Our rooms were on the tenth floor, and we had a beautiful view of the city. Before we went to sleep, we took the elevator up to the restaurant on the 16th floor to look out the windows and satisfy our altophilia.
Generally, I can't stand hotel pillows, so I carry in my own pillow. Doubletree's pillows were more comfortable than my own! I slept soundly till about 5:33 A.M. when Charity said, "Bethany, there's a train!" Sure enough, a train was going right by the hotel. I dozed off again until a more decent hour.
I would still rate the hotel higher than Best Western or the Marriott. We had a very pleasant stay.
We went through the McDonald's drive-thru for breakfast, and arrived just in time for Sunday morning's round 4. I was paired against Michael Mills (1602) of Nebraska.
|From top left, clockwise: The tournament room Sunday, James Neal, Luis Peralta v Shawn Kmetz.|
I had never played Mr. Mills before, but I had run into him between rounds of the Iowa Open in August while I was photographing flowers outside the Marriott. Mr. Mills had recommended photographing the dead blossoms because "everyone else photographs the living ones!" So, I thought a game against him would be pretty interesting.
I made a mistake with 7. Bf4, and Mr. Mills was able to pick up a pawn. It seemed like he had a penchant for trading pieces, so I walked over to the wall chart to check his rating. Trading often results in a draw, which is ok against a higher-rated player; but considering I was higher rated, I decided I better find a way to win!
He blundered with 13...b6, but I totally missed that I could have picked up a free rook. I got a nice position around move 25, but missed the best move 26. d6+. I did win an exchange--minus a pawn, which probably should have been drawn. But I felt good about the position. He made a mistake with 42...f5 and resigned.
After lunch, Eric Vigil brought his family over for a Carson v. Vigil match with the rest of my family--who were patiently waiting for my Sunday games to finish.
In the final round, I played James Hodina (1959), whom I had lost to in the 2015 Leatherjackets.
Mr. Hodina played the Sicilian, which is my favorite opening, so I was comfortable with the game to start with. Unfortunately though, I didn't get to develop well and ended up with an awkwardly uncastled king. But, according to Houdini, the game stayed consistently between +1 and -1.
The endgame was a little crazy. On move 47. Mr. Hodina offered a draw. My calculations rendered the position pretty even. My nerves were shot, so I agreed to the draw, instead of playing the position out. Afterward, a spectator said he thought I had the position won, but Crafty gives +0.99 and Houdini gives +0.47; so although I may have had a slight advantage, I think the draw was justified considering my mental state and the fact I was playing a stronger opponent, who may have performed better than I under time pressure. But....I am working on nerves of steel for the next tournament!
|Tournament organizer James Hodina and TD Bill Broich.|
Congrats to Dan Brashaw, Robert Keating, and Rithwik Mathur for winning the Open Section with four points each, and congratulations to Daniel Carson for winning the Reserve!
Thanks to James Hodina, Bill Broich, and Robert Keating for organizing, directing, and hosting this great tournament, and thanks to all my fellow chess players who make this one of Iowa's funnest chess tournaments!
Many thanks to Charity Carson for most of the photos in this post!