My 10/25/2014 Tournament Games
Here's my analysis from my latest OTB tourney.
All the games were G/70 with a 5-second delay. After each move I recorded how many minutes were left on a player's clock and have included this in the games, so that's what the numbers are.
My preparation for the tournament was somewhat shaky.
Normally I play at least one 45|45 game on chess.com in one of the tournaments hosted by the DHLC, but this time I didn't. I playe some other slow games (mostly with a time control of 15|10), but didn't take them as serious as I would a slower game. Another mistake I made was not following my study plan well. Flexibility is good, but structure must also be maintained.
The main problem, however, and likely the cause of my other problems, was probably my opening prep. I spent a lot of time (way too much time) looking at openings, and didn't get much benefit from it because I couldn't stick to one opening. I kept finding a tough line in one opening which made me switch to another opening in the hopes that it wouldn't give me any problems.
As an IM who coached me recommended awhile ago, I need to play a few games with several openings to get a feel for them and then pick one and master it. I think it's good for players to try lots of different openings to get experience in lots of different positions, but I'm finding that it's true that a good repertoire is needed once you start facing harder opponents (especially if they prepare well).
My first opponent was a talented 8 year old with rating of over 1500! Recently she represented Alabama in a tournament in Africa and did very well. I've played her before at a chess club and she has sometimes gotten some nice positions against me.
Overall I'm very pleased with the game. It seems that I had a winning position out of the opening and didn't let it slip.
My next opponent I had also played before. Actually at this same tournament last year. Here's my games from it. That game did not go well at all. This time I decided to not lose from the opening. The problem was, I had mostly been playing the Grunfeld lately, but wasn't sure I liked all the positions I got from it, so thought of switching to the Czech Benoni. However, I didn't know much about it, and if I played it, might lose quickly. So I played the Grunfeld...and played the opening in a way I hope not to repeat.
So that was crazy. The whole game I have a clearly worse position and then he's about to finish me off, but one move saves the day. And in a time scramble I win. Not something to be proud of, but I'll take what I get.
I think there were two main errors in my play:
- Once I didn't remember the lines, I kept trying to play things similar to other lines, without really considering if they worked or not.
- I didn't manage my time well. True, I'd rather be surviving with 20 minutes on the clock than be losing with 50, but lately I've been analyzing as much in time pressure as when I take a long think.
Once again I'd faced my opponent before. My score against him was 1.5/2, so I felt pretty confident.
So even though the computer doesn't like it too much, I didn't know that and felt quite happy about the game And I still am now.
Going into the last round I had 2nd place for sure, but I didn't realize it until after the game.
My opponent was the new Alabama State Champion, Stephen Adams! Before this game I hadn't played him, and wasn't sure of how strong he was. Because the former state champ (an NM) and the new state champ both went into the last round of the state championship with 3/4, but the NM faced an IM while the new state champ played someone who was rated 2000 (I think), it's not hard to guess what happened. The NM would have to win an IM while an expert had to beat an expert.
But after this game I have a lot of respect for the state champion. He completely crushed me.
At least in chess 1/2 of the players usually have a good game Actually though, it wasn't too bad. I still came in 2nd place, but more importantly, this game has shown me some areas I can improve in! Game #2 showed me these areas to improve in too, but since I managed to survive and even win, I don't know that I would have taken it seriously.
What worked well
- In game 1 I felt that I got an advantage in the opening and never let it slip.
- In game 2 when I played a bad opening, I still made my opponent work very hard and even managed to win the game.
- In game 3 almost all my moves were played with a plan
- In game 4...hmmmm.... I was showed good sportmanship
What to do differently
- In game 1 I wasn't always objective and was too nervous when low on time.
- Games 2 clearly showed that I need to pick an opening and stick to it. It also showed the need to force myself to manage my time better. Finally, when I got into an unfamiliar opening I did not treat the position as fresh, but kept trying to play opening ideas I'd seen, without really evaluating them.
- Game 3 I didn't always consider what threats/ideas my opponent had
- Game 4 had the same as game 2.
Overall it was a good tournament. I was rated 4th our of 16 players and tied for 2nd-3rd place with 3/4, but took 2nd on tiebreaks.
My rating went from 1941 to 1956.
Goal for next tournaments: Learn my lessons and get 1st with 4/4 soon. I've been having a lot of decent results, but I can (and will) do better!