Rebounding from my first round loss
As a chess player, I always look forward to playing in tournaments, especially those with strong opponents. The 2023 Washington Senior Championship was no different, and after a disappointing defeat in the first round, I was eager to make a comeback in the second round.
Summary of my game
My opponent was Pablo Manzon, who had a rating of 1564, which was 140 points higher than my previous opponent. I had less than an hour to prepare, but I was determined to give it my best shot.
The game started with 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. d3, and I found myself facing the King’s Indian Attack as Black for the first time. I responded with 4…Bg7 and 5…0-0 to develop my pieces and castle. After 6…c5, I had a nice center, but my opponent was quick to contest it with 9.e4.
I spent a lot of time thinking about my next move, considering 9…d4 to gain space but was hesitant because of the threat of Nc4. Instead, I played 9…Re8, a move that would prove to be a good choice. My opponent responded with 10.h3, trying to stop Bg4, but it was a passive move that didn’t develop any pieces.
My next move, 10…Rb8, was aimed at getting my rook off the long diagonal and preparing b5. My opponent played 11.a4, another random move that gained some space but didn’t have any follow-up. I responded with 11…h6, preparing Be6 but d4 was still the right move.
My opponent made his first major mistake with 12.b3, a move that Stockfish rated at 146. This move was slow and didn’t have any real purpose. I took advantage of this and played 12…d4, gaining more space and controlling the center.
Pablo continued to play passively, and I was able to build a strong position. I played 14…Bf8, bringing my bishop to a more active square, and then followed it up with 15…Nd7, preparing to bring my knight to the d6 square.
My opponent tried to create some counterplay with 16.Nd2, but it was too little too late. I continued to play solidly, and my opponent made another mistake with 21.Nh4, which allowed me to win a pawn with 21…Nxe4.
After this, I was able to take control of the game, and my opponent’s position quickly deteriorated. I won another pawn with 28…Rd8, and my opponent resigned a few moves later. The final position was clearly in my favor, and the game ended 0-1 in my favor.
Overall, I was pleased with my performance in this game. I was able to play solidly and take advantage of my opponent’s mistakes. It was a good reminder that in chess, every move counts, and even small mistakes can have significant consequences.