The not so amazing start: Washington Open Rounds 1-3

The not so amazing start: Washington Open Rounds 1-3

NM Joseph_Truelson

The photo above was taken by the Washington Chess Federation. That's right, Federations are actual people and can take photos. It is of the first round, Sherry Tian vs. Joseph Truelson. Joseph kept insisting that he took it, but I explained to him that it's not possible for him to take a photo of himself that would look like this. Realizing that I was right, he asked that I refrain from mentioning this conversation, but I sure don't care about his reputation! After all, he still forced me to write this blog- editor

On a day not long ago, (May 28th to be exact, just a month ago, which is quite early for me to make a blog), the most famous "amateur" player in the world, that is, me, came to the Embassy Suites in Lynwood to win at chess and show everyone that I was better than them. My goal was 6-0, to gain the master title (I haven't used the rating estimator, that might not actually have been possible, then again all my chess goals are unrealistic) show off my chess skills, and all this without even trying. In the end, the only one of these things I succeeded in was not trying. Not hard enough anyways. But how did this happen? How disastrous was my role model's play in this event, you might ask. Will he come back and start winning again, or will he tell everyone that he will stop playing if he lost his third round? (as did another player) With these hooks engaging you in sheer excitement (maybe not the correct terminology, but I'm trying to expand my vocabulary to seem more sophisticated) I'm sure you'll have no trouble being fascinated by the rest of this tournament report, or essay, article, detail, dispatch, etc.

 Since going back and forth in time seems to confuse many of the readers, myself included (I'm the one writing this-editor) "I've" decided to start off the actual report where my last one left off, so you guys can have a good understanding of what happened.

After winning the Washington Open Scholastic, I was happy- no, joyous, jubilant, thrilled.

After helping clean up, I decided to stay around and watch the games, since I was to be given a ride by a fellow player who also lives on the island. Many people seemed to be annoyed by this however. Tons ("that's not the correct word!"-Everyone in the comments) of people asked me why I hadn't left yet, and when I asked them why they wanted me to leave, they were confused. All of my actions seem to meet criticism by people. Playing in the scholastic was bad, coming early is bad, staying late is bad, losing is bad, beating them is bad, etc. (Forgot to use the thesaurus, oops, bad is a boring and mundane term) 

My friend's game lasted until 10:30pm. I didn't get home until around 11:30pm due to some confusion (his mom went to the last year venue, and thus was late!) as a result I wasn't able to get much sleep (Notice that this is all an excuse for every single inaccuracy, mistake, and blunder that I make for not just this event, but for the rest of my chess career). I got up around 6:30am, thus clocking in around 6 hours of sleep. Then, after going to a mass (or service, depends on the denomination) at 7:30am, I was driven to the site and was wished good luck by my family. It's always nice to feel that they support you, and I was excited (albeit not determined) to have the tournament of my life.

Arriving in the event, I went over to the registration table. Immediately I saw the bye sheet, and remembered the previous day, in which I had requested byes for "Magnus Carlsen" and "Sergey Karjakin" for all of the rounds, and it was crossed out by one-of-the-TDs, who incidentally was also my second round opponent (making me determined to get revenge, obviously). I then decided to check the actual pairings, where I learned that the rumors I feared were true: Georgi Orlov, a really good chess player, was to be playing in the 2-day section. Immediately I realized that all hopes of 3-0 in the 2 day would vanish, I'd play him and lose if I started winning. With all hope lost, I called my psychiatrist, who in addition to telling me that there's always a next tournament, managed to make medical history by creating two new concepts in the same day: a new disease called winicitis, the obsession to keep winning, and a new phobia, loseaphobia, the fear of losing. The treatment, according to my psychiatrist, was to first start drawing my games to stop winicitis, and to start losing games to stop loseaphobia. Since I did both of these in this event, I have hopefully been cured.

 And now with all the embarassing personal details aside, let's delve into the actual event. In the first round I played Sherry Tian, a Canadian player rated 1637 (The main picture is of our game)


So, the main thing I can learn from this game is that I need to use more of my time, and not miss obvious continuations. Basically, I need to use more time to see everything in a position.

