Monday, November 12, 2012

Vanity: Kings Island Road Trip

GM Nikola Mitkov headed a contingent of Chicago players at this year's Kings Island Open. The site is a creaky but charming resort adjoining the amusement park in metro Cincinnati.

 This year's field was not as strong as last year's (most GMs chose to play in Detroit the week before), but still pretty darn strong. Once again, Kentucky GM Gregory Kaidanov took honors, splitting first with IM Goran Vojinovic of Ohio. Crosstables here

In Saturday's round three, I was playing next to nine-year-old David Peng, and I looked at his game almost as much as mine. As David was rolling up his second master of the event, I found myself thinking, "Is this kid already stronger than I am?" Wonder no longer: David's post-event rating is 2108, and mine is 2106. Even before his recent ratings jump, David was second only to Awonder Liang on the nation's top nine-year-old list. (As I noted a few days ago, both David and Awonder at age nine are substantially stronger than the twelve-year old Bobby Fischer. But this is a misleading comparison on many levels. Parents, chess is more than having a large number after one's name: you want your children to enjoy playing and enjoy learning. These young players simply love to play!)


Here are my games, not because they're particularly good, but because it's a blog. :-)  Constructive criticism is most welcome: that's how we get better!

Claire and I drove in Friday night: traffic was heavy, so I wound up taking a first-round bye (thanks to USCF Executive Director Bill Hall for conveying the message to Wayne Clark).

In round two, I was paired with fellow Chicagoan Tam Nguyen, who is on the cusp of a long-overdue National Master title.  I sacked a pawn for no particularly good reason and was fortunate to escape with a draw:

In round three, I was paired against the reigning Kentucky state champion, NM Davis Whaley.  Black made a Slav triangle and grabbed the Catalan gambit pawn.  At one point, I thought I had excellent wining chances, but the game fizzled out into a dead draw quickly.  Between Evanston and Kings Island, I had now drawn five consecutive games in eight days. (This after making a vow to myself not to offer or accept draws in unclear positions: sometimes there's nothing the players can do...)

Sunday morning, I won against NM Pappu Murthy of Ohio. 15...Nc7? is a cute idea, but the attempt to trap the bishop fails. The alert reader will probably notice several dozen faster wins that I missed (29.Qc4 with the idea of 30.a3 is one, Black's counterplay after 32.Nxd6 appears not be that fearsome, after all), but hey, I won. And yes, Black could have resigned a few moves earlier, but note that Black almost set up a kamikaze stalemate trap. (Queens and rooks are great for kamikaze missions, but monochromatic bishops are generally ineffective.)

Thanks to my style of boring opponents to death, I had a chance to Swiss-Gambit my way into the Under 2300 prize in the final round. NM James Mills of Indiana had other ideas. 15.Ne5!? is interesting: I think I was right to take on d4, but 16...Nf8 is too passive: better 16...Rac8. 18...Bg5!? is my attempt to deal with the coming incursion on c6. I saw White's beautiful 23rd move coming, but didn't appreciate its force until it was too late: 23...f5? is just psychological collapse. A nice win by Mr. Mills!

Now that you've seen all the weaknesses in my play, come exploit them this weekend at the Illinois Class in River Forest!


Keith Ammann said...

Better yet, come and exploit the weaknesses of the players in the Class B and D/under sections. They're looking a little thin. Prizes for the taking! :-)

Bill Brock said...

Oops: accidentally posted analysis in the Murthy game as the game continuation....will fix

Bill Brock said...