Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 5th-6th made for my 6th year attending the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets. The tournament was held at the Physician's Clinic of Iowa, one of the nicest tournament locations in the state, provided by Robert Keating.  As usual, Jim Hodina organized the Leatherjackets.  This year the event was FIDE rated, and directed by arbiter Bill Broich.
Like last year, Mr. Keating provided complimentary snacks, water bottles, and hot coffee in the kitchen.  The refreshments were appreciated by all.  I played in the Open section, which had 90 30 time controls. Daniel, Charity, and Papa elected to play in the Reserve (U1600).

Board 1 was left empty in memory of Roger Gotschall, one of Iowa chess' greatest protagonists, who passed away February 28th.  Roger's death from heart problems was relatively sudden.  His funeral was held in Ames the day of the tournament.
Roger coached the Ames middle school and high school chess teams, which were the toughest teams when I was in school.  Mr. Gotschall coached some of the best players in the state.  Last time I saw him was in 2012 during a college team match, when my family played the Cyclone Chess Club.  He told us stories about his work in constructing I35.  We--and all Iowa chess--will miss him.
Chess players concentrating on their games.  Right is IASCA President Eric Vigil who skipped the first round to attend the funeral.
My first game was against Rithwik Mathur (2084) of Wisconsin.  Coincidentally, my last rated USCF game had also been against him, in round five of the Iowa Open in August.  Rithwik had played in 21 tournaments since the Iowa Open and gained a hundred rating points!  He also must have gotten a few inches taller; I didn't recognize him at first.

I technically had a draw but wasn't able to hold it.  Rithwik solidly whittled away at my position till he won.  Pairings for the next round were up about five minutes after this game (the last ongoing in round 1) was finished.  I was thankful that Mr. Broich gave me a few extra minutes to eat lunch.  Otherwise I would have been completely devoid of energy.

Losing does no good for me mentally, especially in the first round when I try my best and lose in an exhausting 85-move struggle.  I had to consciously decide to be very careful and not let my first game decide the course for the rest of my tournament.  My second opponent was Roger Kromphardt (1505). 

Mr. Kromphardt opened his castle with 15...g5, and I got a very satisfying kingside attack, picked up a few pawns, and won.  Afterward, he asked my rating.  When I told him it was 1699, he seemed very relieved.  He had noticed my sister's rating (1222), and had presumed it was my rating after glancing at the surname in the crosstables.  I was happy to have won, and he was happy not to have been upset by my sister!
Clockwise from top left: Tim Carson, Ilya Blokhin v. Richard Rector, Robert Keating v John Hartmann, Stan Felgar.
There was time to relax after the second round; I spent some time taking photos.  Charity and I played some blitz in the skittles room and chatted with our fellow chess players.  NM Pete Karagianis wrote a very nice article about the Iowa Open in Chess Life, and we all thought it was pretty awesome to see names and faces we recognized in the magazine.
My final opponent for the day was John Hartmann (1771), whom I had played in the first round of the Iowa Open. 

  I placed my pieces poorly, and by midgame my position was very cramped.  Mr. Hartmann won a pawn, but didn't fully take advantage of the situation, and I was able to equalize.  I was pretty tired by move 24, and it was getting late.  When he offered a draw, I accepted.  
We left our vehicle in the parking ramp and walked the seven blocks to our hotel.  On the way, I learned that Daniel had won the Reserve section with a perfect score!  Papa finished with 2.5/4, and Charity finished with 2/4.

After checking in and watching the Super Saturday election results and part of one of Donald Trump's victory speeches, I called it a night.  There would be two more games in the Open section on Sunday, and I needed to be prepared.
Stay tuned for Part 2!


  1. They stopped letting me play chess the last time I said "king me"

    and the bingo people always give me the evil eye when I call "bingo" on the first number.

    1. I can see the bingo ladies giving you more than just the evil eye for that one. You're lucky you didn't get clocked in the head with one of their purses.

    2. Heh! That would be frowned on! Though in the suicide chess variant (where one gives away all his/her pieces to win), promotion to a king is permitted I believe. Otherwise it wouldn't go over too well!

  2. The thought and discipline it takes to "play" chess always impresses me, Bethany! :) I admire your efforts. xx

  3. Board one was a very nice touch. I hope you were able to catch up with friends as well as play good games at this tournament.

    1. Indeed it was. It is nice how all our otb "enemies," or shall I say opponents, gradually become friends over the years (until we face each other over the 64 squares again!).

  4. You are a great person and I enjoy reading all your chess posts. I have no idea how to play this game, but very glad that you enjoying it so much :) Wishing you a Blessed Easter, Liuba x

    1. Thanks Liuba! I enjoy reading your posts as well!