My Participation in the Montebelluna Cup

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  • My Participation in the Montebelluna Cup

    Hello fellow chesstalkers!

    Inspired by Bob Armstrong's blogs, I have decided to write about my experience in the Montebelluna Cup, played in Montebelluna, Treviso, Italy, from December 27-31. I am currently seeded #36 in a section of 47 players. I am the sole Canadian participant in this tournament. I see it as a fantastic opportunity to play higher rated players and hopefully learn a thing or two. Both GM and IM norms are available in this tournament, so it's sure to be quite the competition, despite the lack of prize money. I will try to add to this blog daily, likely at the end of the day when I finally have some spare time. I hope you will find this blog informative and join me in experiencing my first tournament in Europe! For those who wish to follow the tournament, you may do so on chess-results: http://chess-results.com/tnr392886.aspx?lan=1

    Here is my first blog entry:

    December 25, Christmas Day

    After a great day spent with my family in Fonthill, Ontario, I have made it to my gate at Toronto Pearson Airport. In twenty minutes I will board the plane what will take me to Amsterdam, where I will have a 2-hour layover before continuing on to Venice, Italy. This is the very first time chess has taken me to Europe, and I am very excited for what the future holds. Since Italy is 6 hours ahead, I’m going to try to correct my sleeping schedule as early as possible and hopefully get some sleep on the plane. I just hope I’m able to make all of my connections on time and make it to my hotel room in Montebelluna, Italy scratch-free. My next blog will hopefully be in that hotel room. Until next time - Zach.


  • #2
    great idea, Zach - look forward to your blogging style - we all do it in our own way.......variety will help!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the encouragement, Bob!

      December 26

      During my 7-hour flight from Toronto to Amsterdam, I was sandwiched between two Indians, a Sikh named Jaspreet and a Hindu named Weston. In fact, about 75% of the passengers were of Indian descent, as the airline I was on, Jet Airways, is a company based in India. The food was Indian and everything was written in Hindi. I really felt like a minority on the flight, but still managed to have enriching conversations with my two neighbours. These conversations made the flight bearable, as the seats were rock hard and I was in way too much pain to even attempt sleeping. After the flight we went our separate ways - Jaspreet to Delhi, India, Weston to Gothenburg, Sweden, and myself to Venice, Italy.

      The second flight went by much quicker. This time the seat was actually comfortable and I was able to at least close my eyes for a bit. Before I knew it, I was in Venice! The directors of the Montebelluna Cup organized a shuttle from the airport to the tournament, but I had trouble locating them. I had the phone number of Pier Luigi Basso, an Italian GM who is also organizing the tournament, but I couldn't make phone calls in Italy. Luckily I was able to ask some locals if they were willing to make a call for me, and they graciously accepted. I was soon picked up and made my way to the small city of Montebelluna (20 000 residents).

      My driver, who is also helping organize the tournament, is a Montebelluna native. He was shocked that I could speak Italian, and during the transfer we talked endlessly about languages, Italy and chess. I have barely spoken a word of English since I've arrived, and I absolutely love it! When my driver dropped me off and I asked him how much I owed, he told me not to worry about it. This was a 45-minute drive that would have easily costed me close to 100 euros had I taken a taxi instead. I can honestly say that the Italians I have met thus far are truly generous, warm and humble.

      The hotel where I'm staying and where the tournament will be held is called the San Marco. As soon as I caught sight of it, my first impression was that it was a very old building. Not a bad kind of old, but a historical kind of old. When I walked in, I was greeted by the receptionist and Pier Luigi. Without hesitation and without asking anything in return, they gave me my room keys and showed me to my room, where I am now. My room has an old feel like the rest of the hotel, but it has quite the homey feel and I've never experienced anything like it. I'm really excited to see how this tournament will unravel with players coming from over 15 different countries.

      The first round is at 10 am local time, 4 am EST, and if nothing changes I will play the Italian FM Alberto Barp in round 1 (2425) who is by far the strongest FM in the tournament. However, as is the case with tournaments, there are always last-minute withdrawals and registrations. Regardless, at the end of tomorrow, along with my blog, I will post the PGNs of my games, potentially with some half-hearted annotations, depending on how tired I am.

      It's only 2:33 pm right now, but I'm dead tired. I basically didn't sleep since I left Toronto 6 pm EST, and it's 8:30 am EST now. I just hope I'm able to catch up on some sleep and hopefully correct my sleeping schedule so I can get a couple high-quality games in tomorrow. I'll try to post some pictures as well!

