Although Steve Kesti had clinched the Reno CC Class B Ch. with his victory last week he was kind enough to play Game 6 (the usual practice at our club) last night, and the result was a win for me, in rather strange fashion.
I opened with 1. e4 this time; I'm back to playing it occasionally and since this game was just for fun, glory and rating points I pulled it out. And with what a result! He chose the Pirc Defense and I unveiled the Mad Dog variation, and by move 10 he was in desperate trouble, down material...and then of course I had to castle O-O-O, in the spirit of things, and it got more interesting as he threw everything he had at my King. I think I had it under control until move 30, when on the last move before the first time control I took an attacking Bishop off, which I figured would quell the attack. Unfortunately, this wasn't really calculated, it was, as I say, figured (heh) and I soon realized he would win back the Exchange and a pawn he was down.
But okay, not getting down on myself, not panicking, I saw that I could go into a better Rook ending where he had weak pawns, and indeed win one of his pawns within a few moves. Fine--I feel good that I was still trying to find the best move instead of worrying about the way things might have been. And lo and behold, he immediately offered to trade Rooks into a lost Pawn ending, which I played accurately enough.
I'm sure it was difficult for my opponent to play his best when the match wasn't on the line, but I had the motivation of estimating before the game that a win would gain me around 9 rating points, to 1609, inching a little closer to my goal of 1700 by the end of the year. Plus I'm having a lot of fun playing again.
As is customary here, I'm putting down my day-after impressions while still fresh, and will do my best to post the game and annotations late tonight, or if not then, in the next couple of days.