Before I left for Charleston I
asked my parents for money and prayed that I would be returning with
more. I didn't know what kind of competition to expect from the
antiquated port city, I knew Tate and Pohl were going, and I was happy
that I would be avoiding the likes of GM Curucuru. So Mabe and I went
down, we decided to stay in the hotel the Snowstorm Special was being
held in, and it turned out to be a good choice since the rooms were
comfy and spacious. We went to enter and David Causey, the organizer,
gave us early entry(!) since on my website it hinted that we were going
to Charleston. Ten very much need bucks were saved in that transaction,
the same ten bucks that would later buy me a lucky pizza!? The
Snowstorm Special is an event that is completely open, so lower rated
players can play against higher rated players. The prize is attractive
since there is a grand prize for the champion and class prizes for the
supporting actors. The payout was 95% the advertised amount,
In the first rounds there weren't many problems with lower rateds even though they did play uncharacteristically well for lower rateds. However, Leland managed to draw Tate in the second round, quite impressive for someone who has not been on fire in recent weeks. A week before Leland said something about showing the world his true talent. I guess he chose the right time.>
In the third round I was paired down and won a piece out of the opening. Mabe lost to Burden in a game where Mabe did not play like the Babe. Pohl beat Dr. Pena and the other top board drew.
On the last day I woke up to the strangest song that I have ever heard on the radio, it was a mix between 80s, raggae, techno and punk, it was an omen of things to come. I ate a banana and went to play my game. My opponent was NM Henry Terrie III from New Hampshire. He played an english and I easily equalized, and when I was able to attain the advantage I blundered. He got the advantage and gave it back to me. And right when I could have ended the game in a sure draw, I gave the advantage back to him. So my greed would cost me the tournament. Or would it? I played a game with Shawn Pealer where I made a miraculous comeback, so I tried to do it again. After falling into time trouble my opponent made a move that seemed to lose the advantage. He 'dropped' a piece but failed to realize that he was still winning. So I drew. Pohl-Burden ended in a draw, they played a lively game. When Burden offered a draw Pohl walked to the pairings to do some calculation and after some thinking he took the draw. At the time he made the calculations and took the draw I was completely losing. Fuerstman and Tate crawled back into the lead.
The last round was tense as it was
my chance to finally win a big tournament. Pohl played an off-beat
opening and after some maneuvering I happily came out the victor.
Burden, who has beaten GM Thorallson and drawn Jaan Ehlvest, simply did
not play his best against Tate who was just prepared. And to the
astonishment of many, Leland picked up a piece, took another and then
slammed his down. His hapless opponent resigned. So after collecting a
nice sum of money I left as the co-champion, with Leland and Tate being
the other two, of the 31st Snowstorm Special!