      Stay tuned,

      Zach




      Comment


      • #4
        Awesome Zach! So glad your sharing your experiences. Look forward to reading the rest. When I first went to Europe in 1986 I was just excited as you sound like, I had a wonderful adventure in Rejkjavik, Iceland, played great chess (for me), met many interesting people and have never regretted it. Would have loved to blog my adventures but chesstalk wasnt around then. Do your best to meet all the challenges and Im sure you will have a great time. Good Luck.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for blogging. Playing in historic Europe is alot different than playing in North America, and I recommend the trip for all strong juniors. Not too large a tournament, so you will be playing masters. Many players from India. They have a super blitz on Jan 6.

          It will be a great experience. Try the bicycle path. Don't drink too much wine or eat too much tiramusi, which was invented in the area. Treviso is twinned with Guelph.

          Comment


          • #6
            Great stuff Zach! Keep us informed...and I wish you the best!

            Larry

            Comment


            • #7
              Hans: Nice to get some positive feedback! I've never been to Iceland but I know the Rejkyavik Open is a crowd favourite. Hopefully I get around to playing that one some day.

              Erik: Playing in Europe definitely has a unique feel to it. Maybe that feel is just the fatigue from jetlag. I went for a run today and saw a lot of Montebelluna, but haven't come across any bike paths yet. I'll get to the wine once I visit my family in Calabria after the tournament, haha.

              Larry: Thanks for the encouragement, I'm trying!

              December 27

              I did my best to sleep as much as possible since the last blog. I did manage to sleep quite a bit, but there was a lot of tossing and turning. I woke up at 6:30 am so I could wake up, see some of Montebelluna and have a big complimentary breakfast.

              At 11 am I played my first game was against Raunak Sadhwani, a 13 year-old Indian IM. In summary, I got a great position out of the opening, and then completely misevaluated a move that gave him way too much play. I burned way too much time and got a losing position, but he let me back into the game, and at the end I had 2R B and P vs Q and 4P. I played it accurately despite being on increment, and with one final good move left to secure the draw and my time ticking down, I blundered. 0/1.

              You can find the PGN and annotations to that game here: https://www.chessdrop.com/tcKaWhhLnsCnYZcRr

              This game lasted 4 hours, so I had 2 hours before the next round. They gave us tickets for a free lunch at a café in downtown Montebelluna, so I got the directions on my phone and set out for the café. Of course, I got lost, and had to ask the good people of Montebelluna for directions, the majority of whom had never even heard of the café. Eventually I found it, and I was fed pasta and bread. During my stay I encountered an elderly Italian man. When I told him I was Canadian, he began talking all about his experiences in Canada and how his family lives in Hamilton. I enjoyed my conversation with the man, but I wish i could've gotten back to my room to get a nap before the game because I was dead tired.

              At 5 pm I played my second game against WIM Pratyusha Bodda, also from India. Although I got a great position out of the opening, I was falling asleep at the board and my head was killing me. The jetlag was really starting to affect me. Still, I managed to get a completely winning position in the middle game before I inexplicably started making a serious of simplifications. The first one completely lost most of my advantage, the second one let my opponent equalize, the third one made my opponent better, and the final one gave me a losing endgame. Just poor decision after poor decision... 0/2.

              PGN and annotations: https://www.chessdrop.com/nzsBTn2af8kyQiMdN

              As I sit here, tired and disappointed, I'm hoping that after a good night sleep my fortune will change tomorrow. The tournament organizers have decided to not release the pairings until 1/2 hour before the round to prevent excessive preparation, so kudos to them. It's a long tournament, and hey, Carlsen started 0/2 in the World Rapids.

              Zach
              Last edited by Zach Dukic; Friday, 28th December, 2018, 03:08 AM. Reason: Updated link

              Comment


              • #8
                Zach, both links are to your round 1 game. Italian opera is so melodramatic.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the reports. Maybe it's just my computer, but I find it disconcerting that the pieces seem to fly in from the top left of the screen. And, though I can play thru the game online, I can't get the pgn. Is it time for me to buy a new computer?

                  Edit: aha, my Windoze 10 laptop displays the piece movements correctly, but I still can't get the pgn
                  Last edited by John Coleman; Thursday, 27th December, 2018, 07:40 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Erik: I updated the second link.

                    John: I'm sorry the PGN viewer isn't working for you, I'll post them here so you can copy them into a viewer that works for you. Thank you for taking an interest in my tournament!

