High School Nationals Experience +

Hello everyone! First blog post in a long while! Haven't been doing much since Im usually too lazy to write one :(! Enjoy the reading!

The tournament was in San Diego, California, and since my grades were pretty good, my dad allowed me to play, as well as my brother. We left for the tournament Wednesday evening around 7 pm, after school finished. Soon, we were on the airplane around 8 pm. Usually, I like airplane rides a lot for some reason.. even though I slept for most of the time. Eventually, we got there at around 12 pm. Dan and I both wanted to play the 5-min fanatics, a chesscube tournament with many 2300s and 2400s since it was at 12:30, but my parents didn't allow since they wanted us to get lotsa sleep :(!

Luckily for us, we found out that the hotel had a 1-day free wifi thing if you gave your name and room number, which didnt make sense since the next day, we just put in a new name and got free wifi again! :D!

We stayed up till around 1 pm until we decided to sleep. The next morning, we walked over to the hotel which the tournament would be held. Dan and I agreed to play the bughouse tournament since we had some practice bughouse games on ICC and thought we were pretty good..At the beginning, Dan told me that we needed to win 1st place, but I knew that wasn't gonna happen since the other players were probably more experienced. There were 6 rds total, 2 games per opponents. We won the first 2 pretty easily with some 1. Nf6 and 2. d5 trap we learned a couple days before the tournament. We felt pretty confident! The next rounds, we finally realized that we weren't that strong when we got beat pretty quickly!!! After a few more rounds, the games became easier as we lost more, and soon, we had chances for trophyes, which were given to the top 5! However, we lost quickly the last round, and got no trophy.

Neither of us really cared about this, and we went to go eat. Eventually, we were back for the blitz tourn! This is one that I hoped to win- as well as my brother. First round, I played a 1200, which I won pretty easily both games without having to try yet. Next round got slightly harder, against a 1700. I misplayed the opening in one of the games and shouldve lost, but my opponent was not too strong, and blundered and lost. Next round, I played a 1900 from my state! I have had bad results vs him OTB, so I hoped to win my first game vs him! I beat him pretty easily with opening traps (luckily) and now have 6/6! Next round, I finally plaeyd someone higher: a 2300. I messed up a kings indian in the first game and was just losing a pawn. The next game, I got a solid position in the Slav and soon, he was using too much time. At the end, I won a pawn-up endgame. Next round, I played a 1800. He wasn't too difficult, but I blundered a full knight from tiredness one game and was unable to get anything for it, so I lost a game. Last round, I played a 2000. If I had won both, I would have trophy chances! Unfortunately, I was distracted by 2 arguements on both sides of me, so I couldn't think well. Luckily, with my bullet games, I was able to win on time down 2 queens and a rook, so i got a draw :)! My brother got 2nd place. Great job (in the blitz.) brother!

After that, we ate at another restaurant and headed back to the hotel to sleep. Soon, it was the next day, the day of round 1!

Since it was a late-game (1 pm i think?), i was luckily able to sleep more and have a good lunch before playing. After eating some good stuff, we drove back to the hotel for the game!


Round 1 I was paired against a Gabriel Sam, in grade 6. I was very lucky to play a young kid since they are usually weaker! I wasn't in a mood for a london system this game, so I played the Trompowsky, which ive recently been trying out with now a 3/3 success! In the game, he played 2. g6?!, which is somewhat inaccurate and I soon got a pretty good position. After that, he missed a tricky tactic and got a rook vs a pawn+bishop,+ knight, in the queenless endgame, and I was pretty confident I had a win. Soon, I stopped all possible counterplay and eventually won all his pawns till he resigned. A good round one for me usually means a good rest of the tournament! Dan's position seemed very bad with no counterplay, and after an hour, he came out with a sad look on his face and told me he drew, which I believed! Finally after about an hour, he told me that he won.. hehe..Pretty good there.

