November 7th until 11th november the yearly International tournament of Leuven had place. Since it’s close by home and since i have played by the organizing club it’s a tournament that i couldn’t miss, didn’t miss for years, so my participation was already given the OK sign many weeks before the start of the tournament.
Round One, Friday 7th november 2008, 19h30
After a day of work, not exactly the right preparation, i entered the tournament room at exactly 19h30 to find out i had to play Jeroen Claesen (2253 elo) with the black pieces. The game was a french with 2. d3 which i mishandeled badly. I played Nbd7 instead of Nc6 which took away an escape square for my f6 knight. Thanks to this and thinking to much on protecting d5, i had to resign on move 20.
Round two, Saterday, 8th november 2008, 14h00
I had hoped to get an opponent with less elo points then myself but helas, round two still was under quick swiss pairings. Tonoli Benjamin (2183 elo) was the next person i had to battle against at the chessboard. With the white pieces i played a decent game until a certain point where i lost my way and lost a few pawns. At move 34 i resigned after letting a black rook in my position.
Round three, Saterday, 8th november 2008, 19h30
Finally normal swiss pairings which gave me an opponent with less rating then myself. Rudy Valcke (1642 elo) made a miscalculation which cost him a pawn. Trying to recover he lost another pawn after which made the worse decision to exchange all pieces in a way that i got two connected passed pawns in the centre. He resigned at move 35.
Round four, Sunday 9th november, 14h00
Wouters Maarten (1683 elo) is a player i never have good games against. Now i had a relatively decent game but i wanted to force things to much and came in a worse position. Luckily my opponent blundered heavily in time trouble and with two pieces more i ended the game swiftly on move 68.
Round five, Sunday 9th november, 19h30
Rousseau Jean-Francois (1786) was a player who did play a bit passive but decent. My french rubenstein wasn’t good enough to get any advantage. On move 25 we agreed to a draw.
Round six, Monday 10th november, 19h30
My opponent Pleysier Simon (1800 elo) played good but made some mistakes which gave me a big advantage which i converted very easy but not in the quickest way possible. But still this was the best game i played in the tournament so far.
Round seven, Tuesday 11th november, 13h00
The last game, if i win i still have a chance to win a prize in the <2100 category. For a player with 1979 (fide rating) this isn’t a bad result. But before i start dreaming of me swimming in money i had to play a game.
The person who i had to cross swords with was Broekman Willem (2141 elo). Instead of starting to panic my narrative was telling me that i just had to play the game and if i lost then i lost, no problem, it’s not that i have to live from my chess income.
First dissapointment, my opponent opened with 1. d4 . The opening i play aswell but never have had good play against. But again my narrative did it’s work:’do the best you can, nobody can ask more of you’. And realitivily relaxed i began at the game.
I played a little bit different then i usually play against 1. d4 but had a good feeling about it. My opponent played the standard moves of theory. I patiently build up my position, not creating weaknesses. A misplaced draw offer on move 25 from me was politely declined by my opponent.
On move 27 my opponent didn’t exchange his queen for my two rooks after which i placed a sacriface that shocked my opponent since he hadn’t seen it coming. The sacriface gave me the rook against knight advantage. And on move 38 my opponent resigned because he would be mated in a few moves.
Time ticked away. I needed a few minutes to realize i had won the game and to say it with the words of two of my 2100+ clubmates: “It’s not that your opponent played badly, you just played good”. A compliment that made me blush.
The end conclusion
During the tournament i felt that i was playing stronger and stronger, if that goes up for a little player of 1979 elo. I felt that i had taken the next step in my chess progress and played and thought differently then i did in the past. Two thousand elo is in my reach but i still have to work hard for it.
With 4,5 out of 7 i ended at place 27 in the end ranking and was joined first in the <2100 rating category which earned me 75 euros. So i cant complain about my tournament but i hope that next year i can start the tournament with the chess strenght i had at the end of the tournament.
** games will follow next week