The Chicago Open U1700 Part 2

Sorry for the delay on posting the results for the remainder of my tournament.  I've been busy with final exams, but now that I'm done I'm ready to head back into studying chess and reporting my progress.  

Rounds two and three of the first day did not show me to be in any better form (in fact this first day of the tournament was quite lousy for me, and well below my personal standards).  By the end of day 1 it looked as if I would be out of contention for any prize money, and this of course put me in a gloomy mood.  How did this happen?  I'm not entirely sure.  I'd played well below my abilities in tournaments leading up to this one on two separate occassions, with aweful results.  I had pulled an all nighter the from Thursday night into Friday night before the tournament, and I'm sure this didn't help, but some of the mistakes I made in the following games are inexcusable even with this in mind.

In round 2 I was paired with a 1665, who told me in the PM that he hadn't played a tournament in around four years.  This of course made me feel all the better about the result...  I was happy with the openening, until I was met with a little surprise (I am a Scotch and Scotch gambit player so I was prepared for what happened, but unfortunately dismayed over the middlegame course).  I blundered foolishly, commiting to a move that I had calculated only a few moves prior to be losing, but my opponent misplayed and gave me hopes for a draw.  I fought long and hard to try to hold but a late slip up put me into a lost king and pawn ending.

Here is the game from round 2:



        After that disheartening loss, I knew that I needed to pick it up in order to finish even for the day (to keep my prize money hopes alive).  Lately I have been playing much better with black than with white (partly because of preparation, partly because I am overambitious with white and often hand the games to my opponents when I have the white pieces).  In game 3, I was playing an opponent around 1600, so again I felt comfortable going in.  I was even more excited when he played 1.e4 and allowed me to get a Caro Kann- Panov-Botvinnik structure, with which I was familiar at least.  But again I was to slip and fall due to a purely idiotic oversight that any patzer should be able to catch.

Here is my round 3 game:


With a pathetic 1.0/3 at the end of my first day of rounds, I knew that I'd have to sweep out to have any chance at prize money, and with my poor performance thus far that possibility seemed as likely as winning the lottery.  It was a very sorry first day of the tournament, but I did not mentally allow myself to just quit and improved my performance the second day (a day of two rounds), to pick up 2/2 in two back to back wins.

In round 4 of the tournament I played another 1600 level player with the white pieces.  Luckily, he played the caro kann.  With the better time control established in round 3 I was able to spend 15 deciding which variation I wanted to go in to.  I had played the white end of an advanced about a month ago and gotten crushed, and I knew the fantasy variation well, thanks to GM Shankland's lectures, but I also knew that the advanced was the only real try for an edge as white.  

I present my round 4 game:

With three rounds to go I had finally equalized my score to 2.0/4 and was hoping to finish strong.  The next and final installment will feature rounds 5-7.  I will also include details of my friend, Sid, who ended up finishing in the top 5 of this section with a great tournament result.  Thanks!


  • 4 years ago


    Right, I play the English, so your earlier English-KID type game was rather familiar.

    I play the Caro-Kann as well, I think the Advance is a good choice against it (obviously, because lots of top players use it) although with tons of theory these days. More offbeat but still dangerous are the Fantasy Variation (as you've mentioned) and 2. c4. If I still played e4, I'd probably play the Fantasy, since most Caro-Kann players aren't booked up on it and it drastically changes the nature of the game.

  • 4 years ago


    Good point on game three, I didn't think concretely that the majority for white could be quickly mobilized although b4 Nc6 a3 a6 is interesting.  The evaluation does seem logical in that light. Also, thank you!  I do find it a bit tricky to play against my own defense.  The long think was because I just couldn't decide which line I should try (I was trying to remember theory/move order for the fantasy with an early c3)  I think from now on I'll just stick to the advance variation and have a backup (maybe the panov) in case I get to the point where people study me (not for some time though I think).  I'm guessing you don't play e4, then?

  • 4 years ago


    I think analysis of one's own games is the best path to mastery, looks like you've put a good deal of work into that already.

    I have to agree with the computer in the round 3 game, White should be winning as of move 15 due to his 3-2 queenside majority, monster pawn on c5 (that can be supported by b4), central domination and the two bishops; White's weakness, the doubled f-pawns, can't be accessed easily by Black.

    Nice win in round 4. Do you find it difficult to play against your own defense? I'm assuming that's the case if you did a long think on the initial choice of variation. My own opening selection manages to avoid that issue.

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