Nathan Chen wins Thunder Quick IV
By CM James Neal
There were 16 players that attended the event with the top seeded player being Joseph Wan. He told me before the event he would be playing openings and defenses that were barely sound and indeed that was the case.
The first round saw no upsets, the top five players were: Joseph, Nathan, Anish, Owen and Steve (the only adult in the field). The second round Joseph got himself into serious time trouble and was upset by Nathan. The other notable match-up this round was Anish vs. his younger sister Anjali they are starting to make a habit out of being paired up in these local tournaments.
The 3rd round was filled with tense games. The two notable games were Steve Jacobs vs. Anish and Owen vs Nathan. In the Owen - Nathan game Nathan got himself into extreme time trouble, 30 seconds versus Owen's 7 minutes. The position was dynamically equal but dynamic is not a good word to hear when you have less than 30 seconds to make all your moves. Owen proceeded to pick off pawn after pawn but towards the end he overlooked an unstoppable mate threat aided by a king 2 connected passers and a rook threatening the back rank. I was watching the end of the Steve - Anish game and thought for sure that Steve was winning this one as he was up a Rook late in the middle game. I almost entered the results in to pair the 3rd round but as I returned I found out Steve had blundered clean his Rook. Anish was up 2 pawns and proceeded to reel in the point in the time scramble. On another note, I tried to convince Joseph Wan to play 1.e3 against his round 3 opponent but he chose 1.a3 and beat him convincingly.
Following the third round, the two leaders at this point were Anish Lodh and Nathan Chen (3.0/3.0) and they were set to face off in round 4. They played a French (1.e4 e6) but the game didn't last any longer than 20 moves as Nathan offered a draw in a slightly worse position that Anish accepted.
The final round featured a matchup between Joseph and Anish. In order to win the tournament Anish would have to beat Joseph so he tried to get into his head by bringing up the mathematical probably that he would beat Joseph based on his draw to Nathan. Joseph agreed to play 1.e3 against Anish. The game quickly changed to Joseph's favor when Anish had to give up a minor piece to avoid losing his a8 rook that was under attack by a light-squared bishop on f3. The game ended with a K+Q vs K mate. Also, in the final round Owen won his game with Steve convincingly.
The tournament was a success and we all had a lot of fun, some of the participants played Bughouse as we were cleaning up. In the coming months we will have more events like this so keep checking the webpage or like Hawkeye Chess Club on Facebook to stay in the loop.