Winning the first game of a chess tournament is always a good feeling. When you win, you want to build on your success and try to string along as many additional victories as you can. The theme for this tournament was to spend more time thinking on what my opponent was planning. This is a weakness of mine and I wanted to take extra time to make sure I didn’t overlook anything.
For round two, I was paired against Henry Louie. If the name sounds familiar, he was my fourth round opponent during the Washington Senior Open. I relinquished a winning position that was later drawn but, technically speaking, I was lost in the final position. In this game, I would need to be much more careful. This was a revenge chess game that I had to win.
Key points to remember:
- Chess is a game of patience. A lot of my play in this game could be considered slow or even passive. Sometimes you need to let your opponent come to you. That means not over committing and slowly maneuvering your pieces to their ideal squares. It’s like conducting combat exercises on the border of your enemy until you decide to crossover for an attack.
- Look at your opponent’s plans. Henry had some chances to expand on the queenside early on. As early as move eleven, I should have played a4. This is a typical move to gain space and restrain Black’s queenside pawn expansion. Just because he didn’t take advantage of this, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have prevented it. Always look to see what your opponent missed in the game. Defensive skills are important!
- Don’t be afraid to simplify. Trading down pieces doesn’t feel as satisfying as mating your opponent. But let’s remember that in a tournament, winning is all that counts. It doesn’t matter how you get there. I was a piece up in the middle game so trading down was the best way to realize my material advantage. Henry resigned when he realized he had no active moves. Getting your opponent to realize the position is hopeless is a credit to your defensive play.
This was my second win with four more games to go. With my revenge chess game out of the way, my next game would be against a much stronger opponent. Can I keep the winning streak alive?