My Participation in the Montebelluna Cup

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  • #16
    Zach... thanks for taking the time to post these updates. I must say I am finding them very interesting and enjoy this. Good luck in the final round(s).


    • #17
      Games 1 and 2 are nightmare games. That you could recover (and I believe they both happened in one day?) and post a decent score speaks to your abilities and fortitude. Its really hard to play two rounds of master chess a day but what doesnt crack you will toughen you for future tournaments. A great experience.


      • #18
        Its great that you speak Italian and that you sought out chess friends and made the most of your social experience. Those chess friends often lead to future connections. Any plans for further Italian tournaments?


        • #19
          How do I get the raw PGN data from Chessdrop? There doesn't seem to be any icon etc. that points me in that direction. Thanks!


          • #20
            Zach, thanks for the stories, enjoyed them.


            • #21
              Zach lost the last round, the game is here:


              • #22
                Hello everyone!

                I must apologize for this extremely late reply, as once I made it to Calabria to visit my family I no longer had an adapter for my computer charger. On the bright side, it made for a more meaningful visit with my relatives! Before getting to the last blog entry, I'll take a minute to reply to all of you who've commented on the blog!

                Erik: I've come to realize that food is life in Italy. This became even more clear to me once I was hosted by my family in Calabria. I'm always open to meeting and welcoming new people from other countries.

                Kerry: It has been a pleasure! I'm also happy to be able to look back on the experiences I had. My apologies for not replying sooner, it's been a busy week!

                Hans: You're telling me. In game 1 I went from being dead lost to coming back and forcing my opponent to play accurate moves to hang on, only to throw it all away in one move. In the past I've had a difficult time recovering from games like this, but something about being in a new foreign country changed my attitude. It helped me stay positive for the remaining rounds. As for speaking Italian, I began learning it two years ago as a means to communicate with my family in Italy. Nobody else in my family in Canada speaks it besides my nonna, and I wanted to ensure the connection between our families is a lasting one. It is very gratifying to be able to travel to a foreign country and speak their language, but this was the first time I experienced what that it was like to communicate with friends and family in Italian. It was a truly enriching experience to say the least. Pier Luigi spoke to me about a tournament next August about two hours north of Montebelluna, and my family says that's an ideal time to visit, so I'll definitely be looking into that.

                Hugh: Hi, Hugh. For me, there is a little arrow that, when clicked, gives a dropdown menu with "download pgn". If it doesn't show up for you, I will make a post with all game PGNs.

                Tony: I'm glad you enjoyed reading them, as I enjoyed living them!

                John: Indeed I did, but I hope nobody thinks I abandoned the blog because of the round 9 loss, I will comment on it below.

                December 31

                After a great night out with friends, I was ready for the final round. I went about my normal routine of a shower followed by breakfast, and I spoke with my Italian friends Nicolo Orfini and IM Francesco Sonis about the tournament and my first time in Italy. The pairings were released 15 minutes before the round, and that's when I discovered my opponent, IM Christoph Menezes from Austria. To provide some context, Christoph and I faced each other in round 10 of the 2014 WYCC in Durban, South Africa. In that game, I was completely crushing on the black side of a KID, and right before time control instead of delivering the killer blow I decided to repeat moves, which allowed him to slip away. He later survived a piece sacrifice, emerged material ahead, and won the game. It was a crushing loss, and I was ready to redeem myself. This time I had the white pieces, and a quick database search showed he played two openings: the najdorf poisoned pawn and the berlin. Two openings that could simply not be more opposite. I was desperately hoping for a fun attacking game in the last round. After all, who plays the Berlin vs an opponent rated 250 fide less?

                Apparently, Christoph does. He gleefully played out the moves initiating the Berlin, and I was forced to go into a random sideline I learned 5 minutes before the game because I have no understanding of the endgame that arises. Naturally, I got no advantage out of the opening, but still felt the onus of playing for the advantage. I played for a plan that seemed logical, but I wasted a lot of time contemplating it since I didn't know if it improved or worsened my position. A few moves later I blundered a pawn to an elementary tactic.

                For the rest of the game I was discouraged, and simply tried to pose him problems. He slowly converted his advantage, forcing me to sacrifice the exchange and then lose another pawn. However, I then came up with a clever pawn sacrifice that got my king closer to his king, and he actually ended up in somewhat of a mating net. Eventually, it got to the point where he would have to give the exchange back to not get mated, and the resulting rook ending was drawn. However, one move before forcing this exchange, I put my rook on the wrong square, throwing away what would have been my best swindle ever. I ended the tournament on a loss. 4/9

                Round 9 PGN and annotations:

                Although a disappointing end to the tournament and a missed opportunity to gain valuable fide (I went up 2 points only) I was still ecstatic to have participated in the tournament. Overall I played some good chess, and I don't think my score reflects the quality of my play. I hope that the lessons learned from these games will help me grow as a player.

