I can truly say I "lived it up" this weekend. I unloaded 6,000 pounds or so of household goods from a shipping container into my new residence, thereby getting my chess books back after six months in storage, and also managed to play my first rated chess games since last July.
I'll spare you the details of the moving part, let's go to the chess!
On Saturday the Juneau Chess Club had its first rated tournament since I arrived back in town, and due to work schedules and probably the fact that it was a glorious sunny day (not all that common here in Southeast Alaska) there were just three of us, Brian Bezenek, Russ McDowell and me. Well, Brian and Russ are both experienced tournament players and our ratings are within a couple hundred points of each other, so it turned out to be a pretty good match up.
I managed to win both games and thus the tournament, but not without some difficulties. We had the public library conference room for five hours, so we played at G/40, which is a quick enough time control to produce plenty of twists and turns. In the first round Brian played his usual King's Indian Attack as White against Russ, and after Russ went f5-f4 and opened the f-line...Brian proceeded to dominate it, won material and with mate coming up and a minute or so left on Brian's clock Russ resigned.
In round 2 it was my turn to play Russ. I had many games with him after I first came to Alaska over 20 years ago, and it was great to play him again, but early on it looked like the result would not be good, at least for me. As White in the King's Indian he played an unusual move, 5. Bd2. I recalled seeing this at least once before but whatever I had learned from that game two years ago didn't prevent me from getting outplayed; Russ trussed me up like a chicken, won the Exchange and threatened to trap my queen. Plus, he was at least five minutes ahead on the clock. At these fast time controls though, you gotta just keep trying, and he finally made a mistake that lost a couple of pawns, I got a lot of counterplay and I ended up queening a pawn and checkmating him with a minute or so left on the clock.
In the third round I had White against Brian, and played into a Queen's Gambit where I castled 0-0-0 and pawn-stormed the king side. These types of positions always seem to be complex and nerve wracking, and this one was no execption. Brian defended pretty well and got three pawns for a piece while staving off the attack. Again, my opponenent was ahead a few minutes on the clock, but I forked the Exchange and emerged a rook to the good, and exected a two-rook stairstep checkmate with a minute or so left on my time.
While it's nice to win, of course, I felt a little rusty and was definitely not playing "Real Chess" on each and every move. My game needs work; months of internet blitz and mostly casual club play have taken some of my edge off.
But's that's okay; it was just great to be back in action. Many thanks to Russ and Brian for showing up to play chess on a sunny day.
I'll post the games soon. Now that the great and powerful Glenn Wilson has made Chess Flash even easier, there's no excuse not to post every game for all the world to critique. And now that I have retrived from storage my box of game scores from the last couple of decades, readers are likely see one of my "best games" from the past here on occasion. I'll probably throw in some "worst games" for amusement, as well.
As TommyG would say, "Hope everyone had a great weekend!"