                    Game 1:

                    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 An extremely fashionable line these days which I seem to face much more than ...e6. 7. Qe2 This is Negi's recommendation. the idea is to play a quick f4 e5 before Black can get his desired setup. 7... h6 8. Bh4 g6 Preparing ...e5. if black plays 8...e5 then 9.Nf5 g6 10.Ne3 would be a good way to reroute the knight. 9. f4 e5 10. fxe5 dxe5 11. O-O-O Always a fun move to play. 11... Qc7 12. Nb3 b5 13. Nd5 Nxd5 14. exd5 Bd6 15. Qd2 Stopping Black from castling... or am I? In my Najdorf file I have 15...0-0 as my mainline, but out of the two times I've reached this position neither of my opponents have been brave enough to sacrifice the pawn. A sample line is 16.Qxh6 Bb7 17.Kb1 Rfe8 18.Be2 Rac8 19.Qc1 Bf8 20.d6 Bxd6 21.Bg4 Be4 22.Rd2 f5 23.Bf3 when white isn't immediately mated, material is equal, and black (arguably) has the weaker king. 15... Bb7 I'm out of book, but I could've sworn this move was premature, which explains my next move... 16. Na5 Going after the bishop he triumphantly placed on b7. 16... Rc8 17. Nxb7 I burned a lot of time here. I wasn't sure if I should take b7 or sacrifice a pawn with Nc6, but the threat on c2 always gives him enough counterplay for the pawn. It was a pretty clear decision that I wasted way too much time on. 17... Qxb7 18. g4 stopping any future ...f5 ideas and also allowing my bishop to come back to g3 without blocking the g-pawn. 18... b4 19. Bd3 I had seen the threat of ...b3 but I underestimated the play it gives him. The main idea that I hadn't foreseen was the possibility of ...e4 and ...Be5. This pawn sacrifice is extremely strong and I don't think I can allow it. I rejected 19.Kb1 because I felt that he would leave the pawn on b4 and bring his knight to c3 or a3, but the problem is as soon as he moves his knight away I will play Bf6 and start attacking e5 with all my pieces. 19... b3 20. axb3 Qxb3 And in this position I realized that 21.Kb1 runs into 21...Qa4, when black's queen is extremely annoying. I'm worse now. 21. Qa5 O-O 22. Kb1 Qb8 23. Bg3 I was worried about the ...e4 sacrifice, but apparently this just increases black's advantage. Better was 23.Be1, stopping Bb4. 23... Bb4 24. Qxa6 The computer is harsh, but apparently this move makes it -6. It prefers 24.Qa2 followed by h4 h5, where black has only a miniscule advantage. 24... Rc5 The same idea, but wrong square. After 24...Rc7 I don't have any moves. Bc3 is threatened followed by Ra7 and Qa8 if necessary. 25. Be1 Ra5 If the rook had been on c7, he could've taken on e1 and then played Ra7, where I'm basically mated. Instead now I get to fight on in a still lost position with A rook, minor and pawn for the queen. 26. Qxa5 Bxa5 27. Bxa5 Qa7 28. Bc3 Ra8 29. b3 Qa2+ 30. Kc1 Rc8 All of these moves were pretty much blitzed out, and I realized that my planned Kd2 fails to ...Nc5, when ...Nxb3+ is threatened, among other things.. 31. Bc4 Desperation. 31... Nb6 32. d6 Nxc4 33. bxc4 Qxc4 Neither of us saw that after 33...Rxc4 black can allow the d pawn to promote and still be winning. 34.d7 Rxc3 35.d8=Q+ Kg7 when my best way to prevent made on c2 is Qd3, and black is winning after a bunch of checks and taking pawns. 34. d7 Rd8 Black should have opted for the Queen + 4p vs 2 rook + 3 pawn ending. After this move computer is showing 0.00 35. Ba5 Qf4+ 36. Kb2 Rb8+ 37. Ka3 Qe3+ 38. Ka2 Qc5 39. d8=Q+ Rxd8 40. Bxd8 Qxc2+ 41. Ka1 Qa4+ 42. Kb2 Qxg4 The sad thing is I'm never in time for Bf6 here because he always checks me and wins the bishop somehow. From this point I had about 3 minutes to play the rest of the game.. Objectively I should hold, but there's plenty of room for error. 43. Kc3 f5 44. Rhg1 Qf3+ 45. Kb4 Qc6 46. Ba5 f4 47. Rc1 Qb7+ 48. Ka4 f3 49. Rc7 Qe4+ 50. Bb4 Qa8+ 51. Ba5 g5 52. Rgc1 At this point I thought for sure he had to take the perpetual, otherwise he is taking an excessive risk. I'm playing on increment, however, and he managed to play a move to which I didn't see the reply. 52... Qd5 53. Bb4 I'm losing now. My plan was to play Ra7 and bring my other rook to c7, but there's a forcing line which always allows him to sacrifice his queen for one of the rooks and then promote. Instead, 53.R1c6 is creates an important perpetual threat, that I definitely would have seen if not for the time situation. Better time management I guess.. 53... f2 54. Ra7 Qa2+ An important in between move, if he plays 54...Qe6 right away then I can play Rcc7, and on Qe8+ I play Ka3 and black loses. 55. Ba3 Qe6 56. Rcc7 Qe8+ 57. Kb3 I had seen that Ka5 ran into ...Qd8, but I completely missed his reply to Kb3... 57... Qb8+ With the exact same idea. I resigned here.

