Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Iowa Open - What could have been.

I had great fun playing at the Iowa Open. Since I had lived there in the past it was a chance to meet up with old friends. James Hodina ran a great tournament and the playing conditions were excellent.

Round 1 - Win
I won against a 2200 player, but since he is at his floor and not currently playing at the Master level I did not attach too much significance to the win.

Round 2 - Loss
I was paired against 2116 rated Matthew Dahl from Minnesota. I had Black in the following position.

All have to do is play Rb8, and White's best move is probably to resign! But I got greedy and completely overlooked the Rook check on h7 (after the check on c8). I never thought of it that way, but because of the check White essentially got to play two moves in a row. Even after the move I played, I had several chances to draw, but botched it. After this narrow escape Matthew went on draw 2425 rated top seed Sean Nagle in round 3 and beat 2144 rated Tatiana Veyserburg in round 4, but he was beaten by Matt Anzis in round 5. Matt finished clear second with 4.0/5.0 and gained 50 points to get his rating up to 1960.

Round 3 - Draw
After the set back in round 2 I was in no mood to play round 3. I was White and played the exchange variation of the King's Indian. We agreed to a draw around move 20. My opponent was 1981 rated Robert Keating.

Round 4 - Loss
I was paired against a 1999 player who had not played in a long while. I managed to build a huge time advantage. (in the neighbourhood of 1 hour!) The time control was G/120 with 15 second delay. I had an opening initiative, but lost my way and once Black got his knight to c3 I thought that Black was better. At the end when Black was desperately low on time, I missed the tactic that not only won him a pawn, but forced the exchange of queens and left my pieces badly placed.

Click here to replay rounds 2 and 4.

I can't help but wonder what could have been, had I won round 2!

USCF Results

Sean Nagle won the tournament with 4.5/5. He beat 2 time Iowa champion Pete Karagianis in round 4 and 3 time current Iowa champion Tim McEntee in round 5. Matt Anzis was second with 4/5. 3rd was shared by McEntee, Matt Dahl, Robert Keating, and Tatiana Vayserberg at 3.5/5


  1. One may not bring to the game the result of previous game since it's an entirely new game in which both players start from scratch.

  2. That is easier said than done!

    Chess Guy

  3. You played very well! All of those opponents had good ratings. Perhaps if the outcome of round 2 went in your favor, it may have been a different tournament for you. Fighting the little "demons" in our head is one of the things we all need to get better on. It's a part of chess mastery that I think is often overlooked. We all play moves that are total lemons from time to time (me, more than my share). How we deal with that and move forward is one of the things that keep me coming back for more.

  4. It looks like all your hard work is finally starting to pay off and your chess is steadily improving. Good job!!

  5. One can not think about what if I had won in round 2. Your pairing for round 3 would have been a tougher opponent.

    Knightfork is right about the little demons. I've been fighting them forever it seems.

    Speaking of demons. I won so when do you want to play for all the marbles? Do you know who is supposed to be white?

  6. Hi Polly,

    I am having internet problems at home. I will contact you as soon as they are resolved


  7. I don't know the what color I am suposed to be. I'll check with donnie. If not we can toss for it.

  8. Sounds good. Let me know when you have things resolved.