You are more than welcome to skip this word salad and just go straight into the games, (Which I think are quite interesting), but since it's my first blog, I will explain what my blog will consist of and what I will try to achieve with it, so this first blog may be a little big longer than I wanted.
So... I have decided I'm going to start blogging; I see it as a way that can help me improve and break not only the 2000 barrier, but hopefully become a titled player soon. (I'm 1897 at the time I posted this). I have been playing too many variants lately, and I feel like blogging about chess will get me back on track.
Of course, I hope this doesn't just help me, but you as well, you handsome stranger, although I seriously doubt this will get many views. Any feedback will of course be greatly appreciated.
I'm going to analyze my games mostly although I will likely analyze other people's games too, because lately I feel that it's the best way to improve. Analyzing games and seeing the mistakes and how you could've improved.
BUT, I will also try to post about openings, endgames, tactics, strategies, other people's games etc.... because I want to know the different concepts well enough that I can efficiently explain them to someone. Anyways, enough of this cockamamie babble, let's talk about chess.
So what was my best tournament?
It was the 2015 Texas State Scholastic Championships; I scored 6/7 to win 2nd place in tiebreakers (the USCF cross table says I finished 3rd but they order people by rating rather by tiebreaker points). I know, I know, it's anticlimactic. My best tournament is one where I placed 2nd? Yeah, unfortunately, although I could've gotten first, as you will soon see in the games.
The time control for the first 4 games (day 1) were game 60 5 delay, and for the final 3 games (day 2) they were game 75 5 delay.
After a fairly easy round 1 thanks to that Nxb5 move, I felt that I could finish in the top 10 if I kept playing without blunders.
After the scare I got in round 2, I realized that this tournament was going to just get tougher as only the top players will be left undefeated by round 4, so I went into round 3 a little too nervous.
After this round, I knew only the top dogs remained. I knew I was gonna have to play likely a 2100, so I took a nap to recharge for this vital last round of the day.
This marked the end of the first day. I was lucky to escape with wins in round 2 where I could've been down a piece, and in game 4 where I blundered a key central pawn right out of the opening.
I stayed to see the final results of the round, and to my delight, I was the lowest rated undefeated player in an odd number of players (5). So that meant #1 was facing #4, #2 would face #3 and I was going to play the top player that wasn't undefeated, which was great for me, because I was the only undefeated that wasn't 2100+.
And perhaps even better, at least for me, was that I was facing someone that I know quite well, which I think helped me. In our previous match, a game that I will likely go over soon, I was brutally destroying him, but made a series of blunders which ultimately cost me the game. So I wanted revenge, and I got it!
By now, I knew who my opponent was going to be. There were only 2 people with a perfect score because board 2 ended up drawing. I had gotten a bit lucky with the pairings to this point, but now I was going to be facing the actual top dogs.
After this excruciating draw, I knew that as long as I didn't lose I would get 2nd place. I was already exhausted, but it's not over yet. I knew I was going to face NM Tommy He with white, because he was the top player with 5 points.
One small problem. I saw him destroy NM Curran Han's dragon as white in the previous round, so I was scared to play it vs him. I talked to my "coach" which was just a teacher from my school that also played played chess with us, and he told me to play the Dragon anyway and to trust my skills, so I did and here's what happened.
So I got 2nd place in this extremely tough State Tournament... Do I regret taking those draws and not playing them out to try to grind out the trivial wins? Of course! That uncertainty never goes away, but I learned my lesson. I won't play the opponent, I'll play the position. If I have a winning position, I don't care if my opponent is Magnus Carlsen. I won't take the draw. I will always wonder whether I could've actually pulled one of the biggest upsets by winning my Scholastic State Tournament with a perfect score against all odds.