Atlantic Open 2017 Part Deux - Scandy and Sicilian Kan
I can say with certainty this has been my favorite chess tournament yet. I wasn't expecting much of it...just the feeling of independence and checking out how I felt. My final result was 3/5. GM Timur Gareyev and I shared 2nd place in my first Mixed Doubles prize ever. He also won this tournament astoundingly and was a pretty cool partner to have throughout. He would check on my games to see how I was doing and even sweetly brought me a Starbucks tea with lemon during my final round. Thanks Timur - for making the tournament so fun.
I'm presenting a couple games out of order. First I'm presenting a Scandinavian which is now near and dear to my heart. To start with, I came ridiculously late to the 4th round despite being awake by 7 am. Like a lunatic, I couldn't pull myself away from lessons and tactics an hour before the tournament time and felt like i needed to get my brain in the right zone. So 35 minutes down on the clock from the start.
It isn't only the game itself that excites me, but also the participation post-tournament of several of new friends I made at the tournament! It was almost like my fantasy chess clique. While waiting for our checks...Roman, David, Stephanie, and Timur all chimed in as I was showing them this game (a 2700, two masters, and an 1890)...I wish I had the whole thing recorded!
As I'd call out Rachana's moves, they'd all chime in as to what I should have done next or what they expect should have been played by her also...and much to my surprise, I played almost every move they wanted. They seemed puzzled that at 1307, I could see some of the moves I was seeing. Roman said "You both played so logically" and some of my moves near the end, Timur flat out said "Beautiful move, Afaf". Stephanie said he'd pointed out my game to her earlier as well. So in short, the post game analysis was almost as exciting and fun for me as the game itself.
Timur, David, Stephanie all won their sections. We went to an Irish pub in D.C. for a tiny celebration. Crystal City was a lot easier to get around in than I realized on my first trip here last year. I love the area!
My 5th round game was also near and dear to me but for completely different reasons. My opponent...little 9 year old Shaurya and I had played in my second tournament ever, last year in October in Crystal City also. He was my first match and one that affected my nerves for months after. Back then he and I had played a Sicilian...in which I was up 10 points before handing the win to him with a mate in one by blundering disgustingly. I reminded him of our game and when I jogged his memory he was then able to recall that painful move of mine "Oh yeah...you did something..like moved the bishop this this side of the board" pointing to Black's kingside corner. "Yes, Shaurya...that was me". He's now a respectable 1465. We played another Sicilian...the Kan, I believe - which happens to be a variation I've played against recently...which I think has benefited me in this game. I also almost accepted Shaurya's pleas for a draw when I was having trouble finding a way to finish him off...we were even material - Queen + 1 rook but he had a knight and I had 3 extra connected pawns.
At some point I ran over to find out whether Timur could be satisfied with me taking a draw and he smirked playfully and said "No, you need to win that game!" so I went back and told Shaurya that I couldn't accept the draw. We reached 40 moves and I stopped notating, to my sad disappointment. When I finally spotted the win...I whispered "that's so beautiful"...I was seeing more clearly than ever. I also realized it is a serious trick to keep eating some form of simple carbohydrates for my brain to remain "with it". It's really impacting my mental energy stamina!
I don't have the full game listed...though I wish I did. There were some finds in the endgame that fascinated me.
For those who would like to see the most painful game of my life up to now, I've shown it below...it was my first game with Shaurya last October.