Sunday, 11 October 2009

Winterthur Tournament Part 2

The tournament has come to an end and I'm flying home tomorrow. GM Ulybin won it as expected. Simon got 5.5 out of 9 and ended up just outside the prizes. I expected to get a better result than I did, but at the end only got 2.5 out of 9 and lost 11 rating points. It's not a major disaster and all part of the learning experience. I do feel that I'm playing better than 2 months ago, so just have to keep learning and practicing. This was an interesting tournament for me from the openings perspective because several times I was made to play variations that I haven't played in years. I had one particularly interesting game where I lost a piece for 2 pawns but had a big compensation. Apparently, my opponent prepared that far before the game and failed to correctly assess his position. I was close to winning that game but it ended up as a draw. I will publish it on my blog once I had a chance to annotate it.

On Thursday I woke up feeling very unwell, so much so that I wasn't sure I'd be able to play a game that day. I felt so dizzy as if I was on a boat with 10 foot waves. And no, it wasn't alcohol-related! I get this dizziness sometimes and have no idea what causes it. Thankfully, I was feeling a bit better by the afternoon and Simon did a very good job of preparing me against 5.e4 gambit in the Slav. After 14 moves by the book I could see that my opponent wasn't sure what he was doing, so being a pawn up I offered a draw which was accepted. If I was feeling better I would have definitely played for a win there.

The next day it was Simon's turn to be ill. He might have got some food poisoning, though we were not sure where from. This meant that I had to go to the chocolate shop on my own without Simon as the translator. I was a bit worried, as not many people speak English here and my German is non-existent. But it all worked out fine and I ended up with lots of chocolate that tasted totally out of this world!

On that day I played a game against a very annoying player. He often wasn't writing his moves and I was getting really fed up with telling him to do that before he pressed his clock. Once he didn't write about 5 moves on the row! The arbiter got involved at some point and one of the FIDE rules was brought to my attention. Apparently, if I make a move, my opponent doesn't have to write it down until he made his move and pressed the clock. Can anyone explain to me the reasoning behind having this rule? All chess players are taught to write moves as soon as they are made, doing it any other way gives an option to unsportsmanlike chess players to play stupid psychological games, especially in their opponent's time trouble. Of course, tricks like that shouldn't affect me, but I'm human after all. I lost the game after something like 107 moves - I bet he was exhausted from all that writing by then!
On the final note, I'd like to say big thank you to the organisers. The tournament was organised very well and all the hotel staff where we lived and played were very friendly. The organisers gave me a very nice present - big book about Switzerland with lots of photos. It will remind me of all the lovely cheese and chocolate that I've had here and many beautiful places that I'll have to see some other time. Simon and I are going to see Zurich tomorrow before the flight home and we hope it won't rain like today. I'm off to St. Petersburg on Wednesday and will update you on my chess from there.


Unknown said...

I also played this tournament. My results were worst than expected. Anyway I spent a great time at Winterthur. I hope to take part of it next year again.

The organizers, the city, the enviornment.... everything was perfect!


Maria Yurenok said...

Good luck with it next year, Alvaro! I won't be going as I'll be back to work and won't have as much time to spare on chess tournaments.