RARing the Endgame: FIDE Invitational Round 8

NM Joseph_Truelson

Generally RAR is related to attacking chess, not positional or endgames. However, sometimes RAR is also in the endgame. Because I did have a strategy to achieve my only win in the tournament. The odd thing is that I never moved my f pawn (that is usually what I call "RAR").

In the 8th round, I got to play my profile picture. He was having an impressive event with 5/7 and had beaten many of the good players, including Karthik Shaji. Meanwhile, he was lucky enough to play one of the worst players in the event, Joseph Truelson, posting an unimpressive 1.5/7! Obviously everyone expected Vignesh to win, but no one more expecting of this than Joseph himself (I was determined to win, but I thought that I would lose).

"Yes! I get to lose again! I'm going to have 1.5/9. and lose a 100 rating points, and brag about this event forever!", I said excitedly. I tend to brag about my losses more than my wins, since I've realized that my losses are more interesting, and also that my wins are boring and if I show my wins I'll hear someone saying "Oh, this person crushed him" and "Stop showing off", etc. So I go with the attitude of "I drew a 900 and the next time I played her (Alison Xiao) I was down 5 after 7 moves" and "I lost to a 1300 (Rushaan Mahajan) in 6 moves", and "I messed up two drawn pawn endgames (This event)" and "I keep losing in every event" and "I'm Terrible" and "I don't know what else to say except that you will beat me too". 

Vignesh must have been confident with my extremely odd approach of the game. After all, I don't think anyone has ever faced such a pessmistic opponent. With me confidently saying that I was going to lose, he must have been confident that he was going to win. But, it was all part of the RAR strategy. While this only seems to work once every 10 games, Vignesh was the poor victim. I RARed Vikram, who was doing amazing at the Kings vs. Princes tournament, and borrowed his endgame skills. When I was playing at a master endgame strength, it was pretty clear that Vignesh would have no chance. Thanks Vikram! I'll need you for all of my tournaments if I want to stay above 1800. 

I understand that the commentary for this game is much shorter than usual, but it will have to become the norm. Why?

1. Every day during school and after school I spend a few hours playing bughouse on chess.com, and have to wait more time than I actually play because HANQI has to do homework the whole day! (I hate it when people put studying over me. They are really missing out on the best things of life...)

2. I'm lazy: (90% of the time)In my free time I just don't have the willingness to write a blog sometimes. I would rather read some terrible chess book, or talk with people, or RAR somebuddy.

3. Life is just always busy!: I have to study on my own for a few subjects, get tortured with 3 instruments (Luckily I'm not expected to play the piano, guitar, and flute simultaneously yet!) and another instrument coming up soon, and just life!

Vignesh was really excited to play me. Before the game, he told me how he was refuted the Qb6 line which makes the London look stupid, and said how it was losing. So that meant that maybe I should be more cautious. Either way I was interested. How can you refute that line? Find that out, and less... right now.

I was simply amazed after the victory. I hadn't felt happier about a victory since the Tournament of Champions 2 years ago. And that was because I had lost so many games. 

The thing is, after a few mistakes in the opening, I played my best endgame ever! That was really encouraging. Naturally, this led to me to be more excited than ever. One interesting moment was after the game, when Vignesh was upset and said that he was good at endgames, because he had studied them a lot. But to get good at endgames, you don't need to know basic positions. It takes something else, not sure what. Because I've had a lot of endgame failures as well. Not to criticize Vignesh, but he messed up nearly every move, which is understandable because endgames are hard!

After the game, I was super excited and was ready to have some fun. So I gathered another high rated player who still likes having fun, Anthony He, and we decided that we were going to RAR. After exploring the whole building and going up and down the elevator and stairs multiple times, we started the "RAR" vs. "BURP" ideas. But it is more fun to have more people. So we tried to convince Vignesh to have fun with us. I'm not sure if we were trying to scare him, but the plan was that we would try to distract him and make him go away from the elevator, and then we would run in the elevator, leaving him on the 5th floor. It didn't work, but it was fun trying. Then I decided to pull off something silly. Since there were only two doors open inside the staircase, I exited the staircase and held the door shut. Vignesh and Anthony tried to get out but they couldn't open the door because I was keeping it shut. Anyways, they took around 10 minutes before they finally found their way back to the skittles room. 
Just a few minutes later, me and Anthony tried to reconvince Vignesh to have more fun, but he wasn't going to have fun anymore. Neither was my last round opponent, Eric Zhang. He was probably ready to beat me. I researched his openings and found that he plays the symmetrical English as Black, the Modern Benoni, and the Accelerated Dragon, and I told him that.  So he probably thought he better try to come up with another opening, even though I didn't do any research on the openings that he played. (My plan was to play a symmetrical English and see if I could outplay him, and if I could just take a GM draw).

Later, Mary Kuhner told me that I should eat between the rounds (something I usually don't do) so that I would be ready to beat Eric in the last round. This was because Eric was having an amazing event, with 7/8 and in clear first place! If I beat him then there were chances for people to tie for him for first. So I decided to go to McDonalds, a very bad decision. 2 McDoubles and a "Large Fries" (The size was really small!) costed $8, thanks to the minimum raise wage. In Minnesota it costed $4. Oh well, that's ok, since I have no usage for $4. After some preparation for the next round, which included telling my opponent that I was going to scare him, the last round came. Was I going to play for a win or a GM draw? I wanted to win, but I didn't want to risk anything. So I figured that the best option in this situation was to play 1.c4, and thats what I did.

This is so tense, isn't it? For the next week, your mind will be clouded thinking of the variations arising after 1.c4, and wondering what happenned. But what did happen?  Did I win, lose or draw?

Find out in my next blog, "My favorite GM Draw"