2022 US Open
Honestly I spent so much time on the actual blog that I didn't leave much time for the thumbnail 😐 Hopefully this is good enough lol

2022 US Open

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Hello there. Welcome to the Lightning Reports! Today I will recap my experience at the 2022 US Open. I honestly played in this because I was already in California for the Denker, which I talked about in my previous blog, so I figured I might as well play in the US Open while I was already there. This was my 3rd time competing in the US Open. In 2019 and 2021, I finished with 5.5/9 points, so my goal here is at least 6/9 points. I really don’t want to finish with 5.5/9 again for the 3rd time. So, let's see how it went!

G|60 D5: ROUNDS 1-6

Playing on the 4-Day schedule in the US Open, the time control for my first 6 games is G|60 D5, which is honestly an ideal time control for me. My plan for the first 6 games? Lightning go fast! Great plan, right? What could possibly go wrong?

For round 1 I was paired against a 1500. Who was actually rated 1700. Sigh. This is the second straight event in which I am paired against a 1500 who is actually 1700 in the first round. Sure, the pairings say he's 1500, but when I checked his current USCF rating, it said 1700. I wasn’t thrilled with this. But then again, I’ve been playing good chess, and I’m well rested. I’m not as worried as I’d normally be, which was definitely helpful to me. 

Well, that went smoothly. Honestly, the guy just blundered and I won. He simply miscalculated. It happens. Lol lucky me! He has my respect for playing that out and doing it so quickly instead of spending a bunch of time. Gg dude. 

For round 2 I was paired with an 8-year-old. Who is rated around 1850. So yeah, that’s terrifying. How can someone be that young and that good at chess? I'm not sure if I was even rated when I was 8. Gosh, that's crazy. I’m once again not happy with my pairing, but thankfully it worked out well.

Dang. Yeah, I dunno. I made some rather sketchy moves in this game in my attempt to attack. But it was ultimately worth it, as my attack worked shockingly well. I thought the ending was rather nice, honestly. So I’m happy with this one lol

Heading into round 3 with a 2/2 score, I knew what was coming next. I knew I would be on one of the very top boards facing a GM. I knew I was probably going to lose, maybe quite badly. But I thought I'd try my best and hope for a good game. But. As it turns out. Preparing an entirely different line from what you normally play, specifically to use against a GM for the first time, might not be a very good idea... 

Ya know. I actually told him before the game that I just wanted to last 10 moves. I lasted 18. So when you consider that, this was honestly quite an impressive game. You should all be so very proud of me. I lasted for 18 stunning moves!

Round 4 is up next. I'm content with my expected 2/3 score. The loss to the GM was, admittedly, rather embarrassing. GM or not, new line or not... come on, 18 moves? I should be able to do better than that lol

Anyway, I was paired with some dude who was rated 2000. He was around my age, making this the most ideal pairing, on paper, so far. I mean... Round 1: 1500 who just jumped 200 points. Round 2:  An 8-year-old prodigy. Round 3: A freaking grandmaster. So this was considered an ideal pairing, yes. Anyways, I was expecting a tough game here, and unfortunately, he did not disappoint.

Lol lucky me I guess. I very easily could have lost that. I'm worse in that final position, but I guess neither of us realized that. At the time, I was rather unhappy with the draw as I felt like I should have won. At the time, I had been thinking my position was just better for most of that game. But looking at it now, I never really had much of an advantage. My evaluation was simply poor. Oh well. 2.5/4 now. Not bad.

Round 5 now, with my 2.5/4 score, I really can't lose this next game. If I were to fall to 2.5/5... no. I couldn't let myself think about that. I had to focus on the game and get the win. But of course. I ended up getting paired with a 12-year-old who was rated around 2000. Scary... but I think I did fairly well. 

Heh, I clearly didn't learn my lesson against the GM earlier. After preparing and playing a new line against GM Akobian in round 3, and losing quite badly, I decided in round 5 to prepare and play a new line against this young prodigy (2000 at 12 years old is a prodigy... right?). Not the safest strategy, but it worked fairly well this time around. That's just how it is with prep. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's a risk I'm willing to take, more often than not. Anyways, that was a fun game! I was fortunate at one point that he missed a tactic and didn't win a pawn, but overall I'm quite happy with this one.

