Monday, 21 September 2009

Uxbridge Congress

It's been quiet on my blog, because I've been playing in the Uxbridge Congress Open for the last 3 days. It was very well organised and I would recommend it to anyone. I guess I also enjoyed myself because I did quite well: 3 out of 5 with 2139 FIDE rating performance and without losing any games. Plus I gained 16 rating points :) I'm especially happy that I managed to do well despite rather fast time limit for my liking: 1:30hr for the whole game plus 30 second increment after each move. It seems that playing in the rapidplay last week definitely helped me to manage my time in this tournament. Here is a photo of me taken by Sean Hewitt - the tournament organiser:

Maria Yurenok

Apart from the first round which I won, all my opponents were 150-200 rating points higher than me and I drew against them all! Unfortunately, I was unable to convert my pawn advantage in two of them. In round one (Friday evening) I was relieved to win against a little boy. Those juniors can be quite dangerous and significantly under-rated. In fact, later in the tournament he performed 200 points higher than his current rating. In round two (Saturday morning) I just couldn't win in the rook ending with a pawn up. It must have been winning, but it's so hard to find the right moves playing on the increment! In the afternoon I had a headache and was tired. I was white and managed to lead a straightforward game which suited the way I felt. It was the most boring game of the whole tournament, but then I was glad to finish it in under two hours and have a couple of hours sleep before dinner.

The next day I was losing my morning game with black. My opponent played a move I haven't come across in the Slav, so that got me thinking. Later I lost a pawn in the middlegame, but managed to convert it into a rook ending which I believe was also lost. I was two pawns down at some point, but somehow managed to draw while playing on the increment. My hands were shaking for a while after the game finished - all that nervous energy and excitement had to go somewhere, right?

In the afternoon I was a bit concerned my brain wasn't working as clearly as I wanted to, because I started catching myself on missing simple tactics. So I offered a draw in what I thought was a better position for me. However, my opponent declined. But a couple of moves later he gave up a bishop for a knight and then he lost a pawn. Now I was playing for a win! Unexpectedly, my opponent turned out to have some strange compensation and the draw was agreed a few moves later. I must have misplayed it somewhere, so need to analyse the game.

This tournament once again showed that I need to learn to convert my advantage. Hmm, this subject is almost as wide as trying to learn the meaning of the universe. Here you can see the Uxbridge Congress tournament table. By the way, Golders Green Rapidplay tournament table has also just been published and my performance was 168 ECF - about what I expected. No time to rest for me, as I'm going to the Stereophonics gig tomorrow evening after work!! Looks like Tuesday evening will be taken up by sleeping to recover from all that chess and music.

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