I hadn't played a serious chess game in four months, and the Columbia Open was a good excuse to get back into it. I played a ton of tactics recently and definitely noticed an improvement there, and hoped it would translate into wins in the Under 1400 section. I think I played well in 4 out of 5 games, but the way I played the 5th game is hard to swallow. Anyway, to the games!
Game 1 with black against a kid from Hilton Head. This game played into my preferred line against 1. e4. I was also pretty happy with my ability to calculate a few moves in advance and keep the picture of the changed board in my head.
Game 2 was against a Columbia player who plays here on chess.com. I usually open 1. d4 in tournaments but find I run into trouble when my opponent plays c5 early on. I'm not sure why. I should have castled sooner to avoid a queen check which lost me a pawn and forced several exchanges from there. I ended up resigning just as the 1st time period ran out.
Game 3 was an embarrassment. I walked down the primrose path and into a trap, the whole time thinking how sloppy my opponent was playing by giving up pawns and asking for a skewer to lose the exchange. Turns out I was the sloppy player! The trap dates back to 1934, and has its own Wikipedia page. Behold my madness! I'll attribute some of it to being tired for the third game of the day, but I was mainly just careless.
On a positive note, this loss fell into my friend's advice "if you're going to lose, lose early!" So I was well rested for game four on Sunday morning. It was against another chess.com player. He boasted of playing Fischer once..."Herb Fischer." I was two pawns up but the endgame was slow and tricky for me.
The last game was against another young guy. I think he made a couple passive queen moves that let me apply pressure, and then later I saw a probable mating attack.
I was happy with my two wins from Sunday. Took away some of the sting from the Saturday losses. Thanks to my friend Jorge for coming along and to the folks in Columbia for running the tournament!