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im in a tournament this sunday for USCF who thinks tournaments are to be won or improve ratings both are nice to do but what is more important for me to focus on comment answers
But the most important thing to do is just have fun.
Obviously win the tournament, which will also improve your rating.
Yeah it seems like winning the tournament accomplishes the other goal anyway.
are you guys uscf certified
well, yes and no. Although it is true that if you win all your games in a tournament, you can't lose rating points. However, if you're so much higher rated than everyone else you won't gain many points either. And all it takes is one measly draw or loss and bam your rating plummets. That's why I ask if there is lots of money and or a title involved - because if there is, then it is worth it to be as high as possible in a section. Otherwise, you're better off being in the middle of a section (pre-rating order).
I presumed we were talking about the same tournament, rather than a choice between 2.
"If one does not intend to win, one should not sit down at the chessboard." - A. Karpov
Of course for the most part, playing to win the tournament and playing to win rating points involves the same thing - playing to win! Only in a last round where a draw against a lower-rated player might clinch a prize for you is there any conflict.
If you think you're quite likely to lose to a higher rated player if you played for the win, going for the draw might be the better strategy for your rating anyway.
yes, for the most part - but I have experienced one very notable exception. I call it the rule of 1.5. That is, in the final 2 rounds of a tournament, what are the odds that you can get 2.0 and what are the odds that you can get 1.5? If the 1.5 can get you something notable with 1.5, then you start calculating potential pairings. In many cases, it would make sense to go for a draw instead of a win in the 2nd to final round.
Here's an example. Back in May, at the US Elementary School Nationals in Nashville, TN in the K-6 division (the highest division), I was the #6 seed going into the tournament. At the end of the 5th round (out of 7) I had 4.5. The top seed, Roland (2179) had lost to the #5 seed Alex (2018), so Alex was all alone in 1st place with 5.0. The 2nd seed Vignesh (2135) was at 4.5, the top 4.5. A lot was at stake - the top player would get a $1500 scholarship, 2nd place was $1000 and 3rd place was $500.
So the standings looked like this at the end of round 5:
Alex 2033 5.0Vignesh 2127 4.5Ethan 2062 4.5William 2049 4.5Me 2015 4.5Amir 1945 4.5Lots of others 4.0, with Roland 2179 being the most notable
In the 6th round based on the normal Swiss pairings, I was paired with Ethan. I was reasonbly certain that my fellow Californian friend Vignesh would beat Alex, and that would be a really tough match for me to go up against Vignesh. Vignesh had played me twice before in the last 6 months (I got slaughtered by him in the final round of the 6th grade Grade Level Nationals and then drew with him 3 months later) and knew my game, so I really thought that that would not be an ideal matchup. So the question became, if I went for the win and be at 5.5, one of two things would have happened - I would be the top 5.5 and play Vignesh, or I would be the 3rd 5.5 and would have to play the top 5.0 which undoubtedly would be Roland. Out of about 16 different scenarios, I think there was only 1 where I would play Alex or Amir or William.
On the other hand, if I were to draw and then be at 5.0 going into the final round, I undoubtedly would play someone significantly lower than me, because there probably were going to be about 12 people at 5.0 and I would be most likely the #2 or #3 seed with the 5.0 group. So the coaches and I decided that I should play it safe and not try to overextend. Luckily for me, Ethan, who I had played before in Las Vegas last year and drew quietly, also was thinking the same thing and the game ended in a very uninspiring 25 move draw. Just like I thought, I got a 1800-rated player as my last-round opponent.
As it turned out, Vignesh did beat Alex, but Amir scored the upset and beat William. That was bad, because that meant in the final round Vignesh, at almost 200 points higher than Amir, would meet for the championship since both were the only ones at 5.5 out of 6, while I was at 5.0. Bad because I thought that Vignesh for sure would win and the rest of us would be left sharing 2nd place. Amazingly enough though, they drew, which left the door wide open for others to share the national championship, which 3 others did, including myself (Alex and Roland too). (Side note: Ethan drew his last game and thus did not share in the championship)
I hope you followed all that....this is very common with players trying to figure out the odds and final round pairings and all that.
I cannot assail the logic of that strategy. But I'm with Kaufman - if you are in it, play for the win. You maneuvered to get a potentially higher final score by playing weaker opposition, it's excellent game theory. It isn't showing the taste for blood you need, though.
You should be wanting to take on the top rated opponent every round and play for a win. Yeah, you'll lose a few more that way, and miss a trophy from time to time, maybe even a share of a title - but you also will also start beating them a lot quicker.
A draw with Guzman is impressive. But think how a win against him would have felt! Or even to at least made him ask for it.
Watch the first four Rocky movies in the week before a tournament, and get mean and hungry. Eye of the tiger.
What I'm saying is: Don't be the guy your rivals are paired with and say to themselves, "Okay, maybe we'll have a strategic draw." Be the guy they say, "Oh, rats! This guy takes no prisoners, he plays out every ending."
Be the guy they hate to play, and before you know it you'll be the guy they are calculating how to avoid being paired with. Make them WISH they were paired with Guzman!
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