Just finished a club tournament with 5.0 / 7 against mostly experts, and picked up a few rating points to 2076. I made videos of my last four games from this tournament, which were also the most interesting. The videos are approximately 25 minutes each.
I was cleaning out an old box and came across this memorable blitz game score against (what was then) a new opponent, Steve, during his first visit to the club last summer. He had just finished terrorizing my buddy, who basically sicced me on him with a knowing nod and a crowd gathered around to watch. We ended up splitting our 4 games and walked away after a firm handshake as chess friends. Our first game had plenty of ultra-violence and crowd reaction, so I had bothered to scribble down the raw game score and stick it in a box for posterity. :-p
I played one of the most active players in the USCF, who has played 2,356 rated games, scoring exactly 50% with 1073 wins, 1073 losses, and only 210 draws. My opponent intermittently streaks to his peak rating in the 1900s but spends most of his time near his floor in the low 1700s.
I was 0-3 against this player in games from 3-4 years ago in which I attained a clear if not winning advantage, but fell for some trick or swindle while being annoyed by various off-the-board tactics. This player engages in "total war" during his games-- i.e., by "adjusting" the pieces during an opponent's long think or, while the opponent is away, extending his legs under the opponent's chair and not moving them when the opponent returns. Anyway, this game was my long overdue revenge.
"During a chess competition a chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk."
My notorious swindler of an opponent simply missed 12...Na5 and 15...d4, each of which wins a whole piece.
This is the game i lost last night to a player of equal rating. I knew he played Slav-- I didn't feel like playing an Exchange Slav since I've hardly studied it and it can be boring. So I returned to 1.e4 for this particular game.
My opponent finally got his revenge and couldn't help gloating since I had scored 3.5 / 4 in our previous games that were not closely contested. I will probably get around to annotating this game sooner or later; for now I will publish the score as a way of holding myself accountable.
I now have 3.5 / 5 in the club championship which means that my chances of winning the tournament are very slight. The tournament has about 45 players including 6 experts.
My Results After 5 Rounds
I normally don't like studying "theory" openings where the play is direct and sharp and suitable for very deep opening preparation. However, I feel justified if not forced to do so in the Two Knights "Fried Liver" because White is breaking opening principles by attacking with two pieces before developing.
It really is too much to ask a 1500-rated club player to solve the problems of the Ulvestad variation over the board for the first time-- particularly against me since I've studied this opening in excruciating depth. I don't blame myself for not playing my intuitive move, 14...h6! since it was not necessary to play in a sensational style given the rating difference and my strong position besides. Sometimes it's nice to win with no drama.
I do not want to show this horrible game, but that is the reason why I must. Black was equal on move 4, clearly better on move 5, and crushing by move 20. An expert from former USSR told me, "A player from the Russian School of Chess like YOU should have won this blindfold." A big compliment.
Disclaimer: I called the TD to cancel a couple hours before the game since I was still stuck in an L.A. office building on the 48th floor. I called back during the 90+ minutes of rush-hour traffic to say I'd try to make it anyway. I sat down at the board with an empty stomach and my clock already running. I was also annoyed that the board was dirty and the pieces looked like a dog's chew-toys.
"There’s nothing more deadly and nothing more proficient than a happy fighter. Everybody believes that the mean and the surly fighter is the tough fighter, but that’s not true. It's the guy that’s the most relaxed, the guy who loves what he does, and he’s just happy to be in there doing what he does."
My opponent said that he purposely played a dubious opening to force me to think for myself since he thinks that I am heavily booked up on openings. I found that comment rather insulting. You really think your best chance against me is to get a losing position and outplay me from there? Blah.
After Thursday's game, I have 4.5 / 5 and am in sole 2nd behind an expert with a perfect score. Two rounds are remaining, so I control my own destiny as far as winning the tournament goes.
In my last game, I accurately navigated a trap-laden opening to reach a comfortable middlegame with two knights and extra pawn against two bishops. (I very frequently find myself with knights against bishops for some reason!) With some precise moves I forced an exchange of knight for bishop. With a stable positional and material (1 pawn) advantage, I played aimlessly, without a plan, and my opponent swiftly mobilized his pawn majority on the wing, eventually leading to a roughly equal position since my queenside pawn majority was frozen in its tracks. In a position that was likely drawn with best play, my opponent blundered in time trouble. I feel that this game had instructive moments regarding piece activity in the endgame. My opponent played quite well-- except for his unfortunate last move.