Drawing when I am winning: Challenger's Cup Round 5
Photo taken without my opponent's permission, but if you don't tell him you read this he will never find out- Me
It appears that I forgot to write about the finale of the Challenger's Cup Reserve (Who cares about the open), which ended about a month ago. I practically forgot almost everything about the event, which is too bad, because I can't share that much about it then. Oh well. Here is a small description of the last round of that tournament...
After my 4th round victory, things were looking pretty good. I knew that I would face Artjom Menov with the Black pieces, and that a draw would get me clear first. So I figured I would have a draw, since I cared more about winning $250 than trying to gain more rating points (If I wanted rating I would have played in the Open section). In the meantime, I had 5 hours to do what I wanted! There were many players in the tournament, and I wasted the time mainly playing bughouse with many different players. Generally, we had teams of Me and Artjom vs. the evil Vignesh Anand and Surya Gorantla. We kept trying to play all the odd openings, and in the end they won our "match", 7-5, much to our disappointment. Meanwhile, every so often I would check on the unimportant open section, where not to my surprise Not Master Anthony He appeared to be dominating. Derek Zhang also had a perfect score. They ultimately ended up drawing their last round to finish tied for first with 3.5/4, with Naomi Bashkansky also tying with them with a last round win. But that is enough about the open section. The only reason I decided to write about them was to make sure that everyone realize that there were two sections, and I had to play the harder bunch. Not Masters had a much easier time.
Many a person has made fun of me focusing on reserve section, believing that they are unimportant, and that I should be playing up. However, it is simply because they want to win, and they know that when I am there that their hopes of winning are gone. But I think that games in the Reserve section are more interesting. Often the players are out of prep by move 3 (as in this game), so they actually have to use their brains to come up with (admittedly horrible) moves. I would not argue that they are more instructive, because they are often not, because you can't even understand the good moves that they make, but they make me feel better about myself. Right now, the London Chess Classic is going on. I hear many complain that the world's elite are playing horribly (they use ChessBomb and they see all the red moves), and yet I can't find practically any of the moves that they find! But when I take a look at the games of my friends in chess club, I feel free to criticize every move they make (even the obvious recaptures), and that makes me feel better about myself.
Back to the tournament, I was pretty confident that as long as I didn't make big mistakes (in other words, be myself), that I should be able to get a draw, or maybe even a win! However, I was not that smart, and after less than 30 moves I decided to offer a draw because I was lazy, and he accepted. Even though I was better! Before I lament and accusing my opponent of cheating, let me show the horrible game:
It became pretty clear to me when looking at this game that I made a really bad decision in offering a draw. After all, I was better, he was lower rated- the only reason I did it was to win the money. It was pretty foolish of me, I must admit.
But I won.
I won! $250! My largest prize to this date! And most likely, it will be largest I will ever get in my entire life. That's how RARely I win prizes. But even though I won the money, it remained a bigger question of whether I would be getting the prize check or not. You see, the WCF said that "all prizes will be mailed out within a week". However, a month later and they still didn't give it to me! I complained to the WCF and many other about it at the Class Championships, and fortunately someone finally listened, because just last week, I finally got my check. I was planning on suing them for damages done to my health if they didn't mail me the check. I was also considering boycotts, to force them to pay not only me more money, but to raise their prize funds. (Money is the root of all chess competition. The more money, the more players).
So there ends another tournament. Another day, another $250. I hoped to continue my good fortune. The surprising fact that my rating had been going up solidly for the last few events, as it usually jumps up and down. It was now 1840.
But would it go up? Or would I prove that just after a good tournament, that I collapse, like I had at the FIDE Invitational? Find out in my reports on my next event, where I take you back in the Seattle Chess Club, against prodigies, veterans, and the unimportant others.