I played in the Minnesota Chess Winter Open. The games were G/90 +30s increment with 3 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. I did not start off very well, but it was my first tournament since September. On Sunday things were going a little better.

Round 1

I think my nerves got the best of me because in the opening I rushed through some moves and was down a piece after about 5 moves. I’ve had problems with this line of the Sicilian before. It was a case of a memorized move in the opening without really understanding the plans. I just played it because I thought I had to, not because it was a good move.

I played OK for awhile after that, but I was always on the defensive.

Round 2

I felt like I played pretty well in this game. It was a longer game, lasting over 3 hours. That seemed to be about my limit because I accepted a draw even though I was clearly winning in the endgame. This is the third time that I’ve taken a draw in a winning position in the second round of a tournament. I’m not sure if there is a mental block or something. I think I get discourage after losing the first round and don’t want to blunder away a 1/2 point. I just need to work on my stamina. I had plenty of time left on my clock, I just didn’t use it.

Round 3

Another Sicilian. I didn’t make the same mistake as round 1, so that’s something. I just played sloppy moves. I felt like I was winning, but then got too aggressive. I tried for a fancy sacrifice, which didn’t work at all.

Round 4

It is a new day! I was pretty disappointed by my results on day 1. I really wanted to win this game, which I did! It felt like a pretty easy game. I got up material early, and just held the lead. The bad part was that I missed a mate-in-1. I was going to win regardless, I just made it take longer by missing the move. I forced a trade of queens and then promoted a pawn when I could have just moved my queen and checkmated my opponent. It was good to get my first win of the tournament

Round 5

I won the last round as well. This time I had a pretty good idea of what to do in the opening in the Caro-Kann. After that I made some mistakes but then just slowly improved my position. Being the 5th game in 2-days, I was conscious of being fatigued so I tried to simplify as much as possible.


I finished 2.5 / 5 and in 34th out of 74, or in the top half. My rating went up 58 points from 840 to 858. Still a long way to go, but it felt good to see a jump.

The tournament had 156 players and of that 15 were non-male (9%).