Week beginning 6th of February
On Wednesday I had a match against Ken Neat to decide the leader in the club championships. As pointed out in a comment on my last report, Ken is a legendary translator of Russian chess books, and is responsible for, to give a recent example, Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors series. He’s also a very strong player, having achieved a rating over 2300 in the past and still playing near that level. A few weeks ago he drew with IM Jonathan Hawkins (=2nd in the last British Championships) in a local league game. I felt that my best chance of beating him was to be on the attack in his time trouble, and so made the risky decision to surprise him with the Budapest Gambit. This backfired almost immediately when Ken chose an offbeat line I wasn’t aware of, and I quickly became the one in time trouble and on the defensive.
Including Budapest preparation, the match with Ken, and a bit of other opening work, I did nearly 7 hours of chess work over the course of the week.
Week beginning 13th of February
I only did a little over 2 hours of chess in this week, consisting of online games and a quick analysis of the openings. (It was a busy week with uni work, as regrettably they all will be from now on until my finals are over.)
Week beginning 20th of February
This week we took a Durham University team to the British Universities’ Chess Championship in High Wycombe. We had (new-to-Durham) Callum Kilpatrick on board 1, who has an ECF grade of 224 and a GM norm, and high hopes of doing well. Unfortunately none of us performed as well as we’d have liked, and all apart from Callum scored under 50% (although we tended to score points at the right moments, leading to a team performance of 50% on match points).
Personally, I found the time control of 60 minutes plus 10 seconds increment difficult to adjust to, and suffered from chronic time trouble in every game. I won my first and last games, but lost the middle three despite having a winning position in two of them. I’d like to show my game against Clement Sreeves (rated 2209 FIDE, and something of a GM killer, having beaten both Nick Pert and Daniele Vocaturo last year). Clement won the board 4 prize, and his team, Edinburgh, went on to win overall after whitewashing us.
Overall I did about 13 and a quarter hours this week – most of that was BUCA games and post-mortem analysis, but I also played a little online blitz.