2018 Summer Rapidplay
Is there a better time to punt some aggressive chess with wild openings than at an unrated rapidplay? That was certainly my plan for the club tournament, and it just so happened to work quite well. I've put together a collection of one game from each night, I hope you forgive the indulgence.
In the first round, I faced Richard Livermore. The first game was an aggressive Dutch with a missed mating queen sacrifice.
Livemore, Richard vs Meadows, Michael
The second featured a blunder early on in a French, but lasted much longer as black drummed up plenty of complications. Round 2 was a tough slog against George Miller, with a win that should've been a loss and a draw that maybe could've been a win. Round 3 saw Mike Brigden getting into the unusual opening spirit against an Owen's Defence in which an ending slipped away from white, and Mike showing me how to play the Nimzowitsch Defence which held for the draw.
Predictably I had Stephen Meek first on the second night, as we had both topped the first. Conveniently, I can't remember much about these games but I came away from them with only a ½ point. David Painter-Kooiman twice managed to gain a significant edge in the second round but allowed me to get away with a draw twice too. Rounding off a night of disappointing results, I went all out against Adrian Champion. In the first game, a very dodgy hack against a Sicilian paid off, but my attempt at the Nimzowitsch Defence failed dismally and for the fourth time that night I got away with an undeserved draw.
Champion, Adrian vs Meadows, Michael
Much like Mike B, Andrew Munn was also in the wild opening spirit and really went for it!
Munn, Andrew vs Meadows, Michael
The second game was equally whacky and after some mutual blunders we found ourselves in a bizarre endgame which featured two bishops and a knight against two rooks with a smattering of-pawns each. Morris then tried to tone down the excitement with a London System that failed to ever breakthrough, but ramped it back up with a McCutcheon French Defence that was an improvement on a bullet game we'd played earlier that week. A pinning trap won a knight for white, but the principle rook was immediately blundered back. The position immediately became a mess of mutual mating attacks but white's better development saved the day. Round 3 was an absolute rout as Oli overwhelmed my kingside in a London System. Despite having the extra pawn and a thumping attack, Oli confessed he was considering offering a draw, but I sacrificed the exchange and missed a return mating sacrifice. In the second game Oli stole the initiative in a Rubinstein French from nowhere (it is a Rubinstein French, after all) and reached a dominating endgame, which slipped to queen vs queen and white rook's pawn, but I was unable to steal any more than a ½ point.
For the final night, David Painter-Kooiman had three 4½s from each night, whereas Oli and I had 9½ from two nights (Oli missing night one and me getting duffed up on night two). In the first round Oli continued his impressive run by taking more points from David than anyone else was able to, while Duncan MacArthur and I shared the points with two more entertaining games.
Meadows, Michael vs MacArthur, Duncan
In round 2 I was playing Roger Hardy who has always outplayed me and offered a draw. Oli had Stephen Meek. Against Roger I felt my position slip twice, but in the first an endgame simplification swung the position in my favour and in the second a bishop trap saved my blushes. Oli was finding Stephen as difficult a customer as I did and despite some tenacious endings came away with the same half a point. For the final round, 2 points against Ian Pickup was the only way for me to guarantee outright first. In the first game, black became quite cramped as a white knight nestled on d6, and failed to attempt a break out until much too late. A rook sacrifice that probably wasn't entirely sound won the first point. The second game was a strange Advance Variation of the French Defence where black gained all of the space in the centre and a weak f2 square won the second point.
As I said, I hope you forgive the indulgence and found the games as entertaining as I did. I'm pretty chuffed with my first tournament win for some years, and I'm looking forward to aiming for mid-table next year. With the new season fast approaching I'm hoping that I managed to get most (but not all) of the silly chess out of my system!