Maryland HS/MS Championships 2014

Mar 24, 2014, 2:57 PM |
So it was finally time. I was a bit nervous due to having to carry a team full of 1100s and 1200s. It was rather annoying not having David. Still, I thought I would do reasonably well. At 7:30, our team gathered at Northwest and we set off. Of course, Nassim (useless as he always is) was late. The trip passed in relative silence. After we got to Dumbarton, we unloaded. We went in. I was looking around at the same entrance that I had seen many times before, thinking of past games...but I digress. We found a free table (!) and sat down. Meanwhile, I looked around for friends of mine. And at the standings. I was the 14th seed by rating, out of around 40, with my rating of 1633. I was looking to improve it. 9:30 eventually came around, and I searched for my opponent. I wasn't expecting a difficult round because I was in the top half of the bracket, and would be facing a lower-rated opponent. 
That went relatively well, even though my opening play wasn't as active as it could've been. However, most of my focus was on the next round, as I knew it would be quite difficult. In between rounds, we got some pizza for some much-needed fuel, as I hadn't eaten any breakfast. At 12:30, we went down to the pairings, and I was playing ... Bendeguz!? Oh, joy. I expected a difficult game that I'd probably lose. Little did I know...
Cool. Suddenly, I was feeling much more confident. This was my tournament. Of course, that meant I would be facing progressively tougher opponents as well. In fact, after Round 1, all of my opponents, were rated more than 1800. After the game, I walked back into the skittles room (for lack of a better term). Of course, everyone thought I'd lost. Boo. After I showed my game, I was basically "Man of the Hour" there. It was a pretty nice feeling, truth be told. There were three more rounds, though. I found out that I was going to play Bendeguz's teammate Ramunaja. I expected a tough game, and I certainly got one...
Oh well. You can't win them all. Still, my 2-1 record was pretty good for the first day, with only a handful of people having 3-0s. The team stayed after for the JV awards. We won that section, and several of our players, including one who'd never played in a tournament, and one who'd only played in one won individual trophies. We retired, knowing tomorrow would bring a lot less annoying middle schoolers and JV scrubs. 
*fast forward*
So, me, Nassim, Keval, Brandon, Andrew, and Mohammed arrived at Dumbarton on Sunday. This time, Coach was with us (he'd had a track meet on Saturday). We were doing pretty well. Mohammed had 2.5 points out of 3, even though his rating was only 934. I was impressed, but of course I couldn't let him get more points than me. I looked at the pairings, and saw I was playing ... Jonathan Chen. Strange, I played him last year and drew. I arrived about one or two minutes late, and the game started. 
So I had 3 points and was pretty satisfied. Even if I lost my last game, I'd still have a pretty good record. After this round, our team was trailing first place by a couple (I forget) points. We'd need to do really well to get first. My opponent this time was Jeffrey Chang, yet another 2000+. This would be another tough game.
Yeah. It was a bit annoying to have black, but that really didn't affect the game as much as my mistakes in the opening and middlegame (...d5, ...Rb6). There went any possibilities of a 4-1, but even then, I wouldn't have made the Denker playoff because Davydov had 4.5 points. Still, it was a good game. 
I won 8th place on tiebreaks. Thankfully, I had the best ones of anyone who had a 3-2 record. Our team won third place in the Varsity section. Not bad without David, I think. I also gained some rating points (my rating went from 1633 to 1718!) and some more experience for next year. I can't wait until Kevin Wang graduates. I'm also sorry for the lack of much analysis in this post, but I hope you enjoyed it!