As I noted yesterday I figured last night's first round (for me) of the Reno CC Class B Ch. would be a big challenge, given the circumstances. I'm happy to report that I met the challenge, and WON!
Here's how it went down; I was playing Vern Young and had never met him over the board, he's rated about 100 points higher than me, and by yesterday afternoon I was undergoing biological warfare, that is I had a cold so heavy that my frickin' teeth hurt. But this is a round robin and the show must go on, unless perhaps one is hospitalized.
So I go home after work and pop a few ibuprofen one hour before game time--I'd avoided them all day so that the effect would be maximized for the game. I eat a nice hot chicken pot pie and by the time I get there I feel somewhat better, still not good, but it was the contrast I was going for...
Anyway, the game starts, he meets my 1. d4 with f5, the Dutch, I meet it with pretty standard stuff, just playing fairly quickly to conserve energy. I must say I'm not seeing a lot, my expectations are fairly low, I'm just trying to do my best under the circumstances. Early in the middlegame I do make some inaccurate moves, and he plays a combination that wins Rook for Bishop--I see it one move too late. Here's the funny thing, though; as sometimes happens, the white-square Bishop I have left is unopposed by the one he had to give up to win the Exchange, and it soon becomes a monster, planted on e6 basically cutting his position in half, and a few moves later he offers back the Exchange and simultaneously offers a draw.
I think hard as I ponder the position--a draw would be good tournament tactics under the circumstances, I'd love to pack up and go home early with a draw in the score table...and yet, and yet, I look at the position after I regain the Exchange and realize I'm much better, his Kingside is weak and my pieces get into play before his, so I suck it up and make the move. I'm now feeling like I'm thinking a lot clearer than earlier, too! A few moves later he's completely tied up, and I get to play the "Excelsior" theme; d6, d7, d8 on consecutive moves, and he could lose a Bishop and stop it but he chooses to let it Queen, I'm a Queen up and shortly he's mated in two. Black resigned.
Win or lose, I resolved to be happy with having the courage of my convictions, and it worked out with a win.
One more thing--this guy is one of those players who tends to make faces and noises during the game; sighs, a snort when I blundered, he took off his hat a few times and held it up above his head while thinking then "accidentally' dropped it. All of this was on his time, so I couldn't care less--I'm from the school of don't give the opponent any hints as to what you're thinking. As I say, he didn't do it on my time so no biggie. We had a brief postmortem that was a little strange, when he said "I was watching your eyes and you were just playing 'move to move' for part of the game!" Probably true, but he didn't explain why he had gotten squashed at the end...anyway, I just let him conduct the postmortem for my benefit.
Next week I'm playing my dentist, Hadi Soltani--I have a good record against him but he's pumped up his rating quite a bit in the last year, swept Class C with a perfect score in 2007. I'll be on the alert, and feeling better I'm sure. I'm just soooo happy to be back in the tournament hall!
I'll post this game sometime in the next few days--it's not a masterpiece for sure, but the result was good. By the way, thanks much to Rocky Rook and Happyhippo for the encouraging words yesterday!