A Player's Perspective

A Player's Perspective‎

WIM energia
23 | Middlegame

I just came back from the US Women’s Championship and want to share with you my impressions as well as chess game fragments. First of all, I would like to thank all the chess.com fans who were rooting for me during the Championship; it is amazing how many live spectators came up to me in St. Louis and recognized me as ‘energia’ writer here. So, I am very pleased that chess players read and learn from the articles I write here. 

 3 points out of 9… what went wrong? The opponents that I faced were very strong and experienced, no denying it. I think my biggest weakness was the time trouble I got myself into every game. My friend who is a GM defined giving 30 min time advantage to your opponent as the same as giving up a pawn. Let’s see one of the positions that was thrown away in a time scramble.

                The first round was a game against Anna Zatonskih, who went on to win the event with 8.5/9, a spectacular result and I congratulate her on this impressive achievement. Anna won the event smoothly, getting better but solid positions and outplaying opponents by having a higher chess class. When asked what her plans were for the last round (she had already clinched the title) Anna answered that she would play, looking back and saying that there were 3 people that she would have offered a draw: me in the first round, since she didn’t like her position, Ruzudan, and Foisor in the 8th round to secure the title. So, lets look at this first round battle that set up the mood for the rest of the event- me finishing at the bottom part of the crosstable and Zatonskih winning the event.

                Since, I had only two wins in this tournament I should show one of them. This was an eighth round game. I had just lost two games in a row: against Baginskaite by refusing a 3-fold repetition of position and against Abrahamyan by being on the defending side in a Dragon. I had no chances for top places anymore but this game was important for me to finish the event at least somehow respectably. On the other hand, Melekhina was fighting for second place and an IM norm, losing only one game so far in the tournament to Zatonskih. I have never played her before and I know that she improved greatly over the last year, so the game promised to be interesting.

                Overall, I think that I overworked on openings before the event. I changed openings for every game, the preparation turned out to be great but I did not have enough energy to finish off better positions. Every day was like 3 hours of preparation and 6 hours of game. It was just too hard to handle so much intense mind work for 9 days. Also, not being so active lately contributed to a bad form. It is important to learn from events like this. I learned that time management is as important as keeping your material and that sometimes it is better to relax before the game to have a fresh mind, rather than load yourself with variations and come to a game with a fried brain.  Well, as I am writing this my mind wanders to whether I will do well on the upcoming two midterms… back to real life..

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