Monday, April 11, 2016

Iowa Class Championships 2016

The Iowa Class Championships were held on April 2nd at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.  This tournament was held in conjunction with the state championship event, the Iowa Closed.
Originally, only my brother Daniel and I had planned to attend, but the 5K race the rest of my family was going to was cancelled/rescheduled due to forecasted high winds.  So, my sisters and Papa joined us.
Charity and Papa played in class D, my youngest sister in class C, and Daniel in class B.  I decided it would be fun to have a Carson in each class, so I switched my registration to play up a section, in the formidable halls of class A.

My first opponent was Thomas Gaul (1833).  I had played him at tournaments many times, and the last time I had played him, I drew.  So, I was hoping for a similar result (or better).

My motto for this game was from the defensive line in American football, "Push 'em back, way back!"  I was very happy with my opening and midgame, where I had a lot of space; and his pieces were cramped.  But by the endgame, Mr. Gaul's pieces  had managed to escape.

I blundered terribly on moves 30-31, miscalculating a trade and overlooking a tactic.  Mr. Gaul almost let me off the hook with his 36. Qxf4, after which, if I had traded queens, I might have survived (36. Bxf4 is correct).  Instead of trading, I went for 36...Ne5, which should have been punished by 37. Re1 with devastating effects.  Mr. Gaul went with another line.  But on move 39, I struck out with my third mistake, and was finally given the coup de grace. 
During the game, we were startled to hear a tornado siren sound again...and again...and again!  Apparently the building has a test run for the siren the first Saturday of every month! Afterward, my family and I drove to Culvers for lunch.  We returned a few minutes before 1 PM for the IASCA board meeting.

At the board meeting we listened to several reports, officers were elected, and a new website and qualifying points for the state championship event were discussed.  Thanks to the newsletter being changed to an online format, IASCA managed to stay in the black this past year.
In round 2, I was paired against Mathew Jacob (1727).  Mathew is one of the most active Iowa TDs, running tournaments on a very regular basis.

I was very happy when he opened with the Sicilian, but my opening wasn't as solid as it should have been.  Mr. Jacob blundered with 17...b4, but I missed the winning move, 19. Rxc3. 

Mr. Jacob tenaciously fought for equalization.  I thought I could win with an extra pawn on the queen side and better pawn structure on the kingside, but that proved insufficient.  The game was drawn after I eventually squandered my small advantage.

After the game, I relaxed in the foyer, reading Hearts of Fire: 8 Women in the Underground Church, a book I was given in Stephanie's teacup exchange (post about that coming up soon)!  My legs were getting tired from sitting all day, so I went outside for a few minutes to enjoy the sunshine. 
The above photos show the very spacious foyer, which served as a skittles room.  In the upper left, you can see my second opponent, Mathew Jacob, playing a blitz game against my third opponent, Edin Divanovic.  My fourth opponent, Milind Jetty, is beside Mathew, playing Gokul Thangavel.  State champion Dan Brashaw is watching the games.

The beautiful grand piano has a "Do not Touch!" sign above it.  I couldn't pass the clock without taking a picture.

Mildly put, my game against Edin Divanovic (1861) was a complete disaster, somewhat akin to fighting a forest fire with a blindfolded bucket brigade.  

I started by giving away a pawn on the third move.  Then my light-squared bishop was exiled into veritable uselessness on b3.  Greed got the best of me when I played 17. Bxa4, and Mr. Divanovic promptly picked up a piece for a pawn.  On moves 22 and 23, he gained back the pawn...plus another pawn.  Then he expertly converted his material advantage. 

After the game, Mr. Divanovic told me I had beat him the last time we played.  I couldn't remember the game, but looking through my archives, I found it here (Two years ago at the Broken Pawn U2000 tournament).  Considering I had won on an oversight, I suppose it was only appropriate that he should get as fitting a revenge as he did in this game. 
Daniel and my youngest sister, in classes B and C, were having a tough tournament as well.  Each finished with only one point.  Papa and Charity, in class D, faired better.  Papa finished with 2.5 points, and Charity tied for second place with 3 points--losing only to the class D champion!

Waiting for the final game of the day, I watched the higher boards in class A fight it out, and then did a little chess photography after the other classes started round 4.

My last opponent was Milind Jetty (1702), a young player who has been working hard on improvement.  He opened with 1. Nf3, which I'm not particularly fond of, so I played c5 and managed to get the game transposed into a Sicilian! 

 I wanted to win at least one game in the tournament, so I declined Mr. Jetty's first two draw offers.  I picked up a pawn on move 32, but he was able to win it back.  By move 45, the position was a dead draw, so I finally accepted my fate--a draw.  I won't be surprised if in a couple years Mr. Jetty is the higher-rated player  declining draw offers. 

My results were what could be expected from a player at my level, but the game quality was not.  When I lost, I lost badly.   I was happy I played up a section, so my losses had at least the dignity of being against strong players.  But the nerves of steel I mentioned working on in my post about the Leatherjackets tournament apparently decided to postpone their debut.  Regardless, it was good to spend time with my family, play my favorite game, and see all the awesome people who make up the Iowa chess community. 

Congrats to Dan Brashaw on defending his title as State Chess Champion!  Congratulations to Thomas Gaul, John Herr, and Michael Takahashi in Class A; Nathan Chen in Class B; Harry Le and Jacob Uptain in Class C; and Jason Jackson in Class D.  Thanks to Mark Capron and Eric Vigil for another great tournament!

18 comments:

  1. Hello, sounds like a fun experience even if your lost. It is fun to be around the chess community and playing a game you really enjoy. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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  2. The local sirens go off the first saturday of the month here too

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    1. The sirens were a bit disturbing during the chess tournament, but I guess we should be glad to know they work!

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  3. I admire your perseverance with Chess!

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    1. It's a game I really enjoy playing (you probably can tell). ;)

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  4. A memorable tournament not just for the games played, but for the repeated tornado siren! I enjoyed seeing the unique clock as well. xx

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    1. If I started a collection of anything besides greeting cards and stamps, it would probably be clocks. I admire nice-looking clocks wherever I see them--but the idea of having to dust them all stops me from picking up *too* many at the thrift store.

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  5. Good for you for playing up a section! Sounds to me like you did pretty good for your first time in A's!

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    1. It was good to get the experience. The first time at anything, a person should not be surprised to lose...hopefully I will do better next time. :)

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  6. Beth, you are a genius hehehe You doing great job! Best luck darling!!! Liuba x

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    1. I am convinced that even if I lost every game in a tournament, my dear commenters would tell me to keep up the good work. You are such nice, encouraging people. :) Thanks for stopping by, Liuba.

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  7. I'm always intrigued by your chess posts Bethany. I feel like I'm reading a foreign language - but yet I can't stop reading where the outcome leads. Lol

    I think a day using your brain so well, and having good competitors, (win or lose) is a very worth while day. ;)

    xoxo

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    1. I agree. :) Thanks for reading, Carrie!

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  8. You are a modern day Bobby Fischer :) I think that was his name, right? The chess prodigy, I mean.

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    1. Yep, though I hope you are referencing his genius, not his later mental instability. ;) It's strange (and sad) how so many geniuses end up a bit crazy, but he was a great chess player.

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  9. It's funny how our legs can get tired from sitting all day. So true.

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