The Greatest Comeback of My Chess Career

NM Flicflac
Oct 17, 2016, 9:31 AM |

Sup chess brahs,

This past weekend I went to one of the monthly G/60 Sunday Tornados that the Seattle Chess Club holds. I was excited for this event, as I had finished analyzing my two games in the last quads I went to, and I wanted some extra material to study. I have also spent a lot of time training my calculation skills in the last two months as I see it as a big weakness of mine, so I wanted to see if my training has payed off or not. Conclusion: probably not, as you'll witness in my round 3 disaster below. Foot in Mouth

In round 1 I was paired against a 1650 rated junior named Daniel Pogrebinsky. Against Daniel I decided to pull out one of my old favorites, the Smith-Morra gambit. I don't know why, but lately I've been in a much more adventurous mood and have been experimenting with a bunch of swashbuckling openings that I don't normally play. Although they are fun to play, the one issue I have with openings like the Morra Gambit is that I feel like the games are not educational. It is mostly just a bunch of missed tactical shots that decide the game, and any theory or ideas I learn from the Morra don't really transfer over to other kinds of positions.

Round 2 I got a rematch against Joseph Truelson, who I had played at my last tournament. I decided to go back to my long time favorite Sicilian defense against e4 after playing e5 almost exclusively for the last few years. Again, it was my risky mood that lead me to try experimenting with something new. I regretted it pretty quickly as I ended up in some pretty serious trouble out of the opening when I took a pawn that I thought was free, but ended up having to give it back immediately after. Luckily, he let me defuse the pressure, and I ended the game with a mating attack out of nowhere:

My round 3 game is going to be the greatest comeback you guys have ever witnessed LaughingCool In this game, I played an 1800 rated junior named Karthik Shaji. I started off again with another offbeat try in a Grunfeld where I played an early h4 on move 5....only to lose a rook four moves later(!!!!!). This was probably the biggest crass blunder I have ever made in a tournament game, which set everything up for what is also the biggest comeback I have ever made in a tournament game.

One issue I noticed in some of my previous games is that I tend to beat myself up after making a mistake. I think this game showcased a significant improvement in my mental game, where I never beat myself up for making a mistake like 7. e3?? and even after I realized I was going to lose a rook, I stayed completely focused on coming back into the game. It is incredible that I play like a 1000 rated player for the first 10 moves of the game, but yet slowly outplay Karthik for the next 50 moves to come back. 

At this point I was 3/3, and was going into Round 4 in clear first place. I won a miniature against Joseph Frantz in the Na5 gambit line of the Two Knight's Defense. He was even nice enough to invite me to dinner with some other friends after the game, which was a nice ending to winning clear first with 4/4 points at the October edition of the Tornado:

Anyways, when I got home I calculated how many USCF rating points I'd gain from going 4/4 at this Tornado and the ratings estimator said that that I'd gain 7*. FREAKIN. POINTS. I don't think I'll be going to these G/60's again in the near future, because beating 4 A/B players in a row is not easy and to only get 7 rating points from it seems disproportional to the amount of effort I spent to win those games. Furthermore, you'd think after winning each game, I'd eventually play someone closer to my rating. But the highest rated player I played was Karthik at 1810, almost 400 points lower than me. I did win a cool $100 for my efforts though, which will cover my entry fee at the next tournament I'll be at, the Washington Challenger's Cup.

USCF Crosstable:

*(apparently I gained 8 points instead of 7. Yay me!)

Until next time,