So I finally decided to play in a chess tournament ... or perhaps it was that I managed to arrange a weekend off coaching! Either way, I played in the Best in the West event last weekend & played reasonably well in what was a very successful event.
I finished with 3.5/5, behind winner GM Hrant Melkumyan (who scored 5/5), runner-up FM Chris Wallis (4.5/5) & a host of players who tied for third on 4/5.
I decided to try something different & play 'real' openings, at least as black, which had varying degrees of success. Of course one thing I did notice was a problem was not actually knowing enough theory to confidently play some lines (particularly in the first round when I faced the Russian variation of the Grunfeld Defense & couldn't think of how to continue after Qxc4, and subsequently played a non-theoretical move), although it worked out OK in the end.
The only real disappointment of the tournament was the finish to my game against Sylvester Urban - I felt I played the opening & middle game well & achieved what probably should have been a winning position, however I failed to convert this position into a win. Of course part of the dilemma with trying to figure out where I went wrong is that the Fritz engine that I have is notoriously inaccurate with endgames, while the various endgame books that I have skimmed since the game only consider 'bishop endings' as being one bishop & pawn(s) v bishop & pawn(s). I suppose the position that I found myself in, with both players having two bishops & two pawns is that it doesn't get classified as an endgame if you are using a piece-count definition as the various Nalimov-like tablebases do, with 10 pieces still on the board.
I've also included a few photos taken by Ved Bhat during the tournament - its been a while since I've seen 'action' shots of myself at a chess board! Thanks for the great photos Ved!
Given that I was reasonably happy with all five of my games from the weekend, I've decided to post them all here, so it may make the page a little slow to load, but hopefully it will be worthwhile looking through the games for those interested.