Hitting The Ground Running And Breaking 2300

GM KaydenTroff
Nov 30, 2010, 8:31 PM |

Getting home from Greece, I felt like I had face planted right into the ground!  Definitely not running at that point!!  I couldn’t believe how tired I was!  Someone should have warned me how major jet lag is!!  It wasn’t that bad going there….of course some of it may have been caused from coming back from an intense 12 day tournament and flying home through two days without a night (longest Halloween of my life).

The weekend right after I got home was the Utah Closed Championship.  Neither one of my coaches thought it was a good idea for me to play and Sam came right out and told me not to do it in no uncertain terms (though in the end he said it was up to me).  I probably should have listened!!  I knew that they were right and that I was too tired to play, but I really wanted to play in the Champion of Champions tournament  (which rumor has it is not even happening now…..what is that about?!) and this is the Utah tournament that decides that.  So despite the very sound advice from my coaches (Sam that is just for you if you are reading this), I played anyway; one game Friday night and three on Saturday.  The other problem was that all the Utah players had planned a big celebration party between the third and fourth round to celebrate my silver medal at the WYCC.  I didn’t know anything about it, but my parents did so they weren’t discouraging me from playing……and I am 12 so if my parents aren’t discouraging me than that is basically the same as totally saying I should do it!!

So, the first round was not too bad and ended pretty early.  I was feeling pretty good about my decision at this point.  Saturday morning, I got paired with one of my really good friends who just made Expert (congratulations Scott).  I was black and I felt like I had equalized out of the opening and was on the attack and then I just totally blanked out and missed something and then missed something else and maybe even something else….bottom line….I lost.  Not to take anything away from Scott, he played a great game!  Afterwards, my mom and I went on a walk and she asked what had happened and I honestly didn’t know.  “I just missed some things,” as I was quoted to say.  I was tired and not quite so confident in my decision anymore and still had two games to go.  I knew my chance of winning the tournament at that point was slim, but by now I knew about the party and didn’t feel like I could just quit.  I would like to say that it was because I never quit and always fight on, but I really wasn’t sure I was up for the fight and staying because of the party seemed about the best I could do to convince myself.  When I finally did convince myself, I decided that if I was going to do it, I was going to increase the population of “OuchTown” (Danny doesn’t have copyrights on that word, right??)  I won my last two games in style though neither game was for the championship Frown.  The 2010 Utah State Champion is Damian Nash….though I got my revenge---no scratch that---justice a couple weeks later.

So, at this point you may be wondering why I entitled this blog “hitting the ground running”.   Well, I did some hitting the ground, and now I am running…see, makes perfect sense!!

Once I finally recovered from Greece, it was time to get serious again.  I have a lot of really cool, amazing, fabulous things coming up.  Because of my result from the WYCC in Greece, I was invited to attend Garry Kasparov’s Master Class for two days in New York in December.  How awesome is that??!!  It is like getting Christmas early!! 

Then the day after Christmas I will fly out to LA for the United States Chess School taught by the one and only (also known as my coach)……GM Melik Khachiyan!!!!!  I am looking forward to being with the other kids there and hopefully playing some bughouse with Khachiyan, Greg Shahade, and Aviv Freidman, of course!!  Oh, and also learning some things—that’s good too!

From there, I don’t even come home because I will be flying to San Francisco and partying (Mormon style) with David Pruess on New Year’s Eve.  And then I will play in my second norm tournament “The Berkeley International” from January 2nd-8th.    Whew, are you exhausted now just from reading all this?

Needless to say, we are a little short on funds for the time being, but I really wanted to keep up on my over-the-board tournament play because that has helped me A LOT!!  I didn’t want to go from the WYCC in October (plus the Utah Closed) to the Berkeley International in January.  That is a little too big of a gap especially since a lot of chess players from other states can play in 2 to 3 tournaments a week if they want to.  So, we decided it was time to put my standard rating on the line and play against some of the top players in Utah.  I had worked and studied so hard before Greece that I was interested to see how I could do against the top Utah players especially the Utah Champion Smile.  They all told me that they were determined to beat me, but I was more determined not to let them!!  We had some hard fought games, but in the end I broke through 2300!!  The rating was not so much the goal as getting some good strong over-the-board experience, but making it to 2300 was a nice side benefit!!  Now hopefully, I can take this, and all the amazing things I am going to learn from Kasparov and Khachiyan, and go rip it up in Berkeley!!

Here is a few of the games from the Utah tournaments: