My first tournament, the NC sub Masters RBO
So much fun! That's the best way to describe the tournament that I am playing in right now. I started playing chess again recently after taking about 15 years off (I'm 25 now) and am loving it. In the last few months I have racked up several hundred games on chess.com watched a bunch of videos and burned through tons of tactics drills and chess mentor lessons. The culmination? Playing in my first real life tournament.
I heard about the U.S. Masters tournament from several different sources. Playing in it seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. As an unrated player I was unsure of how these things are set up and run so I contacted the tournament director, Kevin Hyde. He was extremely helpful and recommended entering into the rated beginner open (RBO) for my first tournament. It would only cost $10 (opposed to $90 for the recent Land of Sky Tournament!) for the RBO and I would get to test the waters in a friendly and helpful environment.
Yesterday I started off nervous as can be. I had no idea what to think of ratings and definitely ran into people who were more interested in my rating than my name. Kind of crazy but everyone has there priorities and styles I guess! My first opponent was Brian Rossmeisl at noon and I felt extremely cramped playing against him. Here's the game, unanalyzed.
Fortunately for me he abandoned his queen. I needed this first match to get my head into the tournament and start using my time instead of playing like its a blitz match.
Afterwards I tried to track down some food in the local town. I'm real specific about what I like to eat so it took a long time and I gave up in the end. After eating a not so great meal I crashed. I tried to sleep to get some energy back for my match at 7pm but struggled to since everyone else was so chatty and filled with energy.
This is where the first surprise of the tournament came. Unfortunately, or maybe luckily, only one other person was signed up for the RBO. As a result I was tossed into the next division up (as was he) to mix in with the stronger players. I really had to buckle down for this next game against Samuel Mcclure.
Two games in a row against 1.d4. The only opening I know as black is the sicilian so it was interesting seeing how I was able to pull the game back that direction. I felt like this match was a test for my patience. Recently I have been learning so many basics and trying to make things happen. This time I just let things play out and held the position and pressure in place that I wanted.
I was extremely excited after winning this round and ready to head home for a solid nights rest. Asheville is only 25 minutes away and it's got to be beneficial getting to sleep in my own bed.
Today I played in round three at noon against my strongest opponent yet. I got white for this round and despite seeing people everywhere playing 1.d4 all I know for white openings are the scotch and ruy lopez. So I played 1.e4 and of course he played something I hadn't expected so off we went.
Another win, unexpected. It all seemed to come together for me after 21.Bxh6. I actually started to get into time trouble this match, but had a strong enough position that I was able to make quick moves since I seem to calculate 3-4 variations and am able to make a few quick moves before having to calculate again.
So I can't help but to have a great time at this tournament. I am playing well, the competitors are friendly, and I'm getting to play a wide range of skill levels. There are 6 more rounds to go and it will be interesting to see how it all finishes out this next weekend on the 21st. If you are in the area come out and play! Monday-Thursday 4 rounds will be played for those who couldn't come over the weekend. If you can't make that, request a bye for the week and enter the final weekend with 2 of 4 points!
Thanks to everyone out there who has tossed me tips to help me learn as well as to the chess.com folks for setting up such an educational website! Hope to see you out there!