                    Game 2:

                    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Na6 10. O-O Bd7 11. Nd2 Qe8 12. b3 Nh7 13. f3 h5 14. a3 Bh6 15. Bf2 I'm pretty sure white can get away with this move and just play 15.Rb1 right away. With Bf2 my opponent stops the Be3+ --> Bc5 maneuver, but the downside is she lets my queen get into the game. 15... Qe7 16. Re1 Another way to defend the knight is 16.Ra2. I was pretty comfortable with my position now. 16... Qg5 17. Nf1 f5 18. Rb1 The computer believes in black's attack and suggests 18.h4 here. My opponent didn't, however, and continued with her queenside play. 18... h4 19. b4 axb4 20. axb4 Nf6 21. c5 Nh5 22. c6 I'm just winning here. It was already necessary to play 21.Ne3 Nf4 22.Kh1 when I'm not in time for 22...Nh3+ and instead after to settle for 22...dxc5 23.d6 cxb4 24.dxc7 Bc6. 22... Nf4 23. g3 bxc6 24. dxc6 Be6 25. Be3 Nxe2+ An inexplicable decision... I saw that hxg3 was possible, and that Nh3+ were possible, but for some reason I couldn't put them together. After 25...hxg3 26.hxg3 Nh3+ 27.Kg2 f4 28.Bd2 Qh5 black simply has too many threats. For some reason I was worried about my knight on a6 getting trapped... with some kind of Nd5-Ra1 maneuver. However, I crash in on f3 before any of that happens. 26. Qxe2 f4 27. Bd2 hxg3 28. hxg3 Qh5 29. Qh2 Qxh2+ 30. Kxh2 fxg3+ I could have played 30...Rfb8 in this position and gained time.. But for some reason I felt the need to play all forcing moves. 31. Kxg3 Bxd2 Another move that helps my opponent develop... 31...Bf4+ was better. 32. Nxd2 Rfb8 33. b5 Nc5 34. Ra1 My opponent banged down this move, that I hadn't even foreseen. I was severely down on time at this point, and I saw some ideas where white played Nd5, Nc4 and b6, so for some reason I thought I needed to trade knights.. 34... Nb3 After the simple maneuver Nd3-Nf4, I'm only slightly worse. he crashes through with b6, but c8 is securely protected and Nd5 ideas aren't possible. After this move I lose by force. 35. Nxb3 Bxb3 36. Rxa8 Rxa8 37. Rb1 Be6 38. Nd5 Bxd5 39. exd5 Ra4 It really doesn't matter too much what I do here. I would be suffering after 39...Rb8 40. b6 cxb6 41. Rxb6 And here I realized by Kf7 plan loses to a number of plans, namely c7-Rc6 or even Rb7-Rd7. 41... Ra8 42. Rb7 c7 wins faster, but I resigned here anyway.
                    Last edited by Zach Dukic; Friday, 28th December, 2018, 03:15 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Heck, don't worry about me. If other people can manage, it's me that's out of sync. Good luck today.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        December 28

                        I was so tired from the previous day that I went to bed without eating dinner. So, naturally, I woke up with quite the appetite and helped myself to another fruit-filled complimentary breakfast. I then relaxed before my first game at 10 am.

