Winning the NC Sub Masters RBO

Mar 23, 2010, 5:58 PM |

Coming into finals weekend I was nervous as can be. This is my first real deal tournament and I have 3 of 4 points giving me a 1.5 point lead heading into the last five matches, clearly this wasn't over. Even more stressful, I have the tougher schedule since I have already played out most of my section and will be competing with the sub masters for 4 of the next 5 matches. On top of that, the main guy I expected to be competing with has 2 easy matches lined up that I am sure he will win, giving him 3.5 and taking the lead if I don't hold my own in the next few games.

So here we go, my round 5 match up and my last game in my division.

Whew, I felt a bit overextended with my queen and barely made it out. Then he simply hung his queen and resigned. 

Next is a match up against Leroy Dillard, a player who I expected to have a decent match against with a chance to win, what I got instead was completely destroyed. The game inaccurately shows his rating as 1400, it's 1481.

In retrospect I think I should have sacked a piece to get the pawn pressure out and slow up his attack. Instead he just dominated the whole game. This was the only match that I left feeling a little crummy about. It was just such a beating! I think I only got one piece across the middle of the board...

Next up was quite possibly the best game (most fun) that I had in the whole tournament. For round 7 I played Jonathan Jones and felt like it was a huge step forward for me in my play. I made mistakes, counterattacked, sacked a piece, made another mistake, and played to the first draw I have ever gotten. Just an amazing time.

I walked out of that game with a huge grin on my face, completely satisfied just because the game was so much fun.

Round 8 set me up against what I think was my youngest opponent and definitely the one with the most grit. I played Isabel Gellert and we played a great game that seemed very close until the very end. We played it out for over 4 hours and I'm not sure who was the most exhausted but some of her moves towards the end seemed to defy my understanding and looked confused.

I walked away from this match with a better understanding of why the endgame is important. So many moves appeared wasted on her part and I definitely felt like I had the plan. I have been on the other end of these struggles in this tournament and was happy to have better results this time around.

My final match: I'm playing Hassan Hashemloo and I am as tired as can be. I finally break down and drink some caffein in order to hold on. It was a quicky and I felt like I was attacking decently, but blew a critical calculation to cost me the match.

Still a great game and I'm glad I didn't take a bye to finish out the tournament.

This meant I played out the finals earning 2.5 of 5 points, rounding me out at 5.5 of 9 for the tournament. I had clinched victory in the rated beginner open and was stoked to have won my first tournament.

I've come away with quite a few lessons learned and areas to work on. It was great to meet so many dedicated chess players and get a glimpse of the depth of knowledge that is possible in this amazing game. Hopefully I will be playing in another tournament soon, this time as a rated player who is hungry for another challenge.