Why I'm Not NM Yet

Why I'm Not NM Yet

| 105

Hello there. Welcome to the Lightning Reports! Today we return to my Journey to NM series. Having failed my initial goal of becoming a National Master by May 21st, I am now aiming to get the NM title by the end of 2022, which is a much more reasonable goal.

The last time I played otb, I went from 2129 to 2142 as I had a very solid event last May in Atlanta. I actually played otb again just 2 weeks after the tournament in Atlanta, on May 28th. And now, almost a month later, I'm updating you on how that went. I probably should have posted this sooner, but it's fine. 


For the first round, I was paired with a guy who is rated around 1780. I had played him once before and knew he was good. I thought he had beaten me in our first game, which gave me more motivation to win. Our first game was a draw, though, so my memory is already failing me just one round into the event. That's not a good sign. Anyway, let's see the game.

So. Not a good game at all. My opening play was fine. But right out of the opening I had this awful a3-b4 idea and was just worse for most of the game. Luckily for me, I played a bit faster than my opponent and eventually managed to complicate the position when he was extremely low on time. That's nice. But the fact that I even had to do that against a 1780... no. The a3-b4 idea was simply not good and showcased how poorly I evaluated that position. Combine that with my Ne5 move later in the game that should have lost, and this game shows you why I'm not NM yet.


Going into the second round with a 1/1 score, I felt extremely lucky. The way I played in the first game was terrible. I knew I'd have to play better in round two. To my slight surprise, I was paired with the top player there, NM Yury Barnakov. If you've been reading my J2NM posts, you've heard about Yury before, as I played him in my previous two events. I won our previous game in Atlanta. So of course, that meant it was his turn to win. 

Ok, so, that actually was a pretty good game for me. I'm happy with how I played it for the first 44 moves or so, although it wasn't exactly complicated. Regardless, I played well for most of the game. But, I still threw the game. Quite badly. I shouldn't lose equal endgames like that. Just awful. It started with b6 and then b5, and then later on I just couldn't find the right moves to defend as my position slowly fell apart. Twas a good effort I suppose, but I wasn't good enough to at least hold the draw. That's why I'm not NM yet.


Aight, so, 1/2. Not great. Not what I was hoping for. But it's fine. Sure, I should have been able to draw in round two, but it's fine. I totally wasn't annoyed with myself going into the third round. I was absolutely ok. Yeah. Anyways, despite being quite disappointed in myself for failing to meet my own impossibly high expectations, I still have hope for this event. If I can just win my final two games, I'll be happy. To make things better, I'm playing 1700 in round three, and this guy beat me in March and took about 20 points from me. Revenge? Yes, please. 

Alright, so I beat a 1680. Hate to say it, but that's just kind of expected of me by now. I can't be too happy about it, I should just be glad I didn't lose, as I played the opening very poorly (forgetting Be6 was a move in the opening was unforgivable, something an NM hopeful shouldn't do). Although, since he stole some points from me in March, I was actually quite pleased with the win. But, in regards to the tournament, 2/3 with wins against 1780 and 1680 rated players, and a loss to a 2260, is very meh. The last round is what will decide if this is a good or bad tournament. And if I gain or lose points.


Aight, here we go. For the final round of the event, I'm playing a 2200. If I win, I gain about 10 points. If I lose, I lose about 10 points. So either 2150 or 2130, and 2150 looks quite a bit better. Needless to say, I really want to win this one. The problem is, he also wanted to win. And he's better than me. Put those two things together and you can guess what happened. 

Ahhh well, gg. No shame in losing to him at all. I didn't even feel bad or depressed like normal. I mean, it sukcs that I lost and that my rating went down to 2131, but it was a good game. I was happy with how I played until I blundered the game away with Ne8. My gosh. Blunders like that, those blunders, they keep me from becoming a National Master. In my games against both NM Yury Barnakov and NM Bill Melvin, I played fairly well and had chances. But in both games, I threw it all away. Against Yury, I played slowly and inaccurately until I made an awful blunder and lost. Against Bill, I mean, I was doing fine until my Ne8 blunder. After that, it was game over. Until I can correct my inaccurate play in equal positions, and until I can start evaluating positions properly, and until I can not throw the game away in one move against these NMs... I myself will not be an NM. I've still got work to do. Someday, I'll get there. But for now... gosh I suck lol


Good job, you made it to the end. I dunno how you did it, but here you are. Anyways, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. Sorry for posting it nearly a month after the event took place. I don't really have an excuse for why it took so long. I dunno, blame it on procrastination, because uh, why not? Lol

As you can see in the image above, I have a few more blogs planned. Part 3 of my Questioning NCPs series will be out sometime in July, probably mid-July if I had to guess. And I'll have a new J2NM post around the 26th of July. And then in August, I'll give you a recap of my upcoming trip to the Denker Tournament of Highschool Champions. Really looking forward to that. I'll post a recap on the US Open as well, probably 2 weeks after I recap the Denker. And yeah, that's all I've got planned for now.

Alright, thanks again for reading, really appreciate it, and I truly hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you thought in the comments. As you probably know, I make a point of responding to almost every comment I can. I love hearing from y'all. Anyways, that's all I've got for now. Hope to cya in the comments!