A Great Tournament Result!

Mar 23, 2013, 3:37 PM |

Hi all!  On March 16 I went to a USCF tournament.  I decided to share my games and thoughts because I had a great result.


About a month and a week or two before Mar. 16 I heard about the tournament and planned on going to it.  Before this tournament I've only played in a few scholastic tournaments and a in the reserve section of a tournament.  My USCF rating was 1553.

I looked at some of my loses and made a plan for how to improve.  Here are some of the things I did:

  • Exercise.  I walked or ran at least a mile per day and did 50 push ups.
  • Reviewed tactics.  I went through most of the book Winning Chess Tactics by GM Yasser Seirawan.  I also solved several tactics on chesstempo each day.
  • Played slow games.  I played one 45|45 game per week in the DHLC slow quads quads and also played a few 30 minute games.
  • Tried to make chess fun.  If I don't enjoy chess I usually don't improve or do well.
  • Studied the middle-game.  Usually before a tournament I would cram as much opening theory into my head as possible.  This time I decided to fight my fears and only briefly study openings after live games and during correspondence games.  My parents gave me IM Silmans book, How To Reassess Your Chess.  I read it and learned a ton from it.  Now I'm not afraid of leaving the opening theory I know.  I'm confident I'll be able to find a middle-game plan, or at least learn something.

 The day before the tournament I took easy.  Usually I've done as much chess stuff as I can right before the tournament, but I decided to try taking it easy.  I think this was a good idea as it relaxed me and helped me not worry about the results so much.

Anyway, here is the first game:

All the games were G/50 with a 5 second delay.

I didn't expect to win playing against a 1900.  I was very happy after this game.

Since it was the last game to finish, I didn't get much of a break between it and game #2.

Now I have 2/2 against 1900s!  I was very happy and decided that even if I lost my two remaining games it was still a good tournament result.  Most of the players were quite surprised that I had won two 1900s.  I was too.

I had a break for lunch before the next game.

The pairings were up a few minutes before I the third round started.  I was going to play the top player in the tournament, a National Master rated 2212!

During most of the game he moved very fast.  On move 20 I think he'd used only about 5 of his 50 minutes.

After the game several players told me I should have tried for a win, but I was still very happy about drawing with a 2200.  I've drawn with titled players in correspondence games, but this was the first time OTB.  I was happy!

In the last round I played the second highest rated player of the tourney.  His rating was 2196.  I wasn't sure if he was a National Master, but I thought he probably was.  He is a National Master.

A great result!  Two wins against 1900s and two draws against National Masters!  AJ Goldsby won first place with 3.5/4.  I split second with two players.
My rating is now over 1740.

I think I ought to say thanks!
Thanks to Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  Without Him I'd be lost!
Thanks to my parents for all their support and for the Christmas money to buy chess books!
Thanks to the authors of the chess books.  I learned a lot from them.
Thanks to all the people who have encouraged, taught, or played me.  There are far too many to name them all here!
My next goals are to raise my rating by continuing to play like this (or better!) and to beat a titled player.  I've done this in bullet, but that doesn't count.
Hope everyone has a great week!