After reading a chapter from the Bible, I settled back and enjoyed the scenery along the way. There were five very impressive stacks of corn stalk bales. The large rectangular shape of the bales indicates they will be used by an ethanol plant. Most farmers in the area feed their cattle with large round bales.
I ate breakfast on the way; we arrived at the meeting room of Dahl's Foods in Clive, IA just in time for the tournament.
My first game was against Steve Jacobs (1456) who was Iowa Reserve co-champion with my papa, Tim Carson, in 2013. The game developed into a much more closed position than I am used to playing. Eventually, however, I was able to trade a not-so-active bishop for 3 pawns, and after a queen trade, those pawns served me well.
I carelessly overlooked 48. Nxb3 and lost one of the pawns, but the others valiantly continued the march. It was an interesting and fun game. On the board beside mine, Papa was playing Jim Freerksen (1752). It was a tough game, but Jim managed to get a one--and then two--pawn lead, and eventually won.
I had barely finished half the pie--and hadn't started on the croissant yet--when it was time for the second round. This time I was paired against Austin Scharoch (1474). I figured it would be a tough game, but thought I could manage a win. Sadly (for me), I was wrong.
I won the exchange early in the game, but made a big mistake on move 24. gxf3 when I exposed my king (24. g3 was correct). However, Austin did not immediately exploit the error to the fullest, and I could have rescued myself with 27. Qb3, preparing Qb8+. After 27. Rg3, I was a gonner.
After his initial blunder (was it designed to make me overconfident?), Austin played skillfully, and the win was well-deserved. I learned never to underestimate an opponent, even when I'm 200 points higher rated and up an exchange. It's never wise to sit back and relax until *after* the game.
The next round I played Bill Broich (1523), one of the TDs and an IASCA board member. I have played Bill several times, but have never forgotten losing to him at the Des Moines Open in 2007. One thing I have learned is never to let my guard down playing him. Considering my fate in the second round, I determined to stay on the qui vive.On move 14 I won the exchange. The rest of the game I was rather nervous, as I knew I had to be careful not to let this game be a repeat of round 2. Fortunately I was able to pull through. The third round proved to be a good round for Papa as well.
In the final round I played Mark Kende (1800). Toward the beginning of the endgame he offered a draw, but I had considerably more time left on my clock and thought I had the better chances of making it out alive.
I blundered with 30...Qb2, responding to the phantom (or at least not-yet-existent) threat of Rh1. Better would have been 30...Be4 when I should have been able to hold a draw (31. Rh1 Bxf3 32. Kxf3 Qd4). The lesson I learned? Don't anticipate your opponent's every whim by responding to phantom threats!
After chatting with a few of our fellow chess players, we headed for home. Many thanks to tournament directors Mathew Jacob and Bill Broich, and congrats to Tom Hesse who finished in first place. It was an enjoyable tournament, and I'm glad I could participate.
Linking with: Our World Tuesday.
“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.” --Longfellow
What "phantom threats" have you faced in life?
How do you counter (often unnecessary) worry?
What kind of hay bales are most common in your area?