Grade Nationals Championship experience
I recently played in the Grade nationals championship in Florida this past weekend, and it was a lot of fun! My bro Samuel H. and I went there with our friend from school, Noah Y, hoping to win the first place team award for 11th grade. We were ranked #1 by rating, so we were confident in our chances. We arrived at Orlando on Thursday night, and we went to our hotel. The hotel was within Disneyworld, and all of the hotels were amazing on the outside. Our hotel room was a good 10 minute walk from the tournament area. Now, on to the tournament report...
In round 1, we were all playing down and as white. I played against Helen M as white, and I got a strong pawn center, and good piece activity. Later, she missed a tactic and I won the exchange of rook for bishop, and soon I traded into a win. Sam's game seemed to be a bit of a tricky opening, but then his tactics won the game. Noah played against a 500 rated player and won pretty quickly. 3/3
In round 2, I played Lauren K as black, and she played the Alapin Sicilian. I think I misplayed the opening, and I got a pretty passive position. However, she inaccurately opened up the position and traded her bishop for my knight. I got a strong attack later on, and ended it off with a mating combination. Samuel played a pretty straightforward rook endgame win, with him having the much more active rook. Noah lost his game to a higher rated player after struggling in the opening, and his opponent not allowing any counterplay. 5/6
In round 3, I played Kai K as white, and he brought his queen out too early and I got a huge lead in development. I opened up the position immediately and my pieces got in, and I won really soon. Samuel's game didn't seem to be going too well, and I thought he was losing. After almost 3 hours, Samuel managed to block his opponent's passed pawn and got a win. Noah played a 1400 rated player and won without too much trouble. 8/9
In round 4, I played up on board 2 against Andrew L as black. I assumed he got ready for my openings, and prepared a line against it, so I decided to play a more unusual defense, but it turned out to be not so good, as I got a slightly worse position with a potentially dangerous king. Later in the game, Andrew miscalculated a move, and I won his knight, and soon, my extra piece was good enough for the win. Samuel He played against a 2100 rated player and won in what looked like a crazy game. Noah beat a 2100 player as black in a strong game in a Ruy Lopez! This was by far our best round, with all 3 of us winning as black against tough opposition! 11/12
In round 5, I played up against Xiexin with white on the top board. I got as strong pawn center in the opening, and he did not seem to have a plan, and I got a huge space advantage and just pushed all of my pawns in front of my king to attack and open up the position, as I had much better piece placement. It turned out I underestimated his counterplay, and he found a very strong move which forced me to sacrifice my queen, and I lost. A missed opportunity! Samuel played a good game against Chris, the top rated player, and won! Good job bro. Noah played solid game against a 2000 rated player as white and drew without too much trouble. 12.5/15
In round 6, I played white against Yi, a 2300 rated player. I won a pretty good game, which is shown below. Samuel lost against Xiexin on board 1 after overestimating his attacking chances on the kingside. Noah lost to a 2100 as black after a long game. After the game, we saw that Noah had good chances to hold a draw at some point. 13.5/18. Things were getting intense entering the final round...
In round 7, I got paired against Samuel because as the TDs said, individual pairings have higher priority over team pairings. We drew pretty quickly in a Nimzo. Noah played black again against a 2000 rated player, and he got a worse position from the opening, and his king was too dangerous and he eventually lost after a long game. 14.5/21
It turns out none of the other teams did too well in the final round, and we got clear first place, a half point ahead of 2nd place! WOW! Samuel got 2nd place, I got 3rd, and Noah got 31st place individually. It was a great experience and was fun! Congrats to Xiexin for 1st place in the section ~
Thanks for reading!