Longtime readers know that I have struggled to secure any hint of a victory when playing against players over-the-board (OTB). I have won (and lost) my share of online blitz and standard games on Chess.com and lichess, but capturing that first victory at a real tournament was elusive. This might not seem like much to a seasoned chess player, but not being able to obtain even a slight advantage in so many games was frustrating. See here, here, and here. However, that frustration came to a close recently with my first OTB victory!
Because it has been awhile since I posted anything of significant here on Campfire Chess, I thought it would be a good idea to share this game with my readers to help celebrate my victory. My opponent was very challenging, but errors were made that turned things in my favor.
Chess players from around the San Antonio area converged on Methodist Hospital this past weekend to see who would earn the distinction of San Antonio City Chess Champion. Approximately 82 players registered for the 5-round event which saw participation from players in the 900 ELO to 2263 ELO range! NM Jesse James Lozano quickly emerged as the man to beat as he sought to defend his championship title and earn the distinction of being the 3-time city champion.
Entering into the 4th round of the event on Sunday Lozano led the tournament with a score of 3-0, although Alexander Wlezien, who commanded a 2206 ELO prior to the event remained neck-in-neck with him. The final standings had both Lozano and Wlezien earning no losses across all five rounds. In the end, Jesse James claimed his third title and walked away with an impressive 2267 ELO. Congratulations to Jesse on his win!
The annual city championship is a small sample of the larger San Antonio chess community that thrives throughout the year. The San Antonio Chess Club meets every Thursday night at the Lions Field Center on Broadway St for blitz and a subset of the club meets each Wednesday at Methodist Hospital for a monthly rapid tournament (G 90|5). Many of these events include highly skilled club players in the 1600+ ELO range, but Jesse Lozano offers opportunities for kids and lower rated players in scholastic play throughout the region on his website, www.sascholastic.com.
This Saturday and Sunday, chess players from across South Texas will converge on Methodist Hospital’s John Hornbeak Building to compete in the San Antonio Chess Championship! Over 50 players are currently registered for the event, which will feature the city’s best taking on…the city’s best! Yours truly originally had plans to attend the event to cover it here on Campfire Chess, but the same commitments that have emaciated posts on this site for July will likely keep me from attending. I am going to make an attempt to stop by to grab some photos and check on the standings, but unfortunately will not be able to cover in-depth like I wanted. In any case, if you are in the San Antonio area this weekend, hold a valid US Chess membership ID and want to compete for a chance at a variety of prizes, stop by!
Location: Methodist Hospital John Hornbeak Building
4450 Medical Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78259
Time controls: Rds. 1 and 2 G/90|5, Rds. 3-5 G/120|5
Prizes: $1525 for full entry and 1/2 option prizes
$500 1st, $300 2nd, U2100 $125, U2000 $125,
U1800 $125, U1600 $125, U1400 $125, U1200/Unr. $100.
Trophy to top Bexar County Resident.
Entry Fees: $60 at site
$5 discount to Club members paying full entry
Registration: 8:30-9:30 am
Rounds: Saturday 10am, 2 pm, and 6pm; Sunday 9am - 2pm
Half point bye any 1 round. Notice must be made before Round 2 is paired.
Entries: San Antonio Chess Club
PO BOX 690576
San Antonio, TX 78269-0576
Contact info: sanantoniochess.com
Pay online using PayPal. Click on "Send", then enter our club's email address
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and your appropriate entry fee in "Amount".
Then click Continue followed by choosing "Friends or Family" (to bypass PayPal fees).
Please include a note with participant's name and USCF ID, rating, and mailing
address should we have to mail you a prize.
Although you’ll be hard-pressed to find many pastors (or people) out there who would admit that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is their favorite film of all time, I am not your typical pastor nor do I like to think of myself as your typical person. When it comes to chess, there is much evidence to support the position that I might be the world’s worst chess player. I have become accustomed to losing just in some of the most interesting and depressing ways over the past few years and I thought I have learned to deal with the trauma that can arise from such an experience, but last Wednesday’s tournament OTB game reminded me of how devastating it can be to make a mistake in a game where I put so much time, effort, energy, and focus. In essence, Wednesday night was an opportunity for me to experience my own Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
As many of you know, I have been playing in my first series of OTB tournaments a few months back, but had to take a break to finish some school and other personal projects. These projects also contributed to the lack of posts here on Campfire Chess, but I digress. Playing in the July edition of this tournament was a last-minute decision, so there was a little bit of hesitation on my part for returning. However, I know that the best way to improve is to continue to play. Unfortunately, my return to OTB play was the stuff of nightmares. Rarely do I go into these situations expecting a win because very few of the players involved in these tournaments are rated anywhere near where I perform. Most of them are the master level or higher including a resident International Master and occasional visits from Grandmasters, which I have written about in the past. However, I can say that I never expected what happened this past Wednesday night. To say that it was traumatic betrays the depth of the experience.
I lost a game in eight moves although I played through to 12 moves for a combined total board time of around 14 minutes. Looking back on things, I realized that it was a simple mistake that ended the game so quickly whether it was rushing or simply not surveying the more properly. It has taken me a few days to get over it, but I have written some commentary on this atrocious game and decided to share it with my Campfire Chess audience. Now, for your viewing pleasure I present to you around one of MHCC July 2016.
Unfortunately, my desire to try again this week has been postponed because of a sick child. As always, family comes first. Therefore, I will have to wait until next week for an opportunity to redeem myself with a reasonable loss.
Another week, another loss. There is no other way to say it: the month of April itself is a loss for me. After watching my online ELO plummet 200 points I have consistently put zeros on the board for every game I have played OTB in the past 30 days. It is easy to get frustrated and want to give up, but these are the kind of times when the true test of resilience presents itself. As Rocky likes to say, it ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep going. And now, full analysis of my game from Wednesday’s tournament at Methodist Hospital. Enjoy!