A Crazy Calculation Exercise From the World Open
Hey chess fans,
I got back from the World Open a few days ago, so I want to share a quick recap of my experience there.
Overall I did incredibly well at this tournament, with a result that might have been one of the best performances I have ever had. I drew GM Laxman Rajaram (2502) in round 1, and beat FM Joshua Colas (2472) and WIM Jennifer Yu (2366) in some very clean wins. I ended up cooling off a bit after my hot start, and ended with 4.5/9 at the end. It was still good enough to net me a 2350 performance and a good deal of rating points.
I had an especially hilarious incident occur in round 3 when I played a little kid named Jayden Lee, who legit fell asleep at the board:
I specifically remember this kid putting his head on the table after making his 12th move. Some of my opponents have done that before, but they woke up after a minute to see what happened. After I made my move and gently tapped the clock so as not to wake him up, I realized that this kid had really fallen asleep as he had not changed his posture for a good 5 minutes.
At this point I wasn't really sure what to do. I felt it was inappropriate for me as an opponent to wake him up, but I definitely wasn't going to watch this kid sleep. So I ended up going down to the hotel lobby, chilling there and talking to some people for a bit before going back up and checking up on him 30 minutes later.
As I went up the escalator to check to see if Jayden was still sleeping, his mom was waiting at the top of the escalator for me. Right after I got off she apologized to me for making me wait, and told me that she woke Jayden up now. Since I had a 45 minute time advantage, I even stopped to chat with her for 5 minutes, learning that they were from Arizona and he was 8 years old. I ended up beating him after a tense 4 hour struggle. Sleep tight young kid!
So besides these stories, I want to show you guys my last round win against Duncan Shepherd, an Illinois expert rated around 2130. This game might go in my books as one of the best attacking game I have ever played for the tactical precision I demonstrated in the game. It also involves an opening suggestion given in the comments previously, which makes it even more special for the readers of my blog. Without further ado:
At this point I spent about 30 minutes thinking after he played 20...f5 about what the best response would be here. I offer this as an exercise, as the finish is too pretty to just flip through without calculating some lines yourself. Black's last move was 20...f7-f5, white to play and win:
Don't scroll past here if you don't want to see the solution!
There were a number of spectators who were watching this game unfold, due to the interesting opening and the attack on the kingside. After he resigned, a bunch of people congratulated me on this game well-played, especially for seeing past losing the g1 rook with check to mate him in the end.
I was especially proud of this game for a number of reasons. First of all, I was happy to implement an opening suggestion given by a reader to devastating effect this game. Just goes to show how valuable reader input is to my game!
Second, I had previously mentioned how I felt that lazy calculation was one of the biggest roadblocks in my chess improvement. I had made serious efforts to improve my calculation, and I don't think I would have been able to see a sequence like what happened in the game if it weren't for my training.
Furthermore my ability to see this sequence gives me hope that I still have a lot of upside to my rating. If I can clean up some other parts of my game, and continue calculating with this kind of precision, I think the sky is the limit for my chess improvement.
Till next time,