Australian Open: Part 1
The Australian Open just concluded, and was won by GM Ni Hua with a phenomenal 10.5/11. My own score was a little more modest, but I'm still happy with my performance, finishing on 5.5/11 and a performance rating of 1950. The time controls were 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment throughout.
In the first round, I held a much higher-rated player to a draw as Black after I found a nice positional Exchange sacrifice to ease the pressure.
The events of the second day showed me how difficult such tournaments are. I lost the first game after a lapse in concentration and went down in flames in the next game, after I tried too hard to win quickly.
Fortunately, I was able to pull myself together and did not lose another game for the rest of the tournament.
My poor start meant that I played a lower-rated player in Round 4. He played the opening better than I did and equalised easily, but after he dropped a pawn on a7 I was confident that I would not lose.