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Giving Thanks That It's Over

[imagefield_assist|fid=8580|preset=fullsize|lightbox=true|title=Selden Trimble, left, had a tough first-round opponent in Resident GM Ben Finegold.|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=375|height=250]The Thanksgiving Open was quite a strong event, with 9 GMs (including powerhouses Nigel Short, Alex Onischuk, and Yury Shulman) and a few IMs to boot.  Unfortunately, we only had about 140 participants, but what we lacked in attendance, we made up for in strength.

I had a bad tournament (what else is new) losing to Ron Luther in round 1, then getting crushed by Bob Holliman in round 2! Oh wait, that was a nightmare I had once, 'never-mind' (say that with the Rosanne Rosana Dana voice). In reality, I scored 4-2 winning 4 and losing 2 (unusual for me in an open tournament, to have 2 losses and no draws!).

There was a four-way tie for first place, but, if you are reading this then you already know who won, who was there, and all that good, let's look at my debac...uh, games!

Round 1 was a pretty standard affair. I played down over 600 rating points and won quite smoothly. I played the Chigorin QGD with black, and my opponent, Selden Trimble, made an early mistake with 8.Bxd4 instead of the usual 8.Ne2! I won an ending with 2 extra pawns, not too difficult.


Round 2 was similar, as I was paired with the youngster Daniel Gurevich. I got out of theory early (always a good idea against a young player) and sacrificed a pawn very early with the Smith-Morraesque 5.Bc4?! Daniel did not take the offered pawn, and instead we got into a positional battle. The game was about equal, then Daniel played some bad moves, 16...Nxe3(?) and 18...bxc6(?) and lost without much of a fight.


Round 3 was tough (especially for me!) as I lost to a new Texas Tech student, IM Istvan Sipos from Hungary. I got a good position with black, then played the terrible 20..Rfb8(?) allowing my opponent to get his knight to c5. I played badly in time trouble, was completely losing, then probably had good drawing chances, but eventually succumbed.


Round 4 was better, as I was white against another youngster, Adarsh (Stan Marsh?) Jayakumar. I beat Adarsh earlier this year in Chicago, in a long bishops of opposite color ending. This game went in a different direction, as I started a strong king-side attack, and eventually crashed through to victory.


I lost again in round 5, this time to WGM Sabina Foisor, and again my play in time trouble was suspect! Those of you who read my blog regularly may remember I drew Sabina's mother earlier this year in Las Vegas at the National Open. I made several errors with less than 5 minutes, leading to my demise. Earlier, Sabina and I were repeating the position, but I felt 4.5 points would win no money, so I tried too hard to win. As Homer once said: "Trying is the first step to failure..."


I won an odd game in round 6, against Saint Louis youngster (did I really have three white's against three teenagers? Are two of them even 13 yet?) Jialin Ding. The game started out a lot like my round 4 game with Adarsh, but I tried Kasparov's 6.Bb5+ instead of the move 6.Re1 which I played in round 4. I got a small edge, but nothing special. I made a couple of inaccuracies (18.Nd5 and 29.Nd6) and was worse all of a sudden! Then Jialin, who had less than 20 minutes on his clock, played some bad moves, and lost to my advancing "h" pawn.


All in all, I am happy that I had no draws, but I am still making too many errors (especially in time trouble). I am also happy that I seem to be scoring well the last three months with 1.e4, which I have been afraid to play for many years, but decided to bite the bullet in 2010. Maybe 2011 will see better results for yours truly?