Part 4: The Blitz Tournament

The blitz tournament was played yesterday. I only played in 1 strong blitz tournament before, the one after the Montreal International in 2007, where Ivanchuk won. This event was going to have a similar strength field. With guys like Mamedyarov, Fressinet, Bologan, Van Wely, etc. It was hard to have high expectations. Losing the mini-match didn’t help my hopes. I started the event ranked 9th. Time time control would be 3min and 2sec increment. I had never played with the time control before.

The first rounds were very smooth. I scored 4/4 by beating up on some lower rated players, including at least 1 IM. Then there were four of us at 4/4, and I was paired against Mamedyarov with black. To put it lightly, he’s a pretty good blitz player. I lost the game in a one-way fashion.

But then I managed to win the next two rounds when I was paired down and I found myself sitting at 6/7, in a tie for second place, behind the Mamedyarov train (he was at 7). I was paired against Loek Van Wely, rated 2679, with white. I managed to win the game in very interesting fashion in the Nimzo Indian, to climb to 7/8, tied for second place with only Fressinet.

I was to play Igor Kurnosov, rated 2659, in the last round, with the black pieces. Igor was a half point behind and would surely do everything in his power to crush me and climb to 2nd place. I played the modern and got into some trouble in the opening. I was able to wiggle my way out of it and got into an endgame which was approximately equal. I had a bishop against the knight, and the knight managed to get very close to being trapped. I managed to win a pawn and then get 4 pawns against a bare knight. I was able to win at last.

And so, I finished at 8/9, in clear second place. Mamedyarov finished with a perfect 9/9. I was completely amazed that I was able to come out 2nd in such a strong field. The pairings were definitely not too hard on me, but I managed to win the last two crucial games under a lot of pressure. I didn’t realize blitz tournaments can be so much fun…

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One Response to Part 4: The Blitz Tournament

  1. Denton Cockburn says:

    Don’t get sucked in! Blitz is amazingly fun, but amazingly unhealthy.

    Soon you’ll be quitting professional chess to play blitz in a park, and then you’ll wonder when was the last time you shaved. Blitz is the narcotics of the chess world. 🙂

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