First Success - Victor Palciauskas Tournament

First Success - Victor Palciauskas Tournament


In today’s blog, I share an achievement that marks my first taste of success after returning to chess and changing my opening strategy to Reti as White. The Réti Opening is a hypermodern chess opening whose “traditional” or “classic method” begins with the moves:

  1. Nf3 d5
  2. c4

with then different transpositions such as Slav Defense, and Catalan among others. As pointed out in my blog The Road to ELO 2000 - Unlearning and Rediscovering Openings I later moved to another Reti variation.

Now, the spotlight shines on the Victor Palciauskas Tournament in July 2021, a USCF correspondence chess event with a special place in my journey.

Victor Palciauskas, also known as Vytautas Palčiauskas, was born on October 3, 1941, in Kaunas, Lithuania. He is a chess player who is now a citizen of the United States and holds the prestigious title of International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster. Palciauskas was the tenth World Correspondence Chess Champion from 1978 to 1984. He has been interested in correspondence play from a young age and has focused on it throughout his career. He is recognized in the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Participating in the Victor Palciauskas Tournament, section 21VP04, was a litmus test. It is a good tournament to get used to correspondence chess and away from this online noise and cheat of Blitz and Rapid games.

The culmination of effort and determination resulted in an undefeated 6-0 score, a testament to the hours spent analyzing positions, predicting opponent moves, and crafting calculated responses. The tournament’s significance extended beyond victory; it marked a milestone with a triumph that invigorated my passion for chess.

Amidst the successes, a game stood out—due to tactics and strategy showcasing the competition. Let’s delve into my favorite game from the Victor Palciauskas Tournament, a clash against Matt LaDuke.

The game unfolded with White orchestrating a clever expansion in the center with move 10. c5, strategically pushing Black’s King Knight back. White then boldly sacrificed a pawn with move 13. e6, setting the stage for a dynamic sequence of maneuvers. A knight sacrifice followed after Blacks 17..Nb5?, with the promise of two instruments and the potential for a strong attack.

In response, Black devised a counterplan, offering an exchange to counteract White’s aggressive intentions. A series of imbalances ensued, culminating in the capture of a Rook and three pawns in exchange for a Bishop and Knight. The advantage was seized, and the endgame witnessed the emergence of two connected passed pawns skillfully maneuvered to secure victory.

I had the pleasure to play Matt again in the Individual Championship Preliminaries Group 34 and we ended with a draw. Matt LaDuke became a CCE (Correspondence Chess Expert) in 2022 image-3

The Victor Palciauskas Tournament celebrated success and marked a profound step in my chess journey as a senior. It highlighted the rewards of strategic thinking, persistence, and the joy of outmaneuvering opponents over the virtual board. And it was the third game recoginzed by USCF Check Is In The Mail: October 2021.

Reflecting on this accomplishment, I am reminded that retirement from the corporate world is only the beginning of a new chapter enriched by chess conquests.

Result Image

Certificate signed by Victor Palciauskas

Stay tuned for more insights, stories, and lessons from the correspondence chess world.

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