Bare Foot In The Snow!?
Anyway, last Thursday and Friday was the Utah Junior High State Championship. Unlike the 6th Grade Championship (I told about it in my last blog http://blog.chess.com/KaydenTroff/8000-step-simul) where I did not play, I played in this tournament.
When we got to the tournament a few people asked if I was doing a simul again (if you haven't read my last blog, you really should), I told them, "No I am playing in the tournament" and they said, "You will probably win it," and I responded, "Yea, maybe".
One second pause--think really hard about what I was feeling... can you feel the tension, some nervousness, and little bit of "I can do this, I can do this". I was feeling it, especially because everywhere I went people were saying "well, of course you will win" and I knew I should even though I am only in 6th grade and I was playing 7th, 8th, and 9th graders because I am almost 500 rating points higher than the next person...okay, unpause.
The first round went a little fast, but I was feeling a little nervous anyway. It went seven moves and it made me feel better for the time in between rounds, but as soon as I started walking to the pairings I could feel it again. Second game, I was feeling a little bit more nervous. My opponent played well in the opening, and I even felt like I was a little bit worse, but he ended up dropping a piece and I won.
I had to finally convince myself that I can't be nervous. If I lose, I lose, but there will be nobody to blame for me losing except myself.
After that I decided I was just going to have fun and play my best. I laughed because before the game most of my opponents would tell me, "maybe I should just resign on the first move." I even had someone come and tell me that they hate me and that I should give other people a chance to win the tournament. I told him, (I like saying this to people), "Anybody could beat me" and my mom told him, "He did do that. He didn't play in the 6th Grade State Championship last week." After that, he just walked away.
Third round was a good game. I got up the exchange and then forked his Queen and Knight to put me up a Rook. After that I did some Advanced Simplification that went into a pawn endgame where I had two passed pawns on the opposite sides. I got a queen and mated him.
After the first three rounds (the Utah Jr. High State Championship has three rounds Thursday, four rounds Friday), they did the Junior High State Blitz Championship. I played in that also. They were planning on 4 rounds (5 if necessary). Quick summary of the blitz tournament: 1st round my opponent tried the 4 move checkmate on me... can you guess who won. 2nd, my opponent played well except... he dropped his rook, I won. 3rd, I got down the exchange but he traded off his best bishop and missed that I was threatening checkmate later. 4th, I played my good friend Lauren Treiman, good game, but I ended up winning. 5th, it was going good, I was playing the next highest rated player, and I thought I had a good position, but my opponent, for only one move just... yea... and I forked his King and Queen. After the fifth round I was the only one with 5 points, it felt good to win it, have some fun, and do what I was supposed to do, but now I was focusing on the last four rounds of the Junior High State (not blitz) Championship.
We (my dad, mom, little sister, and I) went to dinner at Smash Burger. I got the Baja burger (extra Jalapeños...I like it SPICY) and some other appetizers that were REALLY good. That was my first time there. I highly recommend it!!
Next day in the fourth round, I got someone I had been hanging out with during the tournament. He played a weird opening but I ended up winning. 5th round the 9th grader I was playing (before the game started) asked me if he could circle "White won"? He was black. I said "okay". Pause...The biggest problem is that my opponents already counted on losing, not the best idea. Go try your hardest and if you lose then it is okay, but don't give up from the beginning of the game. I have to tell myself this all the time when I am playing the GMs... okay, unpause. That game was pretty good, but my oppenent dropped a piece and I won.
6th round, I got Lauren Treiman (my good friend) second to last round just like in the blitz. It was a good game and I thought she was winning at one point, but we traded off into a position where I could win a piece and the piece was enough to win in the end.
7th round for the championship, I was playing the second highest rated player, Michael Thompson. I knew I had to win it because if I drew then someone could catch me and we would be tied, and even though I would probably win on tiebreaks, I didn't want to get to that.
It was a good game and we both got a little low on time. I got up a Queen and a Knight for two Rooks. I thought I might have made a mistake because he was threatening mate with his two Rooks. I blocked it with my Knight but he piled up on it with BOTH of his Rooks, I thought it might be a draw until... I realized that my pawn was close enough to Queening that I could sacrifice my Knight but force him to sacrifice one of his Rooks for my pawn. It was fortunately enough to win for me.
It felt really good to have done it-- done what I was expected to do.
After that, I was ready to relax!! One of the best things that my parents have done is to help me keep the balance. They have taught me that balance and fun are just as important as hard work and dedication. I think this is really important especially for kids.
So, the next day, my dad, brother, and I headed up fishing early in the morning which brings me back to my title. I slept for most of the way there. When we got there, we brought out our fishing stuff and started fishing. I caught the first fish but fishing wasn't going as well as it usually does (this is our favorite fishing spot), so I decided to entertain myself by breaking ice. There was one patch of ice that I was breaking with a rock and I would run on the ice, grab the rock and jump back off. One of the times running across I broke threw and got my shoes and socks wet. It was COLD and my feet went numb... but it was so much easier to break the ice. I would just keep stepping in the water to get the rock I was using. After a while I went to get lunch in the lodge (The Scouts were cooking Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches). I had to take my shoes and socks off to go in and when I got out I didn't want to put them back on (they were soaked)... so I decided to walk on the rocks and snow in my... wait for it... wait for it... BARE FEET!? It wasn't as bad as you would think... you should try it sometime. I had lots of fun up there walking around with my bare feet (although most of the time I was just walking on the dry grass). Eventually the fishing picked up and we caught some HUGE fish!! I will have pictures on my website later. You can see them at http://kaydentroff.blogspot.com/.
Last blog, I said I promised the answer to the problem I put on there. So here it is, and another for all of you too.
This one you have to get it in four moves too. And please do not post the answer if you figure it out (if).
Regular chess rules get this position in 4 moves (both sides move four times, not just one)