Southwest Collegiate Championship

Well, last weekend was pretty good for our team here at UTD. We took top honors at the Southwest Collegiate Championship in Dallas, TX.


This five round event was surprisingly strong. UT-Brownsville fielded a team that included IM Axel Bachmann (who apparently has 3 GM norms), IM Dan Fernandez, WIM Nadya Ortiz, and a number of experts and class A players. Our team consisted of myself, IM Jacek Stopa, FM Ali Morshedi, FM Igor Schneider, NM Alex Chua, and experts Michael Slepoy and Yash Gogte. Though it was an individual tournament, the top four finishers from each team would count towards an overall team score. Our team won convincingly with 16.5 points!

I was pleased with my performance. My first two rounds were pretty clean wins, but the third round against WIM Nadya Ortiz was a real dogfight. This girl can play! I tried 1.Nf3, and we quickly transposed into a King's Indian Defense. The Bayonet Attack appeared on the board and she replied with the very rare 9...Nh5 10.Re1 Kh8!?. This gave me an opportunity to play 11.a4, which in retrospect is probably a mistake (11.Nd2 is better). She missed a couple opportunities to put me to the test, and the game dragged on into a knight+queen vs. bishop+queen ending where I probably held a very slight advantage with my knight blockading her isolated d-pawn. We were playing with the G/90 +30 second increment time control, so it was a pretty big shock when she flagged! True, I had won a pawn by that time, but she retained some drawing chances.

After this round, I was black against my teammate FM Ali Morshedi, who sports a nice 2379 FIDE rating. He played a very aggressive line against my Scandinavian. Fortunately, I was well prepared. This game also went the distance, and I prevailed in a rook ending. The last round was a quick draw against my friend IM Dan Fernandez to guarantee us both a tie for first.

I played next to IM Axel Bachmann for most of the tournament. Though he had an off tournament (he drew with our Yash Gogte and lost to IM Jacek Stopa), he definitely seems like a strong player. I subsequently found out that he is "olimpus" on ICC - funny, as we've played dozens of games together. It's a small world.