Fresh Games From The Thursday Grand Prix

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This thursday, the Grand Prix at the Marshall Chess Club was hugely successful, with dozens of strong entrants and large prizes as a result. For me personally, it was a bit of a wash. I managed to eek out 4 more rating points, though overall I was disappointed with my performance. I lost a game to a much stronger player that I feel I should have won, while I managed to win a game against a much weaker opponent that I absolutely deserved to lose. Perhaps, all is right with the world after all.

In the first round, i had a fascinating game against a new comer to the club who is approx 2300. In severe time trouble, he sacrificed an exchange for my knight, at which point I was likely ahead. Unfortunately, it was not so simple and after a flurry of blitz exchanges it was clear I would have to jettison my remaining piece in order to stop his pawns from queening, at which point I resigned.

The opening was a two knights defense- scotch gambit- which seemed to irk my opponent, as he fell into time trouble trying to work out the position and played less than optimum moves. Likely, I should not have given check with my queen, as the disruption the check caused was not worth the poor queen placement later in the game. Tragically, I stopped writing with less than a minute on my clock and the majority of the game took place in those final few seconds. I wish i had an assistant keeping score for me, as I would have loved to analyze a few of the positions that arose.

After losing this game, my head was not in the right place. I saw that I was paired against Anton Lekocevic, who I know that Cameron has beat several times and so I had a bit of confidence going into the game. The game itself tells a different story. Anton played incredibly accurately, and he was crushing me throughout most of the game. 29…e6 is a howler of a blunder made in time pressure. The simple Rxb5, my original idea in the position, was better though likely still losing. Luckily, after my colossal error in time pressure, Anton returned the favor in spades with his blunders on moves 33. and 34. After playing Rxf1# I made a face like had just tasted a lemon and admitted that I was embarrassed to win this game.