Yesterday was my long day, my day of unending chess labor, my two-a-day. I’ve never played in a large national event where multiple rounds of 40/2 SD/1 games are on the cards, and now I know why. It’s exhausting, even if – as I did – you luck out and get a fairly quick win in the late game.
I started the day at 1.5/3, so I expected to be playing someone fairly decent in round 4. My opponent was a 20ish 1977 player, and to be honest, he flat-out beat me. They don’t call the Ruy ‘Spanish Torture’ for nothing. If Black plays inaccurately in any number of lines, White just builds up a powerful kingside attack and wins. Had I kept my light squared bishop, I think my chances would have been better, but in the end, the ‘kid’ (I can say that at 37, right?) just outplayed me. Hats off to him. (I will note, however, that begging out of a quick postmortem because ‘you might have to eat’ is a little sketchy when the next round starts in 3.5 hrs. Just say you’re not interested.)
After some muttered profanities, I cooled my jets in the bookstore and then went off for dinner at the restaurant across the street. It was then time for pregame coffee and chess prep!
Some of the discussion at chesspub about these posts led me to reconsider my overly zealous pregame habits, so I tried to take it easy, only looking at a few variations to remind myself of key points. It might also have been a small blessing that pairings didn’t go up until perhaps 20 minutes before the round, as I couldn’t obsess over my opponent’s repertoire if I didn’t know who he or she was.
My round 5 opponent turned out to be a very nice 11 yr old from New Mexico rated around 1500. This is his second US Open, he told me, and his brother played in the Barber. I’d looked at a lot of d4 openings in the weeks before the Open, and my thinking generally is that older folk such as myself should strongly consider playing things besides 1.e4 against talented kids. He played a variation of the Slav where he takes …dxc4 early, and I was a bit befuddled. Eventually I sac’d my b-pawn and got a lot of play against his exposed queen. Surely he resigned too early, as there was plenty of play in the position, but White is vastly better in the final position.
I ended the day at 2.5/5, and with my half pt bye in round 6, I’ll be at 3.0/6 when the schedules merge tonight. Today I’ll return to downtown Madison for awhile, and then I’ll attend the Chess Journalists of America meeting before eating and preparing to play tonight. I should also have more pictures tomorrow!
Here are my games, presented with my thanks to those who would take the time to view them!