Kavala Open, part 1

In August I played my first long tournament since last year’s Major Open, in sunny Kavala.  Kavala is a seaside town in eastern Greece, where the attractive beaches compete with the chessboard for players’ attention.  Fortunately, although my morning preparation may have suffered a little, they did not manage to prevent me from turning up at the board.

My preparation for the first round was sub-optimal, to put it mildly.  My Gatwick to Barcelona flight was delayed, which meant that I missed my connection to Thessaloniki.  Instead of putting me on the next direct flight, Vueling elected to send me first to Rome, then to Athens, and finally to Thessaloniki, which resulted in me reaching Kavala at around 2 am on the day of the first game, after a hellish 40-hour journey.  I was paired with an International Master, and after getting slightly the better of the opening, I miscalculated and lost quickly.

Round two saw me paired with an 1806-rated junior; always an unpredictable proposition, as they can easily be a couple of hundred points stronger than their published rating.  Despite still being tired, I played reasonably well and had good winning chances, but didn’t take them and only managed to draw.  The second day featured a double round, so after the long morning game I had to play again in the afternoon.  This did not go well, as can be seen below:

In Swiss tournaments, it can be very difficult to to put a bad start like this behind you.  I tried hard to come unaffected to the next game, but made a few questionable decisions at the board and shortly before the time control found myself close to defeat against another 1800 player.  Had I gone on to lose this game the entire tournament could well have been a disaster, but fortune smiled on me, and after hanging on grimly for a few moves my opponent blundered on move 41, handing me my first full point.  This buoyed my spirits considerably, and the following day I returned and played the following nice attacking game:
A report on the second half of the tournament will follow.  In the meantime, please comment below to let me know your thoughts on the first half.

4 thoughts on “Kavala Open, part 1

  1. Nice little report! This analysis of your opponent seemed quite impressive, did you analyze all his games or talk to his psychologist or something? 😀
    “I had observed before the game that my opponent was well booked-up, but not a particularly confident or ambitious player if he did not get his preparation on the board.”

  2. Good analysis of the games. Please accept my congratulations about that.

    Yes, 5…Qe5 was in my preparation. Actually it wasn’t my move. One IM suggest it to me. The idea is to force the knight go on e2 and not on f3. It is more: “blitz” move and not so serious. I stopped analyze openings with this IM so I guess that it will help the improvement of my openings. 🙂

    On move 14 I lost my objectivity. I let you make the exchange sacrifice because I didn’t see anything in your attack. It is a dangerous decision in any case. Moreover I missed the move 18.Qg4! After that everything is finished.

    I play badly on this game. Congratulations for your win.

    In any case good luck with your website!

    Aggelos Kesaris

    1. Hi Aggelos,

      Ah, I see. I wasn’t too concerned about putting my knight on e2 as that’s where I was intending to put it anyway, to follow up with f4-f5.

      I don’t think you played that badly; the opening was difficult, and there was only one clear chance to get back into it (move 14) that you missed.

      Anyway, thanks again for the game and for your comment, and best of luck in your future games.


Leave a Reply