This past Sunday on October 27, MACA or the Massachusetts Chess Association, hosted the 86th Greater Boston Open at the Westford Regency Inn & Conference Center in Westford, MA. It was one of the major tournaments held in the Greater Boston area and it attracted a total of 125 players from all different walks of life. The sections at the tournament were Open, U2100, U1900, U1700, U1500, and U1200. Time controls for the tournament for G/60 d5, and there were four rounds in total. The format of the system is Swiss and you may be thinking that after you lose a game, you go home; but here, you do not. Every player is guaranteed to play all four rounds and if they lose, they can paired with people who lost. After many rounds, pairings are grouped into the total scores of all players in each section.

The tournament started at 10:00 and Bob Messenger, the Tournament Director, made an announcement stating that George Mirijanian wanted games less than 30 moves to be featured on his chess chat show on FATV. He wanted an instruction game that is very exciting for all players to watch. Then, Bob stated that if anyone left the third floor without permission, then they forfeit the game. As soon as the first game started, I shook hands with my opponent and said good game and he made his first move. The opening was a Neo-Grunfeld defense and my opponent made a mistake in the opening by playing e3, thus trapping his bishop on f4. This gave me the opportunity to exploit it by playing Nh4, attacking the bishop and though he moved it to g5, however I played h6, thus kicking out the bishop to f4. Soon, I captured the bishop and eventually put enough pressure on the d4, thus winning the game and I had complete control of the c-file. Although I made a mistake and allowed him to regain the c-file which would have led to a draw, I managed to create weaknesses and thus I won the game.

However, it should be noted that I should have tried to trap his bishop after e3 with h6 but I wanted to play it safe. The next game, I lost terribly despite a good position, since I did not see I could take his knight on d4 and gain two pieces for the rook, even though he would have won the exchange. The game was a French Winawer and I felt awful that I lost the game since I was down three pawns. The third round game was interesting since my opponent lost on time. However, I could have won the game had I took the pawn on c2 rather than play nc6. Due to this move, I ended up in a slightly worse position, but I managed to regain the pawn.

But, I played my king to d6 and he penetrated with is rook to e6 and thus tried to attack my weak kingside pawns. However, I was able to exchange the rook and have a powerful pawn on d4. Soon, he tried to get his kingside majority rolling by playing g4 and although I was up a pawn, he had a passed h pawn, while my queenside pawn majority had not moved yet. Eventually, I ended up getting my king to the queenside and he had an opportunity to win the game by playing his rook to the file and exchanging rooks since his king controlled the promotion square and my pawns had not advanced yet. However, he missed this and he allowed me to sacrifice my rook for his pawn and soon afterwards, I got my queenside majority rolling after I exchanged my d-pawns with his c-pawn. It was difficult for him to win despite being up a rook since his king was far and my king was shouldering his king from approaching my pawns. Soon the position was a draw and he lost on time since he did not pay attention to the clock.

The last game could have been a draw had I not looked out for the knight fork blunder. The game was a Caro-Kann classical variation in which both kings castle queenside. My opponent told me I made a mistake after playing qd3 since my queen was opposite the rook, but I told her that the move was playable. Even though I was down a pawn, however black cannot win since all the pawns are on one side of the board and that I was able to get my queen active and destroy the kingside. Towards the end, I felt a3 was a better move than the b3, but b3 may be playable. After she played nd1+, I played king b2 and after nc3, I should have played kb2 instead of a3 since it would go into a three-fold repetition. But I played a3 and blundered to nd2, checking forking my king and rook. In total I had a score of 2/4 and my rating went up a few extra points and now my regular is 1706, but my quick jumped up to 1533.

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