If you haven't read Part 1 of this blog, it's here:
So, we left off with myself having managed a grand total of 0.5/3 from the first 3 games of the tournament. Needless to say, not very impressive! I was feeling slightly angry with myself for playing so poorly, but not at the expense of composure, and so I sat down to play my next game, determined to play the best moves I could. My opponent, graded only 151, was on 1/3 and I had the White pieces, so I was confident.
We swapped off queens early in an Alapin Sicilian, and I got the upper hand in a relatively safe position. I then proceeded to miss a tactic, and then to miss a simple, simple win, letting my opponent off with a draw. Damn this rapid chess. Still, at least I scored something.
I was ok after this game, blissfully unaware that I had choked on a win and generally played inconsistently again. So, 1/4 and the fifth round awaits.
In the fifth round, I was playing one of a couple of chaps who had taken 4 losses so far. To be fair, at 153 he was graded near the very bottom of the section. I thought to myself, if I can't beat this guy, even on poor form, I am not where I thought I was in chess.
The opening was an Evans Gambit, he accepted, but then chose a poor continuation. I was better throughout the whole game, and showed no mercy condemning my opponent to his 5th straight loss, and thereby scoring a much-needed win.
Yes, 2/5! A respectable total has been reached at last, especially for someone playing at the bottom of the section. What, you say this is still a minus score overall? Well, I looked, and there were plenty of people on less, so there .
Anyway, the final round was now upon me, and I sat down next to my opponent, who was also on 2/5. I almost didn't glance at his scorecard, but I did, and immediately wished I hadn't; he was graded 203 (FIDE~2275), although he himself was also on 2/5. Obviously not having the greatest of days.
He surprised me with a weak opening, probably trying to confuse me. I built up a decent advantage, peaking at a chance to win a pawn with 19...e3! which I didn't consider in the game (Always consider pushing a passed pawn, even if it is connected!) After that, I managed to do nothing for long enough for him to catch up on development and gain equality. Then ... I hung a piece to ANOTHER FORK along the a2-g8 diagonal on my king. Ssdfuybvsfdvgfdktfchcjvgcj
Looking back at these games just makes me cringe.
So, I ended up with 2/6. Going on my estimated rating, this is surely about what I should expect - only thing is, I think I can do much, much better than that.
Lessons to learn:
- Calculate more in 20 minute games, you have more time than you think! I think that lack of experience playing 20 minute time controls meant that I wasn't playing good enough chess moves, wasn't calculating enough or taking enough time. I was constantly afraid I would run out of time, because I found it fairly difficult to read the clock accurately at a glance (get digital clocks, damnit), which was particularly a feature of the second game. I think my quality of play would probably not have decreased at all if the time control had been 5 minutes each instead of 20.
- Be more consistent; I do think this was just a bad day and will watch out for the signs more in the future.
More - It was peculiar that I managed all 3 losses with Black. I got good positions in two of those games as well, and couldn't find good continuations quickly enough. Meanwhile, as White I didn't lose, although I could have been more enterprising with some of my openings - maybe something to look at. I especially want to start playing Open Sicilians.
I calculated my TPR for the tournament at 155.7 (~1900 FIDE), which is a joke, I don't feel like I played at 1900 FIDE level in this tournament. 900 FIDE, maybe. Still, I know I can do better than that, especially in slower games, so I can take a degree of comfort from that. Maybe?
Anyway, thanks for reading!