Its been a while & I was definitely struggling for a while, but I finally managed a win in a tournament game (my first since June - albeit that that was when I last played a tournament game, but that's not the point). My game against Justin Penrose had quite a few twists & turns. I decided to deviate from my 'standard' 1...g6 as black & played 1...e5, mainly because I knew Justin played the Ruy Lopez as white & I am reasonably comfortable playing either side in that opening. I decided to play the Berlin Defense (3...Nf6), although I was probably not going to play it in the 'usual' manner as seen in the Kasparov-Kramnik match in 2000. Anyway, after Justin played 4.Qe2, I was out of any sort of theoretical knowledge I may have had of the position & just had to play chess. Although I didn't think my position was that bad, the silicon monster didn't like my 14...Na7 or 16...Nh7, in spite of their aesthetic symmetry & thought white had the better position for a decent part of the middlegame. Although I wasn't convinced that 17...f5 was the best move in the position, it seemed like the obvious pawn break to make & I didn't want to wait for Ng3, which would have further hindered any plans of expansion I may have had. Ultimately its a blunder that should leave me with a worse position, although apparently I had a few opportunities to play a timely Ra8, which would have neutralised some of that advantage. Justin held the advantage until he played the seemingly natural recapture 37.Qxf5 (Bxf5 was better), which allowed me to play 37...e4 & start to turn the game around. Ultimately it was the combination of playing R1a6 & Bb3 that left Justin with problems in the centre & on the back rank, which I was able to convert into a win.
In other games, Mirko Rujevic has taken a temporary lead in division A after beating Karl Zelesco (with the help of the 'get out of jail free' card after getting into trouble in the opening), moving to 2.5/3, joining Justin Tan in the lead, although James Morris is on 2/2 with a game in hand.
David Beaumont continues to find ways to win from difficult positions & leads division B with 3/3. Peter Fry has taken the sole lead in division C after beating Jack Puccini in a tactical struggle to move to 2.5/3. Gary Bekker beat Anthony Harris to take the outright lead in division D with 3/3, while Michael Hain won again to keep his lead in division E with 3/3.
Results from last night's games are on ChessChat.