A week or two before Conference, Robert asked me whether I thought he should play Bird's Opening (1. f4) against Matt Wilber in the tournament. My natural reaction was that he should stick to the openings that he is comfortable with rather than choosing his opening based on the strength of his opponent. However, he beat me with it in practice so I certainly wasn't inclined to press the point.
In their regular season game, Matt had played very quietly and patiently until Robert grew frustrated and made a mistake, however, in this game Matt played an impulsive knight sacrifice on his 15th move. He may have felt he had to play more aggressively for a win because Buffalo Grove was missing several of its regular players on the lower boards, however Robert invested the time necessary to find the strongest response leaving Matt down a knight with little to show for it.
After gaining a material advantage, Robert played a bit too conservatively allowing Matt to generate some attacking chances, but Robert defended carefully and brought home the point.