My First OTB Withdrawal??

My First OTB Withdrawal??

DanielGuel
DanielGuel
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24

Howdy, chess fans. I just got back from my first big OTB tournament since the lockdown! It feels great to once again do these tournament recaps, and hopefully, some more coming in the future! 

And yes, the title was correct, I did end up withdrawing at some point in the tournament, and if my memory serves me correct, this was my first ever withdrawal in an OTB event. I will explain at the end why I ended up withdrawing. For those who weren't aware, I participated in the 2021 Dallas Chess Club FIDE Open this weekend. I have not had time to do a deep reflection and analysis of my play, but I did want you guys to know how it went! Without further ado, here are the games. Oh, and the time control was 90|30 -- 90 minutes per side, with a 30-second increment after every move!

*Disclaimer: I did debate to myself in the middle of writing whether or not I should keep the "withdrawal" title. I decided to keep it, as I don't know of a good title that would reflect the event, and besides, the post is really about the games

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LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Having good opening "preparation", and being able to follow it up is one thing. We see that with 14. dxe5

  • On that same note/move, I need to pay more respect to my opponent's possibilities. I knew that 15... Bd6 existed, but I didn't put much time into it during calculations. I certainly had the ability to in a 90+30 game!

  • A lesson for my opponent  don't rush to simplify! Once that happened, my position became easier to play, and 24. e5 was critical.

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My next game was against another young talent, who had just defeated a 1954 in the first round! So that was a scary pairing

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LESSONS LEARNED

  • Gotta review that Gioco Piano theory before my next tournament!

  • I mean... not much else... I thought 16... c5 was a good find in an otherwise boring position.

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This relatively quick game gave me a few hours to chill in my hotel room before the evening round. What did I spend my free time doing? I prepared this lamb gyro for lunch I bought from HEB the afternoon before, digitized my games into my computer, reviewed my lines a little, put on Packers vs. Rams football on TV, and took a little cat nap! After a nice shower, I felt refreshed for my round 3 game!

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LESSONS LEARNED:

  • 13... Qh4 was a little boneheaded by me, there was no Kingside attack, so I need to take the position positionally (haha, good phrase! )

  • It was important for me to kill White's counterplay (21... b6 stopping Nc5, 22... Re7, etc discouraging e4). 

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OK, so off to my hotel room again! I turn on the Bills vs. Ravens football game going on, doordash some Buffalo Wild Wings to my room (it was kinda meh), watch some Youtube videos to relax, then go to bed! I suppose I did not please the pairing gods for round 4, Sunday morning! 

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LESSONS LEARNED:

  • On 7. e3, don't be so dumb in the opening!!! 7. Bg5 was perfectly acceptable.

  • 17. Na6 instead of 17. e5 gotta work on those tactics...

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So I was on 3/4, no losses, and one more round to go later Sunday afternoon! Although, I made the concious, and strange decision to withdraw from the event. Why? 

For one, I was feeling dejected about my play in the 4th round. I squandered a pawn up game, and got a little lucky to get back into the game. Also, I was a little bit frustrated that I was paired down (paired vs lower rated players) every single round this event, given the investment I made with the expensive entry fee, hotel, food, etc. Although, there was no way I could have anticipated this before registering. Plus, I got to go home early!

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Just a few more notes before I let you go. The competition this tournament was VERY young, which was an interesting experience. My opponent's ages were 8, 9, 15 (guessing), and 9. The thing about kids is that they RAPIDLY improve, and their ratings might have yet to catch up to their true strengths with practice during COVID. So at the end of the day (hey, it's not a cliche saying, it's literally the end of the day here right now! ), I don't feel too bad performing 3/4 with no losses against young, lower rated, but very talented kids.

Lastly, I did plug all of my games into Chess.com's Analysis tool, my accuracies for the games were 96.8, 95.1, 94.9, and 98.0 for rounds 1-4 respectively. I didn't make any blunders, a few mistakes here and there, by biggest error was probably missing 17. Na6 in the last game. Now computers ARE bad at evaluating human play. It only accounts for the moves played. Not the variations I was thinking about, time management, confidence, etc, so I take these numbers with a grain of salt.

Did I play well? I don't really know. I do feel like I could have improved. I'm going to take a few days to reflect, analyze the games with coach, and take it from there! Thank you all for letting my blog be a place for me to share my thoughts!!! I love reading the comments. I'm hoping to play some OTB in February, no solid plans at the moment though. I will see you soon for my next post!

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UPDATE: The rating reports just came out! I went from 1790 --> 1787.