My favorite GM win: Washington Junior Open Round 4

My favorite GM win: Washington Junior Open Round 4

NM Joseph_Truelson

Notice that in the context of this article that "GM" stands for Garbage Master. After all, everyone is Garbage before they become Grand, if they ever become Grand at all! Also, I wished to put a photo I took of my opponent, but it appears he doesn't like it when I do that. So to bypass this rule, I looked up 'Eric Zhang Chess" on Google, and here's what I got. So hopefully that will suffice. Don't blame me that he is famous! Hope that he wontt be reading this...

By the way, if haven't read it yet, you should read about the first few rounds of the tournament here: First 3 rounds of the Junior Open

What am I doing? Why am I playing chess? How come Eric Zhang hasn't converted this winning position for him yet? And why did I just use half of my time with 13 minutes left on the clock, and now I have 6? I have to move! And why is 2400-rated Roland Feng and other good chess players watching? Why is anyone or everyone watching? Ok, I've wasted 7 minutes, I'm just going to move now!

These were some of the thoughts that raced through my mind as I was playing against Eric Zhang. For some reason, I wasn't thinking that much about the game, and instead I was thinking about other stuff. Anyways, now that my hook has been stated, (asking questions and getting you in the action, you must really be interested!) I can be boring and proceed like any other tournament report. 

I saw the fateful pairings "Board 126: Joseph Truelson vs. Eric Zhang" Oh, come on! This is so unfair! Why are they pairings pairing the top 2 players together, and then the lower rated player with 3 points gets to play someone with 2.5? If he wins and we draw, then we will fail! But then, I saw that Andreas Farny was playing the unrated 1901 FIDE player, who was really good, so I figured that 3.5/4 would tie for first. So I called "Eric, where are you!" He came, and I asked "Would you like a GM draw? We can prearrange it. How about a Slav or French Exchange? Or maybe both at the same time?" Sadly, he wasn't interested. But I knew that psychology takes a huge role before a critical chess game like this one, (I usually lose critical rounds, I need to start getting in the winning side!) so I decided to confuse him. Since I was confused myself, that was pretty easy to do.

"Hey Eric, who don't you have fun? Why are you different from all the other kids your age? Haven't you realized that you've wasted you childhood on chess?" (I played my first chess tournament in 4th grade, and didn't start playing a lot until I was 11, so I can argue that I wasted my childhood on other things.) He didn't answer and I continued "Childhood is a part of your life you will always look back on fondly, if you have a good one! Your childhood innocence is being destroyed!"

Being that telling him that he'd wasted his childhood seemed to leave him relatively unfazed, I had to say something else to get him off of his winning chess mode. "Are you happy? Come on, be philosophical, think about it, are you actually happy?" I guess that these questions were too big for a 5th grader, because he didn't say anything in response to those questions either. He appeared to be content and quiet, surely ready to beat me when we could finally start playing, as once again the round was late. But was he? Had I confused him and made him start to wonder why he was playing chess? If so, that might have been the reason I won, my weird intimidation strategies producing another lucky victory. (Although nothing could be as lucky as round 3!)

Since there was no more to be gained by talking to him, as the tournament directors were near, I found somebody that I could argue with, his name starting with a K, and that pretty much took the rest of the time before the last and critical round of the tournament would start. Also, right before the game players tried to help me know what to play in the opening. 

"You know he plays the Accelerated Dragon." One player stated.

 "Yes I know what he plays, but I don't know what I play!" I noted. (In English class I was told not to use "said" over and over again. It appears I'm improving at that, at least I said, I mean yelled so). I knew that Eric plays the Modern Benoni, and against the English either 1...c5 or 1...e5 (We drew our only other game after this move, go see my Grandmaster Draw vs. Eric Zhang for that game). But I didn't want a draw!

Playing 1.f4 seemed to be a bad idea to me, since everyone thinks I play it, even though I don't. But back to the game, openings don't matter. Oh wait, they do after I was out if prep after 8 moves! 

So, once again I decided to play d4 and play the Fianchetto Benoni. It's actually the first time I've played a Benoni, as I've only started play d4 recently.

 The Opening

Since it's an important game I might as well break it down in a few parts.

 The Middlegame

The middlegame starts off approximately equal, with my space advantage countering his queenside play. But soon the game gets crazy.

Time pressure

Now both Eric and me are in time pressure, and I somehow handle it better, due to my time advantage and maybe better blitz skills.

Since Andreas Farny lost his game against Benjamin Mukumbya (who got 3.5/4), I was the only perfect score in my section and won! Unlike last year, a playoff was not necessary. In future years I would suggest adding another round, to avoid some many players to tie for first. It was easily possible for 2 players to have 4 points, and that would have looked silly. Also, all former winners of the tournament should get appearance fees and free entries to more tournaments.

By winning I am seeded in the Washington State Championship Premier, where it currently looks like I am the only non-expert (2000+), there are even some masters! Also I will play in the Washington Junior Open 2018, and hopefully by the time that event happens I will be better.

They also invited me to the 2107 Washington State Championship Premier, and it turns out that I am actually in 9th grade, even though I thought I was in 10th grade. I guess I've been held back for winning this tournament!

Speaking of rating, my new rating (also a new record high) is 1923, which many of you are sure leaves me overrated. Don't worry, I agree. After a good chess tournament, most chess players tend to drop rating points in their next few events. It's amazing that I've gained rating for 8 tournaments in a row. (bringing me from 1791 to 1923 in 4 months) But the "streak" will end soon. 

I am rated 1923

I have a problem with that you see

Soon my rating will die

And then I will cry

Don't give then take something from me.

I know I did not win by skill,

and yet don't you understand still?

that my rating will drop,

And then I will sob,

And soon my rating will be nil.

So this is probably the best chess tournament I've ever had in terms of my performance, however when it comes to playing, then it sure wasn't. The reason I won was because everyone played worse, or I got lucky, or because I moved really fast. Put them together and I could be winning (or losing!) a lot of tournaments.

Anyways, my next event will most likely by the Lakeridge Chess Tournament. (It's a scholastic event, but since I volunteer at the school, I'll play in their tournament. And hopefully I win that event, last year I only got 2nd) After that the Washington State Championship Premier will probably be beneficial for both my FIDE and US Chess ratings, as I probably only need to score something like 2.5/9 to break even on rating, not that rating matters, but since it is a statistic it must be mentioned. And my 1746 FIDE rating will probably also benefit.

It's looking like I'm on the peak of my chess career, and hopefully it doesn't end. Anyways, I'll report on my next events soon, and whether I win or lose, I won't be surprised one bit.