                        My round 3 game was against Valentina Verbin (1938) of Moldova. She walked into a line in the Najdorf I know very well and quite frankly never had a chance. Once I had the initiative I didn't look back. 1/3

                        Round 3 PGN and annotations: https://www.chessdrop.com/TR9dXwtfJMw8WwJxW

                        After my game, I tried something new. I tried to make some friendships with some Italian players in the tournament. For the first three rounds I sat next to Massimiliano Botta and I thought that warranted a conversation. We ended up getting a long really well, and we went out for lunch along with his lifelong friend Giorgio Nordio, who is also playing in the tournament and from the same region as him (Lombardia). I had an amazing time talking to these guys about chess and life. For lunch, Giorgio suggested I eat the pasta amatriciana, which he argued was "the most italian thing on the menu". It was delicious.

                        My round 4 game was against Gleb Dudin (2303) of Russia. It was such a complex battle that by move 20 we were both down to our last 10 minutes, and we found ourselves shuffling pieces, unable to come up with a concrete plan. Eventually, I wound up in a very suspicious position, but he allowed me one critical tempo that simplified the position into an endgame where even I had some chances. The game ended in a draw. 1.5/4

                        Round 4 PGN and annotations: https://www.chessdrop.com/iokiXQhyJoaEdt8Te

                        Despite my game lasting 4.5 hours, my night had just begun. During a post-mortem with GM Pier Luigi Basso, he invited me out to dinner with him and some friends. Among us were Italian FM Desiree Di Benedetto, a frequent member of the Italian Women's National Team, my roommate, Slovakian GM Christopher Repka, who is fresh off of a 3000 euro payday after his tournament win in Kraskow, Poland, as well as Russian GM Igor Naumkin. The 5 of us went to Area Dok, which is a restaurant known for its prosciutto. Once there, I feasted on the best prosciutto and mozzarella I've tasted in my entire life. It was so fresh. I also ordered some tortellini which was delicious as well. During dinner, we were joined by a swarm of other Italian participants in the tournament and the atmosphere was all around fantastic. Did I mention we had wine? We shared 3 bottles amongst the five of us. Cabernet Sauvignon, produced in Italy. Yummy.

                        After dinner, Pier Luigi took us to a casino in Venice. I've never even been to a casino in Canada and here I was at one in Italy. I'm not normally one to gamble, so I paid the small cover fee and observed Pier Luigi win at roulette. He turned 40 euros into 130 euros like nothing. After that we left, remaining true to his motto "quit while you're ahead".

                        Today was by far the most full day I've had since the beginning of my trip. I met a lot of new people and developed some new friendships. I have 1.5/4 now, so hopefully I can get a win with the white pieces in the morning. I'm looking forward to see what the new day brings.

                        Zach

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          December 29th was such a tiring day that I couldn't bring myself to write the entry. I slept for 11 hours. Here it is!

                          December 29th

                          Now that I'm sharing a room with Christopher Repka, I've adjusted my sleeping schedule a bit so as to not wake him up too early. I woke up around 8:30 am, ate breakfast with my new Italian friends, drank my american coffee (you need to specify here, because espresso is the default!) and then headed to the playing hall. They now give out the pairings only 15 minutes before the round, so I don't even bother trying to prepare anymore.

                          I played my round 5 against Italian master Marco Gallana (2247). In 10 years of playing in Canada, never have I played the most theoretical variation in chess... until now. It took 1300 dollars and flying to the other side of the world, but I finally played against.... the poisoned pawn variation in the Najdorf. It had been a year since I last looked at it, and it took me a long time to remember the correct moves. One hour of clock time and 30 moves later I wound up in an advantageous position that I spoiled due to a single inaccuracy, and in the ensuing endgame I made a one-move time trouble blunder in a dead equal position. It's so disappointing to finally be rewarded for studying theory, only to throw it all away. 1.5/5.

                          PGN and annotations to round 5: https://www.chessdrop.com/EMdzsJQwdmrT7Tuya

                          My friends Max and Giorgio helped me mourn as we made our way to the same restaurant that we had vouchers for in downtown Montebelluna. This time I had a "timballo di crepes" which tasted a bit like lasagna without the meat. It was delicious! On the way back they requested I sing, so I gave them a taste of some Canadian music.

