One of the toughest events on the circuit is the US Masters, held this year from August 17-21 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The 86 competitors included 28 GMs and numerous other titled players. In this article, I present two games, related by the opening and the resulting middlegame themes, in which I faced very tough opposition.
In the very first round, I was paired up against GM Kamil Dragun, who was ranked fifth in the entire event.
GM Kamil Dragun
I tried the Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez, and he responded with the quiet 4 d3.
Two rounds later, the exact same opening occurred, this time against Jeffery Xiong, who was the highest ranked pre-tournament!
GM Jeffery Xiong
The good news is that for the Xiong game I came with an improvement! Much of the maneuvering in these games was similar. The big difference between the games was the location of White’s dark-squared bishop.
GM Michael Rohde