Canadian Youth Chess Championship 2013

Jul 12, 2013, 5:25 PM |

     Possibly the worst tournament of my entire life. I start the tournament with a healthy 1.5/2 and end up losing three games in a row. And they were all games I either should have drawn or won. Darn it! It sucks to lose to 1700 players especially after drawing a 2021 player and beating a 2257 guy. Still, this tournament was very good in teaching me proper tournament psychology as well as giving me many instructive chess lessons. 

Game 1: Alexander Deatrick 2021

Game 2: James Fu 2257

So I get lucky this round and manage to win a position clearly better for black. This luck did not last for the next three games though. Credit goes to my opponents however for playing really well. 

Game 3: Mike Sun 2085

I blunder in the opening, recover, only to get checkmated by a knight, bishop, and two pawns. 

Game 4: Adam Adriaanse 1920

I lost concentration on the move I offered a draw. That loss of concentration ended up losing the game. How can a simple pawn recapture be losing? Well, it can. 

Game 5: Robert Li 1793

After losing this one, I thought this would be my worst nightmare game. Saced a knight in a better position and lost. Curses, one more loss. They just keep coming. The sixth game was worse.

Game 6: Daniel Muntaner 1320

 The worst nightmare of them all. Miraculously manage to escape defeat only to take a draw in a winning position! 

So, a complete nightmare in many ways. Many lessons were learned however. I hope I regain my composure for the Canadian Open as well as the North American Youth Championships. Time to book up so I dont make the same old mistakes again and again. 

Lessons learned. 

1. Rook endgames: Activity and past pawns are most important. Often, an active rook can draw an endgame even down a pawn. 

2. Chess is a game that makes sense. Dont make moves that dont make sense (like giving up the bishop pair for no reason). 

3. Always calculate the forcing variations first. 

4. Watch out for that Nxe4 Nxe4, d5 tricks!

5. Dont play unneccessary moves that dont have a plan (like that Ne5 move in the Fu game)

6. Always play b5 in archangel. Watch out for d4 and d5 using the pin of the a4 bishop. 

7. Beware of the king in the centre, even with no queens. When there are still many pieces, the king needs a safe place to hide from those knights, bishops, and rooks. Weaker pieces can still checkmate you!

8. Do not lose concentration when playing the move before offering a draw. 

9. Every move matters in chess. Even seemingly harmless pawn catures (like that cxb3 in the Adam game)

10. Look for the most challenging defence. Up a pawn in a major piece endgame is often hard to win. 

11. Do not, ever, sac without being 100% sure it works. If it doesn't work (like most of the time), make an improving move that makes the sac stronger!

12. The d4 and d5 tricks to fork pieces does not work with a black rook on e8. Black has the Nxd5 tricks available.

13. Keep it simple and dont go on long calculating rants missing the opponent's simple response. 

14. When the opponent offers a draw, dont accept! Often, someone offers a draw in a worse/lost position. Dont accept unless you are 100% sure there are no winning chances. And dont get distracted. As some famous chess dude (who I forgot the name of) said, "when the opponent offers a draw, ask yourself why he thinks he's worse". 

15. Try not to overestimate or underestimate your position. Often, you need to be patient and work with small advantages. 

16. Trust your instincts. Do not calculate one move for a long time only to disregard it for a move you spent about 2 seconds looking at. 

And thats it. Its funny how I never lost any rating points, despite playing like a patzer for most of the tournament. Still, lessons learned. Gonna do my best for the upcoming big events coming up.