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  • James Neal

Fire on a Denver Chess Board

James (2243) shares 1st place with Yuval (2047) with a score of 4 out of 5.

This weekend I decided to attend the Colorado Open. I entered the event knowing I would be the top seed above Daniel Herman (2206). I decided to play the smart route and take a 3rd round bye to avoid playing past 9pm (bedtime). I am beginning to mature into a seasoned adult. I now value my rest over the possibility of entering the 4th round with a perfect score.


The McConnell boys had registered on site which put me down to the second seed behind Sullivan (2276). Sullivan has a great record against me (+3) but I am always looking forward to the challenge. I see someone like Sullivan as a player to reveal my weaknesses and motivate me to improve.

My first and second rounds were tough. Bryan (1892) played an improved version of the line I played against Griffin in my previous event. Sara nearly beat my French but blundered late to allow me to pick up a pawn and win the endgame. The French defense hasn't been treating me well lately. I had been experimenting with King's pawn or the Sicilian but I am a French Fry so it will be a conflict of interest to make a permanent change. I was happy for the 3rd round bye. I didn’t feel too confident with my performance.


The 4th round was a bit of the same against Bryan Wall. He played me 1.a3 and forced me into a tough game with a bit of back and forth that fizzled into a draw by repetition. If I beat him it would have made for a great ending against Griffin (2193) had he decided to show up.


The final round had the McConnell boys paired against each other and they took a double forfeit because Kevin mistook the 3:30pm starting time for 5:30pm...


I was paired against Rhett Langseth (2142) and I brought the fire! I spent a good hour reviewing the Shirov gambit and nearly convinced myself not to play it out of risk.

A voice in my head spoke and I recognized it as my own.


Fail to Prepare then Prepare to Fail.

This game was an inspiration! My repertoire has been a bit on the dull side. This game was a great motivator to add more fire to my preparation and replicate the same urgency I had against Rhett. I was down two pawns and I knew my success was riding on my ability to hold the initiative.


This was a nice ending to a tough event.


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