100 Mile Drive To Lose One Rating Point?!
When you can't think of a better title that fits a description for this tournament

100 Mile Drive To Lose One Rating Point?!


Hi guys. I hope all is well and those of you who are in school (shoutout to you) have a WONDERFUL spring break ahead of you!

Time for me to "brag" about my tournament games again! Well, most of them are not really "brag-worthy". I played an alright event, but in the end, things did not work out, and I lost one rating point (sorry for the spoiler! ). Not really many anecdotes to make from this tournament, other than I hopped into my old, but functioning car (brownie points to you if you can guess what year my car is! ).

So... I arrive around 30 minutes early (I gave myself plenty of time since I'm still getting the hang of freeway driving), though those 30 minutes talking and socializing with chess friends feels like 10 when the pairings are announced! I was pitted round 1 against Robert Curtis (1494 USCF).

Key improvement points:

  • (12... Nd5), always calculate captures/other forcing moves, and blunder check!
  • Gotta play the late opening/middlegame quicker, as draining a lot of time in that game did not help my result.

Learn more about my opponent here!http://www.seriouschessplayers.com/scp_brazos_2017_curtis.html#brazos

That's round 1! Sorry my notes weren't great. I'm pretty sure I had annotated the game in full, but the annotations got deleted somehow!  

Time for round 2... against Devin Tassin (1530 USCF). This guy I played defeated me back in October to help contribute to one of my worst rating losses in recent memory. Would that have an effect on this game?

Key Improvement Points:

  • (16. h4), in general, if there are alternative moves especially if the main move is not great in itself, always check those! Especially if that "main move" is moving a Kingside pawn, or weakening a square in general.
  • (20. c6) Don't let your "win a pawn" instincts override your overall sense of danger!
  • It's possible to survive dangerous attacks in time pressure!

Well, 50% done was the tournament. Time for round 3 analysis against Marvin Bolden (1711 USCF), a game my GM coach calls a "textbook game".

Key Improvement Points:

  • Don't play the opening on auto-pilot, especially if you don't know the opening very well (like I didn't)
  • (14... Ndxe5) While it is dangerous to bring your King to the 3rd/6th rank in the middlegame if you gain something tangible at the expense of temporary discomfort to the King, though the opposing side lacks clear compensation, go for it!
  • Decline draws if you have chances to win the game outright!

Alright, so the "Swiss Gambit" really rewarded me! (Swiss Gambit is drawing a lower-rated player early in a tournament so that you get easier opposition in future rounds). My final game was against Thomas Capps (1725 USCF), however, he was clearly on a rating growth spurt, he broke 1800 that tournament.

Key Improvement Points:

  • MAINTAIN THE TENSION!!!!!! Failing to do so will give your opponent's an improved position!
  • What else can I say? Bitter losses to end the tournament are OK... just take it as a learning experience and move on!

Whew! Sorry, guys if this is slightly below expectations... like a typical college student, up past 1:30 AM writing this (sorry Mom and Dad!). So if there are some mistakes wherever, feel free to point them out (and forgive me in advance! ).

Thank you all. I do have one more tournament I need to analyze... then I have 2-3 more tournaments in March alone(!). I will keep you guys posted!