Remaining Unbeaten against Non-Masters in Kentucky and Returning to New York City
I made it out of the Kentucky Open unscathed, but it should have been yet another breakout performance for me. In round 1, I played an Expert rated 2128. I may post that game, but real story from the game is that I played well in my strong time controls and I got battered in my weak one: the game was probably drawish when the control was standard (the tournament control was G/90 d5), I was losing pretty seriously in the rapid part of the contol when we had about 12 minutes left, and I was committing bloody murder when the control shifted to blitz. My major regret in the game was my nerves: I successfully played blitz the way I do in practice games when I was behind in material, but I was completely unnerved when I found myself dominating and completely winning. With time extremely low on both sides, we agreed to a draw. I have to thank my boardvision for getting me so far ahead when there was so little left on the board. The rest of the tournament was uneventful: I face the single opening that gives me the most trouble, leaving with a completely drawn position in first, then creating a crushing attack in the second that stalled out and ended in perpetual check. The tournament marked my first score against a 2100+ in a standard game --my other successes have been blitz games--, and I boosted my rating a few more points, up to 1767.
I'm returning to NYC. My previous month-long adventure in December had the Marshall Chess Club Amateur Championship as the centerpiece. This time, I'll be playing in the New York International. I'm hopeful that this trip will be the coming-out party that December wasn't. December's 50-point swings up and down showed that I was able, but had holes in my game. Having patched them, it seems, I've gone unbeaten in games against my last 15 opponents --in the last 18 games, I've only lost to Fischvoigt in Michigan (2234), Matt Hassen in Kentuck (2302), and Zhaozhi Li (2308), and it is worth noting that I had a win I missed against Li, the game was probably drawable against Hassen, and I pushed too hard for a win against Fischvoigt. That leaves a big question mark hanging over what might happen at the NY International this weekend. Relative to my last run of performance ratings, if I have a relatively mediocre performance, I will, not only crack 1800, but have added another 200 points to my USCF standard rating. That's interesting, because I've been able to do that in each of my first two years in tournament chess. Having begun the game as an adult, learning how the pieces move in late 2007, it would be nearly unbelievable if I can grab the Master title in the next few years. It's beginning to seem just a little bit possible. If that happens, I'll will get serious about chess, and see what I can do. (Note: in my terminology, what I do to train and the amount of time I spend on chess, most would deem a little crazy, so "serious" to me means alterring my life to pursue improvement.)