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More Strong Tournament Competition
Spoiler: I did not win a trophy! 😢

More Strong Tournament Competition

DanielGuel
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25

Welcome to my blog! I appreciate all of the support in the comments section of my most recent post about losing those points (and for 1K views, lol). Since then, I've played a tournament in Fort Worth, and hopefully, it'll be a better experience! The tournament was run by Blakeman Chess, they run tournaments in the DFW area, scholastic and Open. 

This particular tournament had two sections: Open and U1800. I think I had to play in the open anyway (as my published rating was still 1818). I would have anyway, as I wanted to get some strong competition as usual. 

As a side note, I published my games/analysis on my Youtube channel! I've embedded my video analysis after each game... feel free to check out! 

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A few random disclaimers before we begin:

1) If you were one of my opponents for a past, present, or future tournament, and you don't want your name published, please send me a kind message saying so, and I will likely remove your name... I don't get this issue much, but I understand some people are concerned for their privacy  

2) I don't use my blog as a platform to reveal all of my opening prep... I don't get paranoid about it either, because who really spends their free time preparing for ME?! But joking aside, I do believe my "prep" will show up in games anyway, and my games are no secret, so if you want to know what I play in a specific opening, just look through my games! Sometimes, I may defer from revealing opening improvements... it's stuff you can research if you really want to!

3) I didn't run every move of every analysis through Stockfish. So if there's a mistake in my analysis, please kindly let me know, and I'll edit. 

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In round 1, I was paired with Vaseegaran Nandhkumar (2035 USCF). He won the Amateur section of the most recent Texas State/Amateur Chess Championship. I was obviously excited about this pairing!

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KEY MOMENTS:

  • 9... d4? was not very accurate, miscalculating 10. Ne4 as a possibility needed to expand on the Queenside.
  • 18... Nd4? was the mistake that cost me the game, there was no need to hurry in that situation, a move like Be6 would have been very solid for me.

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I was obviously not happy to lose round 1, but it was to a stronger opponent and a great learning opportunity. My second round was against Krishna Sumanth (1928 USCF). This was his first tournament since before the pandemic began, and he lost round 1. So maybe I could take advantage of some rustiness? I had some of those thoughts leading up to the game, but it was important for me to focus on playing.

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KEY MOMENTS:

  • 11... Nf4? was also unnecessarily rushed, when I could have made improvements to my position.
  • So was 17... f5?
  • The whole endgame was interesting, but 47... Ke5! would have been winning.

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Alright, a win is a win! It did feel somewhat cheap given that he ran out of time in a drawn endgame... however, to be fair, he should have moved quicker, and I did get a winning pawn endgame (even if it was hard to find), so I don't feel too bad! My third round was against Barrett Winchell (1984 USCF). Once again, another opportunity against a stronger opponent! 

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KEY MOMENTS:

  • 17. b3 was weakening, there was no obligation to further defend my pawn.
  • 31. Qd3? trades into a worse endgame.
  • 39. cxb5 would have simplified into an equal endgame, which I didn't take the time to calculate
  • 43. Bd1?? um, yeah...

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So that was a bummer way to end the day (it was the last round of a 3-round Saturday). I think the game ended between 9-10 PM. I decided to drive over to BJ's to grab some dinner... I had pizza 🍕 honestly, a little bit overpriced, but it was good. Time to get to bed, and focus on rounds 4 and 5!

Round 4... Sunday morning... time to eat breakfast, check out of the hotel, and check the pairing. I was paired in round 4 with WCM Ambica Yellamraju (2097 USCF). She must have been struggling, as she was also at 1/3, though she went into the event as the #3 ranked player... but as always, we gotta focus on the game!

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KEY MOMENTS:

  • A little lack of opening understanding... 10... Bxf3 is called for.
  • 14... Bd7 instead of 14... Be8 (as played)
  • There was still some life left on move 16, but it didn't really come to my senses.

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So with one more round to go, I was ready for my potential pair-down, which wouldn't have been ideal for me, but it is what it is, and I'd play chess with whomever I was paired with. And when the pairings came out, I was paired with NM Sharvesh Deviprasath (2315 USCF). Huh? How did I get that pairing? For whatever reason, he took two half-point and two zero-point byes this tournament and only chose to play one game this event. His intentions for doing so are not known to me. I thanked the pairing gods. I calculated that I would not lose rating this event even if I lost to Sharvesh, however, coach reminded me on text that "safety nets" can be detrimental, and I need to focus solely on playing the game. 

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KEY MOMENTS:

  • 19. f4 made things very interesting.
  • To draw the game or not? The game otherwise was just very chaotic.

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Winning some of those points back! 💪

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So as an overall reflection... on the surface, I'm not all that happy with 1 win, 3 losses, 1 draw. Not to puff me up too much, but I don't give myself "moral victories" too much. However, drawing the final round vs a master was a good result, and I think the rating gain was overall deserved. Definitely an improvement from last time! I went over the games with my coach... he acknowledged that I played well for the most part, but there were also significant improvements needed for the future.

That's about it, folks! My next tournament is the 2021 US Class Championships in a week! I got confirmation from the organizers, I should be eligible for the Expert section, as my June published rating is still 1818, and we're allowed to play one class up. Right now, I'm the second-lowest rated player in the expert section. Lol. But it'll be more opportunities to face off against strong opposition! 

Oh, and one last note... if you've read this far, then you're awesome! 🙌 Also, some of my tournament peers also read my blog (even higher-rated players!). Just wanted to give a big "Thank you" to those who recognize me, say "hi", ask about my game (even when I get crushed, lol), etc. It's inspiring to know I have fans! ❤️ Feel free to comment on this blog... I love seeing the discussions/interactions!

Oh, and one more thing (I promise). I will be releasing another AMA... expect a post by the end of this weekend!

Oops, I broke my promise but I have some pictures for you to enjoy!  

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