I’ve spent about 17 and a half hours on chess this week, with playing at the London Classic taking up most of that time. I’ve also spent a bit of time looking at the opening repertoires of some Grandmasters who interest me, and I played round 2 of the Durham City Club Championships on Wednesday, which I won.
The London Classic started inauspiciously, with an otherwise decently-played game being ruined by a last-move-of-the-time-control blunder. I don’t usually like to make excuses for my performance, but I had an upset stomach during this game which used up some of my clock time and I think can fairly take a small part of the blame for my eventual demise.
I played pretty horribly in the next two games, losing both deservedly to Tony Wells (183) and Jasper Tambini (168), the latter gaining revenge for my victory over him at last year’s London Junior Chess Championships.
I managed to pull myself together the next morning, and played a good game against David Morris (176) almost up to the point of victory, but missed a perpetual in the time scramble at the end and had to concede a draw. With a measly half point from four games I was given a bye in the final round, so I asked whether there was anyone in need of a repairing who I could play. Arbiter Lara Barnes suggested I play in the last three rounds of the Open section of the rapidplay instead, which gave me a welcome opportunity to redeem myself.
I won a game against a hard-fighting youngster in the first of these games, and then managed to draw the second against a 180 despite turning up 10 minutes late due to a misunderstanding about the round times. In the final round I was paired against International Master Gavin Wall, and managed to win my first ever tournament game against a titled player! I was defending a cramped and passive position for most of the game, but stayed fairly level on the clock and hung on until we were both in time trouble, when a desperate counterattack proved successful. Here’s the game: