Last night was the third and concluding night for the Ryde-Eastwood Rapids (we play 3 rounds each at 25 min controls). My brother-in-law Steven participated as well.
I'll give a quick recap of the previous 2 nights.
The first night (2 weeks ago) went:
Valenzuela (1184) 0-1 Me
My game against Valenzuela was a Ruy Lopez - Breyer Variation. Valenzuela in time trouble, was most unlucky to have gotten lost in the complications that followed.
Me 1-0 Gletsos (1817)
Bill Gletsos is a very strong opponent and having been on the receiving end of Bill before, I knew this was always going to be tough. We started in an English but in the complications that followed, Bill unfortunately, misjudged the resulting position, allowing my Knights to dominate the board. He lost a Rook for a Knight and we simply traded everything off the board to reach a winning endgame. Bill, to his credit, put up a very good fight.
Kuru (1603) 1-0 Me
My game against Kuru was inexplicable. I had started to calculate some very deep lines in an Open Sicilian and after checking and rechecking, I made a move only to discover a split second later, to my horror, that I played it in the wrong move order and left my Knight en-prise! It was pretty much game over.
The night had started well for me. But the last game was an absolute disaster and one I should have been more careful. Little did I know that the next week's game would turn into a horror show.
In the 2nd night of the Rapids (last week's games), I went badly astray.
Me 0-1 Hill
Of particular note were 2 very bad games. In my first game against Hill (an Exchange French), I was crushed and wiped off the board in 20 moves! It had a profound effect on me because I was playing stupid moves throughout the entire game.
Muller (1453) 0.5-0.5 Me
The defeat by Hill had an effect on me. And my poor play crept into my 2nd game of the night against Muller which was a Queen's Gambit Declined. I had inadvertently (again!) left a piece en-prise but managed to claw back a draw in a frantic time-scramble. I had the better position but Muller was able to give me perpetual check. I definitely got left off the hook.
Me 1-0 Williams (1411)
My final game against Williams on that night brought some semblance of order back into my game and .... I got lucky. I positionally squeezed out Williams in an R+5P v R+5P endgame (arising from a Ruy Lopez Classical Steinitz - I think ) but had a more active Rook and King and it proved decisive. After having to defend for quite some time, Williams sadly miscalculated and lost a vital central pawn that was holding his position together. He resigned on the next move.
Overall Result: +3-2=1
So before the start of last night, I was languishing at the halfway line of the pack with a somewhat lacklustre 3.5/6 peformance. I knew I could play better and was determined to try to turn last week's disappointing performance around.
Cardenas (1437) 0-1 Me
My first game was against Egon Cardenas. Egon had deservedly beaten me in a classical game in last year's Grade Matches. This time round, playing as Black, we got into a Nimzo-Indian and I exchanged the c3-Knight with my Black bishop causing a doubling of his pawns on the c-file. A slip by Egon was to be proven most unfortunate. I quickly gained the initiative and overpowered the center with a huge pawn majority. Egon to his credit, fought back bravely but there was no stopping the central pawn march. We traded off pieces into a N+R+5P v R+P endgame. Egon's active Rook was constantly harassing my pieces but in time trouble, he miscalculated and I managed to trade off his Rook. He resigned.
Me 1-0 Calixto
Calixto is a relatively new player to the club. He is from the Phillippines. The Filipinos in Australia (especially in Sydney) are extremely strong chess players (class A and above usually). In fact, our very own, the Closet Grandmaster, Amiel is one of them. Calixto soundly beat my brother-in-law last week (I've seldom see Steven getting crushed like this) so I knew it would be a very tough fight. There was also added pressure. At that stage, Calixto was tied with my brother-in-law Steven at 6 points each. So I knew Calixto would also be trying his best to beat me. We got into a very odd version of the Caro-Kann Opening which resembled more of a Pirc in the end. It was indeed quite a hairy game. If you give Calixo a sniff of opportunity, he will spot it. So I was very very careful to play solidly and playing for tactics. I had manage to confine his Rook to the 8th rank and behind a closed file while he was trying hard to coordinate his pieces. In time trouble, Calixo unfortunately, in his eagerness to win a Rook, walked into mate.
Liu (1817) 0.5-0.5 Me
My final game was against my brother-in-law Steven(!). We got into a Symmetrical 4 Knights Opening, and after many pieces were exchanged, the resulting position looked very sterile (Black may have a slight edge but it's very very slight). He offered a draw and there was no reason for me not to take it. After the game, he commented that he will never play such an opening again because it totally didn't suit his playing style at all. Hehe.
Overall Result: +5-2=2
So I finally stopped my poor run of form and finished with a slightly more respectable 6/9 score in the end. My brother-in-law Steven finished clear first with a fantastic 7.5/9 performance.
Finally, my many thanks must go to Bill Gletsos for helping to arrange the games and for maintaining semblance of order during our games and for helping out with arbitration (in spite of him having to play as well).
The complete final results table is as follows: