The summer of chess is finally over. As a full-time college student I have limited time to play during the school year, but I always manage to squeeze in a few tournaments here and there. However, summer is a different story. I played a bunch of tournaments, probably even too many, but on the whole it was a big success. Things started off in a mediocre way- I had pretty average results in the California State Championship, The National Open, and the World Open- from all 3 of these events combined my rating stayed exactly the same. Certainly not a disaster, but after coming off a very strong string of results I wasn't too thrilled about being 2580 FIDE in January and then 2581 in July. After winning the Northern California International, it felt like my magic touch of 2011 had faded, and my results had dropped back down to a 2580 level.
However, things would soon change. After the World Open I spent a couple of weeks teaching camps, and then headed off to the promised land, formally known as Europe. Over the course of my 3 events there, I maintained a 2640 performance rating, which I had not been able to consistently uphold in the last couple months. It felt so nice to play good chess again, and the final result of breaking 2600 FIDE for the first time was also a nice added bonus. However, there was one thing I missed about American tournaments- they share prizes among scoregroups, as opposed to European events where it is done solely on tiebreak. I got 7.5/11 in Biel, sharing 4th-12th, 7/9 in Riga, sharing 2nd-4th, and 8/10 in Barcelona, sharing 1st-5th. And... I got last on tiebreak for my score group in every single one! If prizes had been shared, I would have made an extra $1,757, and if I had gotten first on tiebreak every time, get ready for it... I'd have made an extra $5,417! Maybe I should send an angry letter to Mr. Buchholz...
Instead of showing/annotating any of my games from this trip, I'll be giving an "Are you smarter than Shanky" Quiz. Each of the following 10 positions came up at some point over the course of my trip, and I was able to find the best move in half of them. I think you'll find you probably are indeed smarter than I!
After 30 games of chess in 35 days, I'm ready for a nice break from rated play, which will last at least a month and a half. But I'll still be playing the US Chess League and a rapid tournament in San Francisco. Best Wishes to all!