Thursday, December 2, 2010
I'm Still an Expert...Barely
Last weekend I played in a three-day, nine-round event at the North Shore Chess Center. After the first two days, I had 1 win, 2 losses, and 3 draws and I was confident that when the tournament was over my rating would dip below 2000 for the first time since 2006. It's only a number, but it is fun to be able to say that I am an "expert" chess player. As fate would have it, having resigned myself to being a Class A player again, I won all three games on the last day of the event to finish with 4 wins, 2 losses, and 3 draws and a rating of 2006.
I really have to work on my endgames. Twice I offered draws in positions where I held a material advantage because I was unable to figure out a plan to win. In the first round, I reached the following position against Aakaash Meduri, a junior at Hinsdale Central with a rating of 2010.
I was fairly low on time at this point and I could not figure out how to convert my material advantage into a win. I cannot win the b-pawn and if I bring my rook over to capture the g-pawn, Black can simply play ...Bxh3. I thought there should be some way to make progress, but I could not figure out how. It appears to me now that my goal is to try to reach a position where after I play Rxg5, I can follow up Black's ...Bxh3 with Rg7 so that rook attacks the b-pawn and prevents Black from protecting it with Bg2. How I go about accomplishing this isn't entirely clear to me. In the game, I played 55.h4 gxh4 56.Kxh4 and offered a draw.
I also accepted a draw in the following position against Paul Seet.
At the board, I couldn't decide whether Black's passed pawns offset his material deficit and exposed king so I accepted the draw when Paul offered it. I'm still not sure about the position.
If I am going to remain an Expert, I am going to have to improve my endgame technique.