Too soon after the conclusion of the British, Tara and I jumped on a plane to LA. Ankit Gupta, the organiser, had persuaded me, rather against my better judgement to act as instructor at a 4-day Chess camp. As I had never done anything remotely similar before, this was to say the least somewhat a daunting prospect not aided by a severe lack of preparation time. It was an interesting and highly educational experience (at least for me – not sure about the students) but in general didn’t go too badly apart from a sticky period towards the end of day 3 when I was running a bit low on material.
After a tough simul the following day and some whirlwind sightseeing it was time for the tournament with the common US timetable of 9 games in 5 days. I wasn’t too optimistic about surviving the demanding schedule as I was still having problems with jet lag and was a little fatigued.
A couple of lucky breaks early on changed the dynamic of the event. My first game began (I was Black) 1.d2-d4 Ng8-f6 2.c2-c4 e7-e6 3.g2-g3 d7-d5 4.Ng1-f3 d5xc4 5.Bf1-g2 a7-a6 6.0-0 Nb8-c6 7.Nb1-c3 Bf8-e7 (7..Ra8-b8 is the main theoretical move). Now 8.Qd1-a4 would have been errr.. a bit awkward but my adversary was hypnotized by my incompetence and passed up the opportunity. I wasn’t even aware of what had happened until someone mentioned it to me the following day.
I also had a bit of luck in the 3rd round. I actually got a good opening in this game but after slowly but surely dissipating my advantage I got away with a bad oversight around the time control:
After this things continued to go my way and I finished with a hefty 7.5/9 and took home a dazzling trophy.
Many thanks to Ankit for all his efforts in putting together this excellent event and I wish him the best of luck with his plans for the future.