Next round, I expected to be paired against a stronger opponent, but was both happy and sad to see me paired against a lower rated player rated around 1800 named Brandon flores. Fortunately, he had a forfeit win, which doesn't make him a strong player! In the last tournament I played in, I shouldve lost to Noah "1900" Fields (~1900) with 1. d6. I had 0 counterplay and he was slowly attacking my king. Luckily, I won that since "It was 10:00 pm and I was too tired." Learning from that game, I decided I was not in a mood for 1. c5 after losing to 2. c3 in the blitz against that 1800, so I played the French (e6), an opening which I haven't played in a year! I played it mainly since that was a solid opening with pretty good winning chances. The game was a Kings Indian Attack, which i read in some book at a bookstore another tournament ago where black tries to attack on the queenside. Soon, the queens were somehow traded, but I was up so much in development that I was threatening checkmkate!!! The only move he had was to give up a rook, which he couldn't win back the knight that captured the rook, so he was just down a rook, so he resigned. Pretty simple win! Since this game was fast, there was time to make some Dare Game vids! Unfortunately, some WA kids have planned a Dare Game, a game with lots of tricky dares and punishments, but there was no time where all the players were done with their game, so it was edited. Since Pratik Pranav Padhi was playing in the U1600, he won pretty quickly and we did some dares. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhjZ40Hmevg - Most were pretty easy since it was pretty hard to come up with good dares, but one of the dares involved us purposely falling on the ground and shouting.. and my knee was bleeding...F! After that, we did other stuff and i soon headed home at 10ish. My brother was vs-ing a 2000 and he didn't have a very good position. Soon after, he came back, telling me that he lost! Dan never loses games, so this was a surprise! Dan remembered he had some homework and awkwardly did his homework to calm himself down. The good thing about this tournament was the pairings for the next round were put up the night before, so I had time to prepare! I was paired up finally against Varun Krishnan, rated around 2350. Luckily I was white.. or I wouldve clearly lost with my unorganized black openings. Searching through some of his games, I saw he played 1. c5, so I decided to try 1. e4 for an interesting Grand Prix ATtack. THe next day, I was happy to see 1. c5 played or I wouldve surely lost since I forgot just about all e4 theory besides the GPA.. He played a line which I have never seen before, but luckily, we were able to trade down into an opposite colored bishop endgame. He tried for some counterplay with a5 and b5, giving me the d-file for my rooks. Soon, I was able to come close to trapping his queen with the rooks, until he finally gave up and offered a draw, which I accepted as he was able to get the rooks off the board.

At this point, I was getting closer and closer to master! Unfortunately, my brother had a bad position, but soon, had the opportunity to get into a completely drawn endgame. However, his opponent didn't have much time, and Danny wanted to complicate stuff to flag him, but soon, got checkmated pretty badly! After Dan lost, he was surprisingly calm and simply said "I'm done with chess." Soon, he withdrew, forfeiting his game since his withdrawal request wasn't fast enough i think. 

The next game, I was paired against Yoyo Nagase (2030)from WA! I was somewhat scared to play him as my brother had drawn his last 2 games vs him as white in both and others have said he has improved a lot. Even worse, I was black! I decided to try out my bullet opening: The slav- in this game since I have tried every other opening against him and wanted something new. He misplayed the opening with many dubious moves in a row, and I was soon able to get a clear advantage. however, I opened the position too early, giving him counterplay. Luckily, I was able to safely win a pawn and soon, with his time under 4 minutes, I found a tricky tactic which ended up getting his queen pinned, and he resigned.

Here, I had 3.5/4! Next round, I was paired against Craig Hilby, rated around 2300+. Luckily as white! I didn't know what opening he played, so I decided to play Nf3, the "safe" move. The game eventually turned into the london system. Shockingly, he played Nfd7?, which is found to be completely losing (with accurate play from white)! I was so shocked by this. If I manage to find the win, I would be a National Master!! For readers who don't know the win, white forces 3 exchanges and gives up his bishop Bxh7+ for a st "forced" checkmate or a win. However, I realized that although the first 2 exchanges were forced, the finally exchange was a pawn for a pawn, which didn't haveto be accepted! I was very worried he wouldn't accept the finally pawn exchange, if he manages to find the win, so I tried to look as calm as possible. Then, Bryce Tiglon, who I had just studied the line with from London System Expert Micah Smith, saw my position and gave me a very surprised look. Soon after that, my opponent mustve realized what was gonna come after he captured the pawn, so he thought for about 5 minutes on the "simple" capture. After that time, he finally decided to take it since he would be down a pawn. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't find the win!! My attempt failed and I had to force a draw or else I would be losing. My opponent suggested lots of exchanges with h4-h5-h6, but the position was too complicated to be the win. After that draw, I returned back to the hotel room to show Micah Smith himself the game. Immediately, he showed me the correct move: Rd1!, which is really hard to find in the game! Still, I wasn't too disappointed in the draw as I probably wouldn't have won if he hadn't played Nd7. 

Next round, I was paired against Cameron Wheeler, rated 2370! This time, I was black, so it would be much harder to get a draw, which would allow me to get the NM title! In the opening, it was a c4 c6 slav, which soon got into a drawn endgame. However, I played inaccurately and got a disadvantage in the knight endgame. SOon, I was down a pawn, However, I found a drawing knight move which led into a P+knight vs knight, which should be drawn. Unfortunately for me, my opponent really wanted to win, and played on about 100 more moves with random knight moves to confuse me. Since I had under 5 minutes left, I had to think fast. Unfortunately, I was getting a bit tired, and moved my knight to the worst square ever, blundering it that move! I soon lost.....F.

At this point, I was very angry with this "unfair" loss.. but I wouldve done the same, so that made me somewhat feel better. The next round, I played the Trompowsky again vs a 1900. I got nothing out of the opening and soon it became a drawish bishop endgame with queens and rooks. However, luckily my opponent took lots of time and had under 5 minutes left. I then found a successful sacrifice which won the game! I ended up 2195 uscf, 5 pts from master! Ill be trying to get those last 5 points as soon as possible! :)

After that, the family switched hotels and went to Disneyland for the next 3 days before heading back home! Somehow.. I became very dizzy and sickish after all the rides, and I still am feeling dizzy and weak this second!

Thanks for reading!

Expect another blog post coming soon when I reach NM!


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