state champ who successfully petitioned the USCF to lower his floor. These days he is rated 1908. I finally had White, and we played a Grand Prix. I have played the Grand Prix a few times before, but don't truly understand the positions and so I quickly found myself in trouble. Then I blundered a pawn and the exchange and resigned on the spot.
So at the end of day one I was 1.5-1.5 having played up all three games. So far so good.
This morning I was paired against a fellow member of the Southwest Chess Club, Jeff Pokorski, rated 1773. I had White again and knew that Jeff has been playing the 2...Nf6 lines of the Scandinavian recently, but instead he played something he called the Colorado Gambit, which went 1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 f5. Weird stuff, but OK. The position became fairly complex and then I had a chance to trade down in to a good knight vs. bad bishop position with those being the only minors left on the board. Jeff then swapped the bishop for my knight and at the end of a long line I missed a devastating shot and dropped a pawn.
I felt like I had some comp, but not a lot. Then Jeff dropped the pawn back and we agreed to a draw.
The final rounds saw me paired against another club player, John Hegelmeyer, rated 1660. I had Black and played a Scheveningen. He went into the 6. Be2 line and I played absolutely terribly. I missed several good responses for my opponent, although luckily for me he missed them as well.
John wound up hanging a knight and I almost didn't see it. Fortunately I finally noticed it and after I took the piece we played a few more moves before he resigned.
So after all was said and done I went 3-2 in a very tough tournament and gained 69 points, raising my rating to 1752, which sets an all time peak for me of 28 points over my old one of 1724. Since I drew an expert in a club game last Thursday I have the potential for a nice gain when that is rated in a couple of weeks if I can continue my momentum.
One last note...this morning I sadly learned that club member Dean Sydlewski passed away last week at the age of 51. I'm not sure what happened, but I know that he will be missed. He was a nice guy from what I knew of him.