Now at 3.5/5, I'm expecting to play a titled player in round 6, someone higher rated. Only one of those things happened. I did get to play a titled player, but she was 100 points lower than me. That's not ideal. A titled player capable of beating me up who is also lower rated than me? Cmon, pairings, help a guy out 😅

I don't deny I was nervous. She had just drawn an NM in round 5, so that also scared me. But I did my prep like normal, found what looked like an interesting line I could play into as black, and got a decent position. I'm happy to report that my prep for this game was good. The rest of the game? Not so much.

Ahhh gg. That's the second time in this event that I've taken a draw in a worse position. I'd say I got lucky, and let's be honest, I did, but I probably should have won that. Or at least, anyone rated 2130 should be able to win that. But nooo, I forgot how to play chess for a couple of moves, while she played very well, and in the end, it was I who was worse. What a crazy game lol I kinda feel like a draw was the proper result in the end, after all that happened during the game, but I dunno. I'm the one who was worse in the end, I'm biased lol


In round 7, everyone playing on the 4-Day schedule, 6day schedule, and traditional schedule all merged into one section. Suddenly I'm in a field of 400+ players. Fun, right? Sure. But the time control changed to 40/100, SD/30, inc/30. This means, for the final 3 games, my opponents and I start the game with 100 minutes, with a 30-second increment, and get an additional 30 minutes after move 40. Extremely different from the fast G|60 games I had been playing. Does this change my plan? Nope! Lightning go fast.

With a 4/6 score, I was paired with a 1950 in round 7. All I'm gonna say before showing you the game is that I only won because of a cheap trick. It was dirty. It was a very drawish game. You could honestly just skip to move 33 to see what went down lol 

Yeah... I mean, hey, a win is a win. But that was dirty. I feel bad that I won like that, just because of a dumb trick. But it's part of the game. I've won and lost games like that. It is what it is. But I still feel kinda bad for winning like that. He played really well in that game. Gg.

I've now got a really nice 5/7 score, I'm quite happy with it. I simply need one more win to finish above 5.5/9 (or two draws). Considering that I was inexplicably paired against a 1900 in round 8 (why are my opponent's ratings getting lower and lower??), it seems like I had a good chance to get to 6/8. But of course, why take a perfectly good opportunity when you can throw it all away?

Sadness. Honestly, I was just happy I didn't lose that. He had several opportunities in this game but just missed them. I had my chances later on, but by then I was satisfied with a draw. That being said, I was sort of freaking out. My score is now 5.5/8. If I lose the last round... no. Just no. Surely I won't. I've had such a solid tournament - just one loss after 8 rounds, and it was against a GM! Surely I'm going to play one more solid game to wrap up the event... right?

In round 9 I finally got a reasonable pairing, as I was paired against a 2077. So we're fairly close in rating at least. And I'm playing white. Finally, an ideal pairing! If I just win this game, I finish with 6.5/9, take home over $1k, and pick up about 10-15 rating points. All I have to do is win...yeah. Spoiler alert: I failed, finished 5.5/9 for the 3rd straight time, missed out on winning at least $1k, and ended up losing 4 rating points (new rating is 2127). Here's the game. And be ready for a lot of words after it. Lol

See the above game diagram to watch me blow it in the last round for the billionth time.

Ok, seriously? After 8 solid rounds, I decide to collapse, just like that? I got thoroughly embarrassed in this game. Granted, I didn't know theory after Qa5+ early on, and that was my fault, but still. Considering what was on the line, and how pathetically I played, this was a pretty depressing loss for me. I didn't take it very well. Heh, relatable? Unfortunately, these losses have to happen. This wasn't the most heart-breaking loss I've ever taken (see the following game diagram), but it definitely sucked the life out of me for a bit. 

