But lets start at the beginning.
Two weeks ago I got my exam & assignment results for this year and you will be pleased that I have passed everything this year. No surprise to be perfectly honest bt nevertheless a nice achievement especially studying in a different language than your mother tongue.
A day later I played in the Gatwick Open (17.06.11 - 19.06.11) which was organised by Sean Hewitt. Lots of people have commented in the English Chess Forum that Sean does an excellent job in organising tournament, so I decided to check it out for myself.
I also could pursuade my german friend, Dawid Pieper, to come over from Cologne for this tournament. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with him as I haven't seen him since February, and texting and email is not the same somehow. We both play for Plettenberg since we were juniors so we go back a long way. He was my best man at my wedding and 2 years later I returned the favour.
Anyway, that is history and I don't want to boring you with this. On Friday we both arrived on time for the tournament. I took the car from Taunton in Somerset and Dawid took the plane from Cologne. I decided to play in the Major and try to win the first prize which was £300. Not bad for a weekend's work and being seeded No. 4 I had good chances of that money. Dawid, with an ELO of 2200, had to play in the Open and was seeded 20th.
In the first round we both won our games. I had a nice quick win against Alex Holowczak with the white pieces after Alex played the opening a little bit careless. I had to wait for another 2h until Dawid won against his opponent rated approx. 1900.
We both made it to the bar just in time for the last food orders but couldn’t believe how much we had to pay for a Jumbo Hotdog and a Pint of Lager (I think Dawid paid about £40 for both of us). After that shock we decided to go to bed.
In the morning we both prepared something against our round 2 opponents. Dawid had to play GM Rausis and his preparation work absolutely brilliantly. Rausis ‘walked’ into Dawid prep and could secure a draw. In the analysis afterwards Rausis was quite surprise about our prep work. Anyway, that didn’t stop him from winning the rest of his 3 games to finish joint first with Keith Arkell.
For my 2nd round game I couldn’t do any prep work as I couldn’t find any games of my opponent. So I brushed up some of my black repertoire and see where this would lead me. I had my beloved Philidor on the board and my opponent played quite quickly which led me to believe he prepared something for me. But after about 10 moves my opponent blundered and I could take the advantage straight away. After move 15 he could have resigned but dragged the game till move 25 and then resigned.
Round 3 I had the chess goddess Caissa on my side as I survived an opening mistake into an equal middle game, to a won endgame, to a lost endgame and then in time trouble my opponent blundered a piece. 3/3 after the first two days; not bad at all.
Dawid had to play IM Simon Ansell after his draw with GM Rausis and unfortunately couldn’t repeat his earlier success. He lost in a drawish rook endgame according to Rybka. But I think overall Dawid was actually happy with his performance so for.
In the evening we decided to have dinner in a Thai restaurant. Abi and her boyfriend Johnathan, who I stayed with near Gatwick, joined us for dinner. There is a lovely Thai restaurant in Reigate called ‘Venture Inn’ and it serves brilliant Thai cuisine. It’s quite popular and especially during the weekend you might have to wait to get a table. It’s worth visiting if you are in the area.
4th round on Sunday morning I had to play a junior Matthew Payne. Clearly a good player he actually demolished my Philidor. Well, NO!!! I demolished the Philidor myself as I played rubbish and deservingly lost the game. In the post-match analysis we found some interesting line for both sides, but my dream of winning that prize money was shattered!!!
Dawid had to play Hickman (Elo 2000ish) and won his game in the endgame where both players had to blitz. After the opening Dawid was a little bit on the back foot but found the right plan in the middle game.
Sunday afternoon at 3pm the 5th and last round started. After the usual last round reminders from the Organizers we started nearly on time. Dawid had another title holder in the last round. But his game against IM Quillan was a disaster. Early on during the round the fire alarm went off. So the clocks were stopped and after some confusing few minutes the clocks were started again after the organizers found out that it was a false alarm. But Dawid was still in ‘shock’ that he actually blundered a pawn and the game shortly afterwards. This lost meant Dawid finished 26. but was very happy with his performance as he won some Elo points.
I had to win my last round game to have at least chances of finishing 3rd. A quick look in my database revealed that I had a reasonable good opponent. But I don’t know what really happened but I played the opening not very ambitious and really lost control of the game to be honest. But then my opponent decided to have a think for the next 40 minutes and decided to go for the wrong plan. After winning a pawn and go into an endgame my opponent runs out of time and I could play a nice mating attack. 4/5 meant that I finished joint 3rd in the end and I won £25. Better than nothing but didn’t really get far when you think how much we paid for those hotdogs!!! J
I was quite happy with my performance, despite the fact I lost to a junior who doesn’t even know what facial hair is, but I guess that is the modern chess world. At least I lost to the joint winner. In the last round he agreed a quick draw with his opponent and they shared the prize money!!! I would have done the same thing. I probably will post one or two of my games later.
All the information about the tournament can be found on Sean Hewitt's website: www.e2e4.org.uk