                          My round 6 game was against Daniele Zarpellon (1938). Another London system... "kill me now", I thought. I tried playing a bit differently from my previous game, but still wound up in a position where my opponent decided to trade all heavy pieces. I managed to outplay my opponent in an endgame with all minor pieces. 2.5/6

                          PGN and annotations to round 6: https://www.chessdrop.com/JZAyPMmxkdppMdxf4

                          Someone had let it slip to Pier Luigi that I was yet to try Italian pizza. So, that night we went to a Pizzeria in downtown Montebelluna. Among us were the usual crowd, Desiree Di Benedetto, my roommate, Christopher Repka, as well as a couple new faces such as FM Francesco Seresin, a truly amiable and fun guy, and Samuele Comai a nice guy who I enjoyed talking with. My two pals, Massimiliano Botta and Giorgio Nordio also joined us. I had a margherita with prosciutto and mushrooms. It was amazing! Never have I seen such thin pizza in my life. I joked to my friends that the thicker pizza in Canada explains the thicker people. True story!

                          That's about it for December 29th, when I got home I laid on my bed and woke up in the morning. My roommate told me my snoring was terrible, but that he still thinks I'm a great guy. Tonight, I'm letting him fall asleep first as I write this.

                          In summary: A very long day, disappointing round 5 game, and because of that loss I'm still on -1. On to the penultimate day!

                          Zach
                          Last edited by Zach Dukic; Sunday, 30th December, 2018, 09:57 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The penultimate day was an eventful and memorable one. I was going into it on 2.5/6 and losing about 5 fide, so it would be a chance to get back on track.

                            December 30

                            My morning routine was similar to the previous days, including breakfast with the Italians. We spoke about chess, languages, and pending homework assignments. Many of the young Italian players lead a life not so different from my own.

                            My round 7 game was against Italian FM Gabriele Lumachi (2254). As white I was expecting a Berlin, but he played 1...g6. Alright, no problem, I had prepared the Austrian attack against the modern defence. Well, after 3...d5 I was completely out of book and forced to improvise. By burning time and playing logically I got a solid opening advantage, but after move 20 we were both down to our last 5 minutes. I honestly feel that in some way I made my opponent play slower because of how slow I was playing. It was poor time management I suppose, but it was one of those games where there were so many things to consider on every move early on. In time trouble I simplified when I could have pressed, and we drew after my opponent missed a win. 3.0/7

                            Round 7 PGN and annotations: https://www.chessdrop.com/f95qsWy2NXoyfJ8Q4

                            Today I walked to the lunch place with my roommate, Christopher Repka. He's having an extremely successful tournament, which is a miracle, he says, since he has been lost in almost every game. He told me that even in lost positions, he is truly enjoying playing chess, and he feels that its his love for the game that allowed him to save those positions. It's nice to see that there are some GMs making a career off of chess don't get sick of it, and at they end of the day they're doing what they love. I had gnocchi amatriciana for lunch. More pasta, what a surprise!

                            My round 8 game was against English master Alistair Hill (2219). He played an English, but chose a rather passive setup.. and then proceeded to give me an exchange. The rest of the game was spent trying to convert it, which wasn't easy in such a closed position. I ended the game on a nice queen sac. 4.0/8

                            Round 8 PGN and annotations: https://www.chessdrop.com/u55ZFQ9e8NNpsnrTF

                            Tonight I went out for dinner once again with Pier Luigi, Desiree, Christopher and Igor. Pier Luigi called it "a typical Italian meal." Along with the wine (of course) we were served a variety of cheeses and caprese. They also gave us jam to put on the cheese. Who puts jam on cheese? Apparently Italians do. My main dish was a mushroom risotto which was quite tasty. After dinner, we had a man come to our table and prepare and after-dinner alcoholic drink. Perhaps somebody can help me out, but it was called Roma... something. Roma Amaro I believe. He used hot water to heat up the glasses and then poured in the alcohol thereafter. A nice way to end dinner!

                            Back at the hotel, Pier Luigi, Desiree, Christopher and myself snuck back into the tournament hall after hours. We played winner stays on in 1 0 bullet. I was able to score 1/2 against each GM and 2/2 against Desiree. It was a lot of fun to play chess with the people I've been hanging out with for most of the week.

                            Once we finished playing bullet, I began writing the blog entry for December 29. As I'm wrapping up the entry for December 30th, I'm extremely tired and ready to get some sleep vs my likely IM opponent tomorrow. If I could end the tournament on 5/9 I would be very happy.

                            Zach
                            Last edited by Zach Dukic; Sunday, 30th December, 2018, 10:33 PM.

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                            • #15
                              What great friendship and food. Thinking about local tournaments, we should try to invite out-of-town visitors out for a group lunch. Although less time in 2-rounds a day events.

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