                After the final round, Pier Luigi took Desiree, Chris and myself to Treviso for lunch. I owe so much to Pier, who allowed me see so much of where he grew up and experience Italian culture in its essence. I will never forget his kindness and warm welcome. I was able to see some of the beautiful architecture Treviso had to offer, before helping myself to a "hamburger di Scottona" which was the first and last hamburger I had in Italy. Don't get me wrong though, it was beautifully cooked and delicious. For dessert, I told myself that for 5 euros, I had to try tiramisù. After all, I was in the region where it was invented! It, too, did not disappoint.

                After lunch, we ran some errands for the New Year's Eve party that was later held that night. We got limoncello, amaro, vodka, tequila, and wine. Lots and lots of wine. As I was leaving for Calabria the next morning, I made sure to have fun, but at the same time did not overdo it. It turned out to be quite an eventful night.

                Present at the party were familiar faces that I saw throughout the tournament, such as FM Edoardo Di Benedetto (Desiree's brother) and IM Francesco Sonis, both of whom I had a great time playing blitz and foosball with. Since they are both 16 and I was taking it easy on the drinking, I spent a lot more time with these two guys in particular. We talked about goals with regards to school and chess. Edoardo and Francesco are both extremely bright and I wish them the best in their future endeavours. Hopefully we will find ourselves in the same tournament in the future.

                At around 2 am, I made it back to my hotel. Since everyone had been drinking, I opted to walk. It was only a half-hour stroll, and I was able to take in the late night festivities and celebrations that were taking place on New Year's. It was nice to be able to take in the scenery of Montebelluna one last time. Back at the hotel, I conked out right away.

                The next morning, I had to pack my things right away and get ready to go. The same man who brought me from the airport to the hotel would be waiting for me in the lobby to take me back to the airport. I said one last goodbye to my friends in the lobby before kissing Montebelluna goodbye.

                This concludes the chess portion of my trip, as from the airport I went to Lamezia Terme, in Calabria. There, my cousins were waiting to pick me up. They would then take me to Serrata, a tiny village of 1000 residents where my grandmother grew up, and where I would later meet the rest of my family for the first time. It was a truly moving experience.

                I stayed in Serrata for a few days before flying to Milan, to meet my cousin Valeria, who moved away from Calabria for work. Along with her boyfriend, Alex, and her roommates, Paola and Valeria, they helped me discover Milan. I saw famous architecture such as "il duomo" and "il castello sforzesco." I also managed to step on the "bull's balls" in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is a painting on the floor that, when stepped on, is supposed to provide good luck. Later that night we met up with more friends and played Monopoly. It was a memorable experience in Milan.

                I am finishing this final blog at 2:56 am on January 7th in my bedroom in Ottawa, ON. Tonight, I drove back from Fonthill, ON, where I was spending my last couple of days of the holidays with my family. Today marks the beginning of the new winter semester, and after two weeks of chess and spending time with family and friends, I am ready for my final semester at the University of Ottawa. Here is to a successful semester!

                Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog. These last two weeks have been one of the best times of my life, and I'm glad I was able to share that experience with all of you. I appreciate any feedback or suggestions you may have for future tournaments.

                In 4 days, I will be driving almost all the way back to Fonthill to play in the CUCC (Canadian University Chess Championship) organized by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. After organizing a successful tournament last year at the University of Ottawa, I look forward to playing in this tournament one last time alongside my teammates Mihnea Voloaca, Francesco Dunne and Jikai Zhang. It would be amazing if we could win it in my last year.

                Once again, thank you for following along, and I'll be writing again soon.

                Yours in chess,

                Zachary Dukic

                Last edited by Zach Dukic; Monday, 7th January, 2019, 04:10 AM.


                • #23
                  As promised, here are some pictures!

                  December 26 and December 27


                  • #24
                    December 28 and December 29


                    • #25
                      December 30 and December 31


                      • #26
                        Miscellaneous pictures with family in Calabria and Milan:


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Zach Dukic View Post
                          Hugh: Hi, Hugh. For me, there is a little arrow that, when clicked, gives a dropdown menu with "download pgn". If it doesn't show up for you, I will make a post with all game PGNs.
                          No sign of any arrows except those used to go forwards/backwards in playing out the moves on the board. Maybe you need an account for this feature to show? Thanks!


                          • #28
                            Great write up Zach! I enjoyed reading it all.


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Hugh Brodie View Post

                              No sign of any arrows except those used to go forwards/backwards in playing out the moves on the board. Maybe you need an account for this feature to show? Thanks!
                              Here are the PGNs Hugh.

                              Attached Files


                              • #30
                                Thanks Zach for your excellent blog and thanks for communicating to all. I hope your blog is an encouragement to others to go play and then write about it.