Asheville June Open Round 1 (or how I have come to loathe G/60)
Part of my "Summer of Chess" was another tournament 2 weeks after my last one in an effort to crank up my OTB experience. One theory that I have about increasing your level of skill (and has been substantiated by numerous USCF Member rating lookups) is that strong players play a lot. There really is no substitute to OTB, tournament conditions play.
Of course, this is much easier if you live in an area with a good chess presence and an active club to support it. I would imagine that living in a city with several titled players (either to play against or take lessons from) and a club with rated events every weekend (or month-long evening tournaments) would seem like a perfect environment to push your game as far as you can take it.
A look at my stats before this event shows that I have played 52 rated events and 184 rated games in my entire history of being a USCF member, Some of this is from taking breaks sometimes lasting several years and some of it is from living in a relatively rural area with not many opportunities to play rated events. Having said that, I decided to get up early on a Saturday and make the 1 hour and 20 minute drive to a 3 round, G/60 event.
I've had some trouble with G/60 events in the past. It just seems like an odd time control where it's not quite a rapid time, but it's not a more classical, slower time either. As such, I have trouble getting in the groove of a G/60 game. Another thing I have noticed is that I tend to "play myself into a game" so that if I do run into trouble, I can take time to find ways to turn it around (see my game at the Carolinas Classic for some examples of that). It is hard to do that in a G/60 (for me, your mileage my vary).
After the smoke cleared, I had lost 37 points in 3 games, which included everything I gained at Charlotte and then some. It began to make me wonder how my lifetime results in G/60 events have been so I decided to do a little research.
Out of 18 G/60 events, I only gained points in 5 of them, and lost points in 13 of them. The total number of points gained was 177 and the total number of points lost was 306. However, the single greatest result I have had was at a 4 round G/60 where I gained 132 points in one event. This was when my rating jumped from around 1600ish to where it is now, mid 1700s. I would like to think that that would have happened regardless the format so I don't think it would be an indication I do well in G/60s at all. If you throw out my result from that outlier, then I have only gained 45 points in 4 events and lost 306 points in 13 events, I knew that I have not done so well in that format but wow, seeing the cold hard facts now tells me that I should give a serious pause before deciding to play in any future G/60 tournaments.
The event itself was well run and everyone was very friendly and made me feel welcome even though it was my first time there, and for that I am grateful.