So this repetition of my days is starting to get to me. Making the same drive out to the 'burbs at 5:30ish, walking into the playing hall at 7, playing chess 'til midnight, driving home at 1:00am and waking up sleep deprived the next day to do it all over again! It's grueling and yet I don't really want it to end today. Sure, I won't miss the late-night lane closures that cause heinous backups in the middle of the night, or the sketchy on-the-road diet or the chessfunk, but I'll miss the competition and the chess. Hammering out this blog everyday has been a challenge as well, I'm not use to writing in the "first person" mode, very foreign. Another repeat that happened yesterday was the appearance of another Noteboom Variation in my game! Yep, paired against another Expert for round 8, I had looked up his games in the bulletins before the rounds and saw he opened with Nf3 but transposed into Queen's Gambit setups. I thought the Boomer might be in the offing again and sure enough, we went right into it. Having recently reviewed this from my game two nights previous (against the Master), the main attacking motifs were still fresh in my mind. However, my opponent played a few inferior moves and I quickly obtained a winning position! Being a sharp opening though, he fought back and in the time scramble, my advantage slipped away and we settled on a draw at move 42. Another Expert draw! It sucks though, that I left a 1/2 point on the table. I need to practice on winning won games and bring the point home to Papa.
They had a lot of announcements prior to the start of the round and I noticed that it was uncomfortably warm in the playing hall. Many must have complained, because shortly after the round started, the AC kicked in with a vengeance and it soon become an icebox in there. Naturally, being Saturday, I had decided it was a good day to wear shorts! I was shivering as I shook my opponents hand for the draw, a shaky shake.
In my report for round 5, "Bloody Hell", I mentioned my opponent just walked off after our game. I happened to talk with him brief last night and he turned out to be an amiable fellow, funny in fact. In describing his loss the night before to a Master, he summed up the idea of chess improvement succinctly with "Ya gotta do the hard work" No doubt! That's how you win won games! And save lost ones. It's fun to play instinctively, chess is an art that way, but there are times when you have to buckle down and calculate it all out. Blind me with science, baby! And chess is a game, too, of course, making it all three at once. The trifecta of hobbies.
Leaderboard: Illinois' own GM Yuri Shulman bested GM Shabalov to take sole possession of first with one round to go. He's alone at 7 1/2, with IM Cordova and GM Fedorowicz (both of New York) and National Master Aigner from California tied for second with 7. One of them will get a crack at Shulman for the title while the other two will play cautiously, waiting for a result to happen on board one. There are 16 players at 6 1/2 who are playing for prize money, but the winner of the 107th will be one or more of the four I've mentioned.
Standings: I'm in 259th overall and 14th in my section. There are 4 money prizes for my section and I need to win and have some things go my way to get a piece if it.