Path To Chess Prosperity #6 PART 2: 10/28/2017 Tournament Analysis

Path To Chess Prosperity #6 PART 2: 10/28/2017 Tournament Analysis


Hello, everyone!

Two weeks ago, I played in a tournament in my hometown, Waco Texas. I was overall disappointed with my play, missing key ideas and losing my second game by a fatal one-move blunder, though, most can't claim a disappointing performance starting 0-2 against 2187 and 1957 rated players respectively. I was able to win my final game against a new unrated player who I would estimate to be roughly 1200-1300 strength. 

The tournament in itself had fourteen players, a few from out of town. I was surprised to be paired on board 1 against Rudy Tia (2187). Mr. Tia is an accomplished player with his share of career highlights:

  • Longtime USCF expert (2000+), and currently 10 points shy of the NM title (he has never crossed that barrier).
  • Fresh off winning clear first place in the 2017 Texas Armed Forces Championship (Rudy is an Army Retiree) with 4/4 points. He also won the tournament in 2004 (I think).
  • At the time, he was the #100 ranked player in the state of Texas. 
  • Holds a 2-0 record against Daniel Guel and is featured on a blog! 

That's right. I have played Rudy one other time in a local tournament about a year ago which he won as well. I was clearly not the favorite to win this game, though I knew it was important to not hold that mentality throughout the game. I thought I played well, though after he sacrificed his Rook on my Kingside (which I defended), I began to make some vacuous moves which lead to my passivity and eventually downfall:

Some notes:
  • In the opening (or any position for that matter), if your opponent clearly has a good move (whether he plays it or not), look for a way to abolish that plan while improving your own position (like playing e3 to prevent f4).
  • It is OK to defend aggressive shots (like Rxg2). However, when you do so, avoid "defending and playing passively". When you are defending, look for the lights-out counterattack move (like f4 instead of Re2).
  • Sometimes, you have to take that risk and calculate it through! (like Nxh6).


After the game, I felt like I needed some alone time with my Teddy Bear. However, that had to wait as I needed to move on to the next round!

The game was extremely emotionally hard to swallow, as I really should have won (and would have momentarily spoiled his chances for an NM title). But, I pretty much had to forget that loss (until I went home and analyzed the games). After our lunch break subsequent to the first round, I checked the pairings and was surprised to see myself paired with Jason Howell (1957). Jason is the Waco-City Champion and by far the highest rated player in the local area.

Jason had just disappointed with a 1st round draw against 1703, while I just played a great game against 2187. You would think I had the psychological advantage in our matchup, right? Wrong? Maybe?...

Some notes:
  • As I stressed earlier, look for aggressive punishing moves rather than passive trading moves (like d5 instead of Nd2).
  • Similar to the previous point, look for progressive moves rather than back-and-forth moves (like b4 instead of Nf3).
  • Lastly, TACTICS, TACTICS, and TACTICS!!! We all know to look for checks, captures, and threats. If I had done so, I would have played Qc6 instead of the horrendous Qe4(??) and would have likely drawn the game.

I am sorry that I don't really have time to showcase my last game (win against an unrated player), as I want to get this posted soon, and I spent much more time on my higher rated opponents (however, my last opponent played tough, and I may add that game later). While the results were dissapointing, it was fun to learn from the higher rated players. It is clear that I need to play less passively if I want to improve my game.

On my last note, I went 4/4 this week in tactics. Slower than I wanted, however, still perfect in that area. 

Have a good day!


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