Friday, May 27, 2016

Iowa Open Chess Tournament 2015 - Part 2

Best Western Cantebury Inn and Suites turned out to be an older hotel, so accommodations were not comparable with those we enjoyed at the Cedar Rapids Best Western.  But, regardless, I was pleasantly impressed.  I booked the room weeks in advance...and they gave us the most spacious room on the first floor!
Clockwise from top left: Sign in Best Western room, BW room, stairway at the Marriot, BW continental breakfast.
It's not often I book a 2 queen-bed room and get a couch as well (not pictured).  It was also very nice to start the day with a complimentary continental breakfast (a standard at Best Western).  Last year we stayed at the Marriott, but ended up driving around town to a McDonalds for breakfast. 

One unusual addition to the room was a sign which read:
"Due to the popularity of our guest room amenities, our Housekeeping department now offers these items for sale:  Alarm Clocks $25, Coffee Maker $50, Hair Dryer $45,  Iron/Board $30, Pillows  $25, Bath Towels $20, Hand Towels $15, Sheets $60, Blankets $50, Comforters $80...should you decide to take these articles...we will assume you approve a corresponding charge to your account."  
I wonder what kind of people would walk off with an alarm clock...it's sad, but quite interesting as well to think of someone hiding an hotel ironing board in his suitcase!

Anyway, back at the tournament, I found I was paired against Steven Cusumano (1804) of Nebraska.  At the 2014 Iowa Open, I had played Steven in the first round, and lost after an 80-move struggle, which I thought I should have drawn.

This time we had probably one of the most uneventful Sicilians played...with trade after trade till the game ended in a dead draw.  I was happy with the draw since Steven is higher-rated.

Charity and Papa joined in the Open on Sunday, since otherwise they would have had to wait all day.  Charity won a game and lost one, and Papa drew one and lost one.  We walked over to Arby's and ate lunch with a fellow chess player who updated us with results and live games from the Sinquefield Cup (the big tournament ongoing at the time).

My final game of the tournament was against Rithwik Mathur (1985) of Wisconsin.
 Rithwik considered his moves very thoroughly.  I think one move in particular took about 20 minutes.  I have taken that long on a move before, but the position was quite unexciting, and my enthusiasm for this game gradually drained as he thought...and thought...and thought!  His first victory was psychological.  I blundered on move 40. Qc8 (40. Qc6 is correct--maybe I should have thought a little longer!), and Rithwik's skillful, careful play payed off.
One thing I learned from the tournament was I needed to work on my patience and endurance!  The last game of the tournament was tough, but overall I was satisfied with my performance.  Every one of my opponents was higher-rated than myself.  I finished with a win, 2 draws, and 2 losses, and my rating went up 26 points.  I was also very pleased with the tournament location/setting.

A year ago, my only complaint was "Some of the tables were not very roomy, and each chess player just had as much space as he needed--none to spare--but it was far from unpleasant."  This time, the rooms we used upstairs last year for the whole tournament were used only by the RBO.  The Reserve and Open sections where in the exposition hall.
As you can see, there was *plenty* of room!  I really appreciate how the Iowa Open organizers went out of their way to try to make this the best Iowa Open ever.  The event was FIDE rated, and they made it a point to invite strong players.  There were 20 players rated over 2000, including GM Yermolinsky, WGM Baginskaite, IMs Young and Brooks, NMs Karagianis, Menon, and Brashaw, and WCM Munoz.  Attendance was the highest ever, with 238 players in the four sections, representing 11 states.  
The only drawbacks I noticed were that the air conditioner was too strong during part of the tournament, and the floor was not carpeted, so by the time the tournament was over, I could tell you what type of shoes everyone was wearing (Nike tennis shoes in particular seemed to squeak).  I don't know what I'll have to complain about next time...maybe the color of the tablecloths? (Nope, actually black is ideal as it draws attention to the focal point--the board--...will have to keep thinking on that one...)
Mark Capron, tournament organizer  --  James Ellis with Bill Broich, TD
The Iowa Open was an excellent tournament, particularly well-directed and organized.  It is the strongest tournament in the state, at one of the nicest locations in the state, with the best time controls in the world (90 30).  That's hard to beat.

Congrats to Brooks, Young, Menon, and Karagianis who finished in a four-way tie for first place, and many thanks to Mark Capron, Bill Broich, Eric Vigil, and everyone else who worked so hard to make this tournament awesome!

20 comments:

  1. I remember when you went last year, too. Sounds like you had a good time and it is always fun to see who wins. People just don't realize all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make these things happen. Too bad about the air conditioning and bare floor that caused shoes to squeak. It was probably distracting. Hope you have a great weekend, Bethany. xo Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a little distracting, but also slightly amusing at the same time. I don't have carpeted floors at the site I host the Wellsburg Open either, but there are a few locations that do have them.

      It was a great tournament. Have a delightful weekend as well, Diana!

      Delete
  2. Wow! I've never seen such a sign in a hotel room. It's very sad that people have to steal everything these days and make it hard for others.

    I wish you well in the tournament. Chess is a game I've yet to learn to play. I wish I did when I was a child. I'd be playing it now. I guess there is always time. The tournament conditions look quite good except I guess the air con.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right. I've even heard of the copper pipes being stolen out of churches for scrap. It's unfortunate that people can't think of better ways to make money.

      I was glad I brought a sweater with me. I guess being a bit cool was better than being hot! Hope you do find time to learn chess sometime!

      Delete
  3. Congrats on another great tourney Bethany and raising your points! ;) Not only would I struggle mastering a game like this - but then you need so much patience AND endurance!?? I'd be done for. Lol!

    I still find it all very fascinating though. Have a blessed holiday weekend. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carrie, you too! Have a great Memorial Day.

      Delete
  4. I like the olden look of it though

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a very nice room for an older hotel.

      Delete
  5. "One thing I learned from the tournament was I needed to work on my patience and endurance!"

    That's a pretty good lesson to learn :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I try very hard at everything I do, but there is always something to work on!

      Delete
    2. Sounds like you're working smarter instead of harder.

      Delete
  6. Heyyy wow. Um. Our room was nice. But it was nowhere near this nice!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was pleasantly impressed. For a few moments I wondered if they could have somehow known I was a blogger who was going to write a review--to have given us probably the best room on the first floor...but there is no way they could have known.

      Delete
  7. I'm glad that you enjoyed yourself, and though I know nothing about chess, that your ratings went up! Woohoo...you'll do even better next year. :)
    How strange that people walk off with hotel items! O.o I guess they have a solution for it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I wonder how much the percentage of items taken has gone down since they put up those signs.

      Delete
  8. So glad you enjoyed this chess tournament - you always do :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a lot of fun! Thanks for stopping by, Liuba!

      Delete
  9. Hi Bethany, You know, after reading this post, I can see why a person could get into this game so much. You do an excellent job of reporting on the tournament(s). I really liked it when you said, "One thing I learned from the tournament was I needed to work on my patience and endurance!" You are exceptionally good at recognizing these things and putting them into words. Although, compared to you, I know very little about chess, you make it interesting to read about. I also loved the comment about the little sign in the hotel room with mention of prices for items in the room ... you are so right, I can't imagine someone walking out with one of the ironing boards tucked away in their suitcase! :-) Enjoyed the pictures too! Very neat post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, John! There is always so much to learn and work on. I guess the hotel must have decided to make sure they had everything covered!

      Delete