Game 1 from the Continental Chess Open
So, this weekend I played in my 2nd chess tournament in Sturbridge, MA. The entry fee was $160 and there were 33 players in my group in the under 1700 bracket.
My previous rating after my first tournament was at a 1523, which I thought was pretty bad for what I thought I was capable of. It was a great learning experience though; the atmosphere in a competitive chess environment is much different than it is online. Games can last up to 6 hours as opposed to 2 minutes from an online bullet game. In addition, there is much more tension psychologically and physically when money is on the line and your absolute concentration is required.
I lost my last 2 games of that tournament; I was in a position to place in the top 3 before the last two games, but the pressure got ahold of me and I wasn't able to focus on my games. The first loss was a slow and painful struggle, and the second loss happened when I was in a winning position but made a terrible blunder and lost a piece. I felt like quitting chess after that day, the feeling was painfully overwhelming.
That tournament happened a few months ago prior to the Continental Chess Open that I played this weekend (August 8-10, 2014). This tournament, I came in with a different mindset and psychological approach. I had to take away all of my expectations and pressures to win and earn money and just focus on having fun! This mindset, along with my learning experiences from the previous tournament, allowed me to succeed and play significantly better. I ended the tournament with a result of 5/6 (4 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses), earning 2nd place and winning over $1000. My USCF went from 1523 to 1735, but I've only played 11 provisional games. I think I can still climb up the rating latter with more practice.
Anyways, this was my first game of the tournament. Included will be some of my thoughts on certain phases in the game.
Winning my first game in 18 moves was a great momentum boost for the tournament. To be continued...