After a lackluster US Open, I really wanted to give the Manhattan Open (Aug. 17-21) my best effort. My goal was simple: play fighting, uncompromising chess! I wanted to obtain interesting positions against amateurs and GMs alike. I wanted to do my utmost to create problems for these opponents at every stage of the game. I wanted to immerse myself in battle and push my limits!
The result: 5 wins, 4 losses, no draws. Not even a single draw offer!. This has never before happened to me in a 9-round tournament. My games were long (average > 46 moves), topical (plenty of experimentation in fashionable opening lines), and successful for Black (including a streak of five straight games where Black won). I defeated all of the lower-rated players I faced, but went 1-4 against the GMs. After beating GM Nick de Firmian in round 7, I was within striking distance of a GM norm. Alas, I lost a complex game to GM Alex Lenderman in round 8, then declined a reptition and overpressed against super-talent GM Eltaj Safarli in round 9.
Below are the games. The Hedgehog win in round 2 was neat and seemed incredibly natural to play. My game vs. GM Kacheishvilli left me feeling completely outplayed. The Safarli game was deep. Really, all the games were interesting in one way or another.
I still need to digest everything, so part II will probably contain some analysis/conclusions along with a discussion of my preparation and mindset going forward.