My First OTB Tournament - Day 2

Sep 24, 2014, 7:54 AM |

For Day 1 click here -

So day 2 was upon me and I woke up feeling very nervous. I knew that I was going to be playing some high rated players this day, and I was not at all confident, even after my great Day 1.

I arrived only 5-10 minutes before the start of play and by the time I got to the hall, the match-ups were already posted - my opponent for round 4 would be Alexander Stahnke - 1970.


So two wins and a draw with a 1970 rated player? Excuse my French but - #$%& YEAH! I was on top of the world. That is, until I was brought crashing back down to Earth like a malfunctioning satellite at the hands of soon to be IM and Australia's 6th highest rated player, Brodie Mclymont - 2439.

So yeah... that was brutal. I don't think I've ever lost so fast OTB. It wasn't losing that bothered me, it was that fact I put up basically zero fight out of the opening and simply blundered the game that annoyed me. Brodie was however very gracious in going over the game with me afterwards, discussing with me white's plans in the KID, and what I should be aiming for. It was a pleasure to get into the mind of a strong player, if only briefly, and I gained a lot from that - so thankyou Brodie!

At this point I was 3.5/5, and was almost certain that a draw or win would earn me top spot in my division (2nd division) based on tiebreak (my average opponent rating was so high). My final round game was against a very nice older gentleman named Tony Weller - 1735.

After this game I was so incredibly upset with myself. I'd fought so hard to equalise and win (equalise and draw in one game) in my other two games (casually ignoring the thrashing Brodie gave me) yet couldn't manage a victory (or at least draw!) in a game where I actually had the upper hand. 

I think I was perhaps feeling the pressure of placing and winning prize money too much and played sub optimal moves in an attempt to secure a draw, rather than play for a win. This perhaps explains my inactive moves during the game, and my apparent satisfaction with passivity after the queens were exchanged.

Disappointment about the final two rounds aside, I am extremely happy with how this tournament went. I had an average opponent rating of 1928, and this means that at this current moment my provisional rating is 1928! It will obviously go up and down depending on my results in the next couple of tournaments (most likely down considering the next one I play in is an unrated/sub 1700 tournament), but for now it's a wonderful start. My actual rating won't be posted by the ACF (Australian Chess Federation) until January next year, where I think I need 20+ games anyway. Nevertheless, I had the highest average opponent rating of the tournament, with most people in my division (who outscored and whom I outscored) having an average opponent rating of <1600. So even though I came tied for 3rd by .5, I felt really good about this.

All in all I had a wonderful tournament. I met a lot of great people, learned a lot about the game and myself, and improved my understanding of the game a lot.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and going through my games. If you have any comments or advice, please feel free to post down below.