UNH Open 2011

After recently learning the chess club at my alma mater, the University of New Hampshire, had been resurrected, oh so many years after I’d started it during my days at school and later watched it evaporate for want of a successor, I was excited to compete in their first big tourney and shake hands with the new president, Jason Shuster.

By all measures, the event was a huge success. There were about 50 players total, half of whom faced off in the two rated sections. Also of note, beyond the unexpected turnout, was the age range, all the way from the youngest scholastic players on up to the true veterans of the tournament scene. This made for a fun, if sometimes a little louder than normal gathering, made all the more bustling by the Game in 45 time control.

Pictures from the 1st UNH Open

While I’m not usually a fan of the faster time controls, and felt the pressure of the clock during at least two of the four games, I think it worked. Those experiencing their first structured competition didn’t have to wait long for the next round, the 11 AM start time was easy to make, and it served as something of an equalizer (there were a few minor upsets of which I’m aware). The only issue was there was no time to hunt down food, particular vegan eats, in the limited time between rounds. No biggie, next time I’ll just pack something.

OK, on to the games. I scored 3 points (2 draws, 2 wins), good enough for a tie for 2nd-4th, but unfortunately missed out on the 2nd and 3rd place trophies due to the sum-of-opponents’-scores tiebreaker. As everyone I played was rated below me, some quite a bit (500-700 points), my rating took a hit. Still, I was happy enough with my play, and even pulled off the following pretty combination.

White To Move

In this position, my opponent has just retreated the queen to her original square. Here I calculated a nice 7-9 mover.

13.Bb5! getting rid of a defender and clearing the way for White’s queen 13…Bd7 14.Bxc6 Bxc6 15.Bxh6! Nh5

15…gxh6 16.Nxf7 Kxf7 17.Ne5+ Kg8

17…Kf8 18.Qg6 Bd6 19.Qf7 mate

18.Qg6+ Kh8 19.Nf7 mate

Best is 15…Ne4 stopping the attack, though White has won a pawn and keeps the initiative after 16.Bf4.

16.Nxf7! Kxf7

16…Qc7 17.Kf8 18.Qxh6+ Kg8

18…Kxf7 19.Ng5+ Kg8 20.Qg6+ Kf8 21.Nxe6 mate

19.N3e5 Nh7 20.Qg6+ Kf8 21.Qxh7 Qxe5 22.Nxe5 Red8 23. Qh8 mate

17. Ne5+ Kg8 18. Qg6 Bf6 19. Qf7+! Kh8 20. Qxh5 gxh6

20…Bxe5 21.Bg5+ wins Black’s queen

21. Nf7+ Kg8 22. Qg6+ Kf8 23. Nxd8 etc.

On Thursday, I attended their weekly meeting in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) where about a dozen people played games and chatted it up in a friendly environment. After the short 6-8 PM official gig was up, Keith and I moved into the food court for another couple hours to look over our games from the tourney. It’s a long drive for me, but I hope to make it on a semi-regular basis. You should too.

UNH Chess Club in the news:
Teaching Moharimet Elementary School students.

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