From 23-30 July I participated in the U1800-section of the Czech Open in Pardubice. It was my first long time control tournament ever; I had played in regional rapid/blitz tournaments before, but this was a whole different level. The time controls were 2 hours for 40 moves, and then 1 hour for the rest of the game. Naturally, I thought most of my games wouldn't last the entire 6 hours, and most would either be decided in a time scramble or even before that, because not everybody uses all their time.
On the first day I was almost 2 hours late for registration, I was told that I was registrant number 225, and that they didn't have an opponent for me. Luckily though, another person was also late for registration. He was also the #2 seeded in the competition, with a 1796 FIDE rating. That person was my opponent for that day. And what a game it was... It was the longest OTB game I had ever played, not only in moves, but also in time. In total it lasted 5 hours and 30 minutes, him having 20 minutes left, me having 10.
The next day, still tired from my last game, I got paired with a little girl from Uzbekistan. I think I didn't play my best chess in this game, but I'm still happy I won this game. I think she played well, but at one point she started giving me her pawns, me happily accepting all of them.
Because this girl played very fast, my game was already over after about 2 hours. So I decided to take a look at the free game analysis with coach IM Satea Husari. He was happy to analyse my first round game, and from that day I had come to his analysis every day to analyse my game and other people's games too. I think this is a great initiative and it is very educational for all people there, not to learn only from your own mistakes, but also from other people's mistakes!
The next day was the 2-round day. I would play 2 games that day, one started at 8 AM, the other one at 4 PM. The first game was against a Latvian man with a national rating of 1750. I was out of book after move one, so I had to use much of my time on the opening.
At this point I was becoming almost happy that I lost my first game, because I was only meeting opponents now who had also lost a game. I believe this is called an 'Unintentional Swiss Gambit'.
The next round, I (inevitably) played a little Russian boy, with a national rating of 1550. But of course, never underestimate a Russian, especially when he's 10 years old.
So after 4 rounds I was at 3/4. It was a score I was pretty satisfied with, especially since I was aiming for at least 50% for the entire tournament, meaning I'd need only 1.5/5 from now. Of course that wasn't the right way to think, but I just wanted to play chess and win as much as I can. I just think it is good to have a goal you can play for, so you can reflect if you are satisfied with your results and to get more motivation to play well.
The next day I played quite possibly my best game ever. I sacrificed a bishop for 3 pawns, at the cost of leaving my king in an awkward position, with my opponent able to attack over 3 semi-open files.
Now at 4/5, I was starting to play the strongest people in the tournament. In the next game I played on board 7 out of 113, against a German girl.
Having lost this game, I somewhat fell back on earth. If I had won this game, I probably would have started thinking about winning this tournament, or at least falling into the prize money!
The next day I played a Russian kid rated 1750, though god knows what his actual strength is. I played a quick draw, because I had a bit of a headache, although I regret it now. I really think I was better when we agreed the draw, but I was afraid my headache would get worse and lose me the game.
At 4.5/7 I had now achieved my goal of getting at least 50% in this tournament. In the penultimate round I once again played a Russian, now not a little kid, but a 16-year-old, just like me.
In the last round, I played a man from Israel. I once again was out of book after 2 moves, and I accidentally sacrificed (that sounds so much better than blundered) a pawn on move 6, but I got some nice compensation in the form of better development and more space, posing some problems for my opponent. He eventually gave me back the pawn, to solve his development problems, and even gain an advantage because of his better structure. In a theoretically drawn rook endgame, I 'accidentally sacrificed' my rook and resigned a move later.