I’ll try to make the blog post interesting and fun to read for the readers! I will give short descriptions of my games, since all of my games from the tournament will be in another post.
The 2013 WA Miniteams tournament, which was on 11/16/2013, was where teams of 3 people from the same high/middle school compete against other teams. Redmond High School has not yet competed in a chess team event, so I thought it was interesting to try it out. My brother Samuel He and I got our friend Tejas “Teho” to join our team. Teho hasn’t played chess in a few years, but we taught him some quick traps to use in the tournament (Sadly, he didn’t have the chance to use them) Our team average was around 1850, which was one of the highest rated teams, so we had plans on winning the tournament. I played on board 1 (the hard games), Samuel played on board 2, and Tejas played board 3.
My brother and I arrived at the tournament pretty early and we checked in. When check-in was supposed to end, Tejas has not arrived yet! Samuel and I were pretty worried that he wouldn’t make it, and our team would have one less player. Luckily, he showed up just in time! Round 1 started at around 10:30, and our team was paired against a team with an average rating of 1300. My opponent on board 1 was rated 1300. I decided to play more aggressively (why not?) in this game, so I pushed my center pawns up, and eventually gave up two pawns for a big attack. The ending was a rook sacrifice for checkmate! In Samuel’s game against an 1100 rated player, he played my recommendation of 2. d6 against the c3 sicilian, but he was confused and misplayed the opening, allowing a queen trade early in the game. After a surprisingly long game, Samuel finally won on time. In Teho’s game against an unrated player, the position was pretty even most of the game, but in the middlegame, Teho won 2 pawns. Suddenly, his opponent blundered his queen, but Teho played too fast ended up blundering his own queen! The next thing that happened was too lucky. His opponent must’ve been to excited and he blundered his queen AGAIN! This time, Teho took the queen, and eventually checkmated. 3-0 in round 1. Whew!
Round 2 was against a strong team with an average rating of around 1500 I was paired against a 1760 on board 1. He started with 1. Nf3 followed by b3, Bb2, and e3. I was very surprised and had no idea what to play against this opening since I play the exact opening as white‼ I got out of the opening with an equal position, but I eventually trapped his knight and soon he resigned. Samuel’s game ended quickly from a fast kingside attack. Teho played a 1000 rated high-schooler (who was very underrated). After being worse for most of the game, Teho blundered and got his king and rook forked. Teho played on until checkmate, and his opponent didn’t make any mistakes at all. We had 5 points out of 6, which was still near the top.
Lunchtime was next. We were all pretty hungry from all that chess, so we ordered some pizzas to eat. Teho ordered “cheese-lovers” pizza, which we all expected to have just a bit more cheese and less other stuff. Strangely, there was like five layers of messy white cheese stacked on the pizza, which pretty much made in inedible! Teho ended up throwing it all away. Lesson learned: Never order extra-cheese pizza!
In round 3, we were paired against a stronger team. I had to play Masayuki Nagase (~1900) on board 1. I have played Masayuki at least 10 times OTB, and I usually have good results against him. I got an advantage out of the opening, and I found some nice moves to win a pawn and have the bishop pair. After simplifying the position, I found I was clearly up a pawn and have the advantage of two bishops vs bishop + knight. Then, Masayuki played a tricky move, which forced me to trade my bishop for his knights, resulting in an opposite colored bishop endgame. Being up a pawn didn’t help, so I had to accept his draw. My team did better though. Samuel played 1. d6 and his opponent pushed too many pawns on the kingside, weakening his king. Samuel eventually opened up the center, and found some tactics to win the game. Teho played a very strong game in round 3! He forced his opponent to give up a piece, and he easily simplified the position, making no big mistakes. Our team had 7.5 points out of 9 at this point, which we considered good.
Round 4 was the strongest team we played. On board 1, I was playing ToTo Nagase, Masayuki’s brother, who is also around 1900 rating. He played the exact same opening against my English, and I also got an opening advantage. I soon saw a tricky move, which won a pawn. Then, I got a passed pawn on the queenside, which was very important as I continued to push it all the way up, and eventually ToTo resigned. In Samuel’s game on board 2, he was clearly not in a good position in the middlegame. In some time trouble, Samuel’s opponent messed up and fell for Samuel’s traptics (ha). Teho had a very bad game, and blundered a piece on move 10. He didn’t recover and slowly lost piece after piece! We now had 9.5 out of 12. The leading team had 10.5, and we were tied with a few other teams, so we knew our last round game needed to be wins for us.
In round 5, our team played another team with 9.5 points. I played my friend Noah Yeo on board 1 as black. He is usually a pretty strong player and very hard to beat. Instead of my usual b6 sicilian, I played the Kan, and got a favorable position for black. White played passively, and I got the bishop pair in an open position. Noah did some minor blunders and I soon got a winning position. Samuel’s game was interesting. He played the Closed Sicilian and got his usual attack on the kingside. After some mistakes in time trouble, Samuel’s opponent resigned. We were all carefully watching the top team’s games, hoping we could tie for first. Now, for my favorite part of the entire tournament, Teho’s game! The quality of Teho’s game was poor, but the ending was just miraculous! He was clearly outplayed throughout the whole game. In the endgame, Teho had 1 pawn against his opponent’s 4 pawns. Samuel and I calculated that his opponent’s pawn will promote first, and Teho could resign. Luckily, Teho never resigned, and he played on. His opponent brought his king back to fully stop the pawn to be safe. Suddenly, his opponent made a weird blunder, which allowed Teho’s a-pawn to promote! Very lucky game!
I will post my games tomorrow in a new blog post. Good night, thanks for reading!