See my most heart-breaking loss in the above game diagram.

After the round 9 game, I left the playing area, paced for about 15 minutes, found a chair outside of the room, and then just sat for about 2 hours. Nice, right? Anyways. I've got a good friend who managed to cheer me up (thanks lol), but I still felt dead inside. I felt like a failure, a disappointment. To who? Myself, I guess. Yeah. I was really frustrated with myself for a while. I got through it by spending the week after the event self-reflecting, basically. I spent a lot of time thinking, trying to figure out what went wrong. It was dreadful. But I found answers in the end. Hopefully in due time, I can share those answers with you. 

If you ever lose and are feeling down after it happens, I advise you to take this approach. Talk to a coach, talk to a friend, talk to anyone who will help. And after the event, take the appropriate amount of time that is necessary to figure out why you lost the way you did. Figure out what went wrong and how you can fix it. I hope this helps someone in the future.


See all planned upcoming blogs in the image below.

Unfortunately, not a whole lot planned at the moment. Hopefully that changes over time.

Now, regarding the shoutouts. Although I didn't have the greatest experience at the 2022 US Open, chess-wise, I certainly enjoyed my time here and have no regrets about playing. This tournament was definitely a unique experience for me. I met several of my friends here for the first time (they're about to get some, uh, special shoutouts), and was fairly chatty with strangers and most of my opponents as well, and may or may not have made a new friend or two. Keep in mind that I am an introvert, by the way, so me talking to anyone at all is already weird. Anyways, here are the friends I met at the US Open. In no particular order.

1. @Priyansh_2011 - Pretty dang good at chess for someone so young. I actually had to play him in the US Open blitz. I said I was gonna play some joke openings. He played them, too. And he's shorter than me, so he's chill.  

Playing the double bongcloud in a blitz game - we drew of course!
We played the double Creepy Crawly (a3 a6 h3 h6 - and continued with a4 a5 h4 h5)
Undefeated with the Creepy Crawly otb 😤

2. @JoshPrice - This guy wasn't supposed to crash the party, but at the last minute he went from Idaho to California to play in the US Open. He tried scaring me when he arrived. He thinks he gave me a heart attack. He didn't. Also, he's shorter than me, easily.

3. @NiTheGuy - Technically met him during the Denker, but meh. He and I both had the honor of getting crushed by GM Akobian. Yay, isn't that nice. Oh and he was probably shorter than me, too. Right, Ni? Right?

4. @Joseph_Truelsons_Fan - Had no clue he was going, then I hear that he's there after the first round. I talked to him during the US Open blitz. He seemed chill. He's also shorter than me btw.

5. @angryspacevoid - Technically met him during the invitationals, but oh well. He is the national G|15 champion (I tied for 2nd). We played some friendly bongcloud blitz games. He's much taller than expected. But still shorter than me. 

6. @Rodgy - I thought he was gonna be short, but nooo, he was nearly as tall as me. But he was still shorter. I didn't even recognize him at first. Anyways, Roger was super chill irl, cool dude. But he cheats at bughouse.

7. @horselover123 - Last but certainly not least, Horsie. She was my mixed doubles partner in the US Open. We were near the top of the standings for most of the event until I fell apart in the final two rounds. Sorry about that, horse. We finished in 3rd place, just 1.5 points behind the winners. Ah, so close. Thanks for teaming up with me tho, horse, twas fun. Oh, and horse is also shorter than me.

I'm pretty sure that's everyone. All the friends I met at the US Open. Who are all shorter than me, somehow (except for Ni, that might have been a joke), and that's sad since I'm totally super short. Anyways there's a good chance I managed to forget someone since I am forgetful at times. If I forgot you, I apologize. Feel free to yell at me a lot in my messages.


Good job, you made it to the end. I truly hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the 2022 US Open. It was a great event until it wasn't. And it was fun meeting several people I knew on I'm glad I got to play in this.

Anyways, thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it. Drop a comment below, and tell me whatcha thought! That's all I've got for now, I'll post again in September. For now, I'll cyall in the comments!