Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2014

Saturday, Papa and I attended the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets chess tournament for the fourth time. We always enjoy the Leatherjackets tournament and decided to make the 80-mile drive, provided driving conditions were good (or at least tolerable) on the day of the tournament. Saturday morning dawned and I--almost regretfully--bid farewell to a felicitous repose.  We took our leave of our dear family, and started on our journey.

The local roads were passable, but not in very good condition.  Papa stopped at a nearby gas station to fill up the tank, and I went in to the convenience store to pick up some chewing gum and a couple donuts for breakfast.  
Since it was quite early, the donuts were very fresh.  The one above was filled with cream cheese and apple pie filling (very delicious)!  Thankfully, the highway was in good condition except in the Waterloo area where there were several cars in the ditches.  On one exit ramp there were 3 cars in the ditch.  

I read the first two chapters of Mark about the beginning of Jesus' ministry and his first miracle.  The verses that really stand out to me are about the men who had a friend who was sick of the palsy.  When they couldn't reach Jesus because of the crowd they climbed onto the roof and lowered their friend into the house to Jesus and he was healed!  Now, that's what I call faith and determination!  It's something we need in life if we're going to get anything done.  As a hero in one of Longfellow's poems said, "I'll find a way or make it."

We reached the Physician's Clinic in Cedar Rapids, parked in the parking ramp, and took the skywalk into the clinic.  We registered and greeted a few of our fellow chess players.

I played a practice game with Ana Denison, the 4th highest rated female chess player in the state (of active tournament participants).  Ana beat me last time I played her; this time we had a very tough game though I did manage to pull through a win. I was worried that by the end we'd both be worn out instead of warmed up for the tournament!  After the game, we played bughouse with a couple other players while we waited for the start of the first round.  

My first opponent, Christopher Huber (1300), was returning to tournament chess after a 14-year hiatus.  I played my beloved Sicilian Dragon as black, was able to cause his misplaced rook discomfort, and eventually won.


Papa was on board 2 playing Steve Jacobs.  They both had a rook and several pawns.  Steve had about 5 minutes left and Papa had about 1 minute when I started watching.  A few moves later, Papa took a relatively long time thinking and I was holding my breath, hoping he'd notice the clock!  He made his move and hit the clock with 1 second remaining.  The rest of the game Papa played solely on the 5 second delay.  It was very exciting for observers, but obviously stressful for the players (Steve ended up with less than a minute as well).  After an epic battle, Papa emerged victorious. 
 
It was time for our lunch break, so we walked out to the van to get the cookies and sandwiches Mama had packed for us.  We sat on a comfortable bench in the skywalk and enjoyed our meal; then we hurried back, just in time for the second round. 
 
This time I found myself facing Daniel Johnson (1374).  I have played Daniel and his father Robert in tournaments several times throughout the years; and we've always had interesting, hard-fought battles.  This time I gained a pawn in the opening, but had a bit of a struggle holding on to it.  Still I felt like I held my position together well and kept his position under pressure until he made a mistake in the end. 
 



When I looked at the game afterwards it was shocking how many times I missed good moves because I was afraid of losing a pawn or unable to look beyond the obvious to see the opportunities I was missing.  I know what to work on before the next tournament!
 
Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2014: Part 2 will be posted soon!

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