Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2017 - Part 1

With my new job keeping me hopping, I seriously considered not attending the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets March 4th-5th.  However, it's one of my favorite chess tournaments.  The accommodations are always top-notch, and I have an attendance record to keep.  This year was my 7th in a row participating. The FIDE-rated tournament was held at the Physician's Clinic of Iowa, directed by Jim Hodina, and hosted by Robert Keating.
My parents and youngest sister had a 10K to run in Garrison, so they dropped me off at the clinic early.  I helped set up boards, and then played some blitz games against Richard Rector to warm up, as my chess skills have gotten a little rusty.  My sister took a half-point bye in round 1 in the Reserve section, and joined me after she finished running the 10K.

I played in the Open section. My first game of the day was against Robert Reynolds (1966).  I played the Queen's Gambit Declined Slav Defense, which is second only to the Sicilian as a favorite in my repertoire as black.
My 15. Nd5 was unwise, and after I failed to play h6 the next move, the game was lost.  I consoled myself with the knowledge that I was "supposed" to lose that round, considering my opponent was higher rated.  Still, I was disappointed in my play.

My family returned from their 10K race, after finishing quite well.  I joined them for lunch and enjoyed a fish sandwich from McDonald's.  I played a few blitz games against the up-and-coming scholastic player A. J. Kozich. Regrettably, I could not find enough bughouse players to get some bughouse games going.

The second round, I found myself facing David Raines (1763).  The fact I had stayed up late writing Friday night was catching up with me, as I could barely keep my eyes open during the first part of the game.  "This is not good," I thought to myself.  I walked around the tournament room, and then raided some chips and coffee from the kitchen.  I loaded the coffee with creamer, as I hate the bitter taste.  But it did the job.
Raines opted for the Sicilian, which made my day.  However, he gained the advantage for a while.  Eventually, though, I was able to equalize, and we agreed to a draw in what Houdini rules as a rather drawn position.  I was happy with the draw, since Raines was higher rated.

By the third round at 7:15 p.m., my lethargic state had fully bid me farewell. I was ready to concentrate.  NM Neal recommended green tea instead of coffee, which tasted a lot better! 
This time, I was paired against Abhyudaya Shukla (1647). I played the Sicilian. We reached a very interesting position by move 20, and Shukla offered a draw.  I calculated every line I could, but did not see myself coming out ahead, so I accepted the draw.
Houdini concurs that the draw was appropriate, giving a line that ends in perpetual check.  I suppose the game could have gone either way if we had summoned the fortitude continue playing.

The Reserve section was won by John Trunnel, with my sister finishing in second place.  My folks and I headed to a hotel for the night.  I had two more games to play Sunday.
Stay tuned for Part 2!


  1. How wonderful that you participated, Bethany. I know that this is something that you enjoy very much. And it's always good to do fun things outside of work.

    1. Indeed. :) I always enjoy tournaments.

  2. Hey Sweetie! Catching up and congrats on the new job!! That's so cool and you will be AMAZING at it! I think doing something that you love (& would even do for free)is one of the best positions to find yourself in, don't you think?

    I'm so fascinated, and always incredibly confused, by the chess play. Lol It's a game I just don't get...yet. Someday I hope to learn how to really play. But thanks for sharing as I still find it very interesting as someone who watches a lot of her kiddos' sports and those kinds of strategies. I still understand having a good opponent, trying to anticipate, make the right moves etc. ;)

    Blessings on the rest of your week Bethany! xoxo

    1. Hi Carrie, thanks for stopping by! I couldn't have asked for a more suitable job. All the best in your efforts to someday learn to really play chess.
      Blessings to you as well!

  3. How interesting! I must say the chess parts are like Greek to me! But, it is exciting to read of your neat adventures, anyhow! I hope your new job is going great, sweet friend. :) God bless you in a big way!!

  4. Wow. I've never been to one of those tournaments, but I can imagine how just one game would sap you mentally. 3? That's crazy.

    1. Chess is a lot of fun, but it does take a lot of mental effort.

  5. Hi Bethany! I always enjoy your reports from the chess tournaments. Yesterday, Sunday, I thought about you when I saw a report on CBS’s Sunday Morning about youngsters in rural Mississippi getting into playing chess. That is not exactly the spot where I would expect chess enthusiasm to break out! :-) I hope you saw the show, or if not, here is a link to the story on the web: Once again, congrats on your new job. I am going to take a look at the sites for those papers and check out how much it would cost for me to subscribe to one of them by snail mail. I think it would be fun to see your reporting! Also, kind of neat to see what an Iowa newspaper is like! :-) I am looking forward to your next visit to John’s Island and especially hope you’ll leave me a comment about my “Closing thought” on my March 26th post. Hope you have a great week ahead! John