I was disappointed at the result, but she told me that she was 1900 in CFC, Canada's rating system, so I was more pleasant with the result (as well as being cured of winicitis). Between the rounds, the three-day players who wished to play real skill chess came by, and I talked to some of them, telling many that I was moving. In response, some said that they wished I'd move now, while others said they were sad about it. The third group didn't care, as long as I was quiet so they could think about their moves. But actually, they came up and asked me, I'm not sure how they found out, but famous people like me always have spies and insiders leaking information to the public. But while I told them yes, it actually turns out that I'm not moving back to Minnesota, instead, just making a small move to about 5 miles away, in Bellevue. 

These questionings, however, took up a bunch of my time, as well as trying to defend my own sanity (many players and my psychiatrist begged to differ), so it didn't take feel like that long before the next round's pairings were posted. I was paired against one of the TDs, Dan Matthews, whom I'd lost to in a critical money round (lots of bribery) last year at this same event. I was determined to get revenge, and with him leaving the board to help people much of the time, I managed to pressure him on the board and on the clock, a double win for me (but they only awarded me one point).


Me at my ugliest, during round 2
That was an easy game! It would turn out to be the only easy one. Having Dan Matthews distracted (he was down to 10 minutes by move 17) made the win super easy, and for moving extremely quickly, having more than 40 minutes by the end of the game, I played well. Then again, my moves were pretty natural.

So at this point it appeared that I was having a good tournament. Meanwhile, my first round opponent had gotten a real upset against a 1800, making me feel better about myself (pretty much everything in life makes me feel better). She also upsetted a 1900 in her third round, before finally losing to Ignacio Perez.

Most people were still playing their games for the three day option for this event, as a result I was told to keep quiet. But I entered the tournament room anyways, and accidentally stepped on the (almost as famous as me) chess dog, Morgan the Dog, which you can read about in the monthly Northwest Chess Magazine. According to the magazine, but backed by no legitimate sources, he's the best player in the world, but he's content to help his 1300 owner (in age and rating) try his best to reach 1600. Actually, I kind of kicked the dog, causing it to move, then I almost tripped on it as well. Lots of people thought it was very funny, and fortunately the owner wasn't that upset (it turned out that this had happened the previous day as well). After that incident, I made sure to be very careful not to step on more dogs, and I succeeded in this goal for the rest of the event. 

Maybe having to do this caused me to lose my next game (I'm really trying hard to come up with excuses for my bad play). Playing against an expert, I faltered in a moment where, except if I'm wrong (obviously! I'm either right or wrong), the position was equal. 

That game was relatively boring, as the Fianchetto King's Indian normally is, but I still managed to find a way to lose quickly. This type of loss (blundering checkmate in equal positions) has happened 4 times this year in four different events, so clearly I need to work to fix this problem, which has been making up the majority of my losses. Again, it's mainly a matter of concentrating more and being careful and attentive to my opponent's ideas.

Now, it was clear that I wasn't having a very good event, having made a similar blunder on the same scale to my one in the first game. Prize money chances were low, and my play certainly wasn't deserving of one. However, not everything was hopeless, hopefully. My luck had clearly failed me in the first three games, but would it come back to save me for the last three? 

This concluded the "luck" Game in 60 rounds. Now, we would move on to an extremely long time control (40 moves in 2 hours, rest of the moves in 30 minutes and a 10 second delay), where my opponents, but probably not me, would avoid blundering and would try their hardest to beat me with their high level of play and amazing accuracy. 

The next game was against a Casey brother (Garrett Casey). I'd played one of them before and drew. This time I played the other one, at least I think so, since he said he hadn't played me before, and none of my opponents have forgotten playing me. After the typical announcements, which I tried to make fun of or just complain that they were too long, I told him "Good Luck, except if you play me!", played c4, stared him in the eye for good measure, and pushed the clock.