A Tale of Two Tournaments: Part One
I had $20, two tournaments and a decision to make. Do I go to the Many Springs Quads or the Arlington Chess Club Open? The quads were scheduled for August 19 and the ACCO for September 9. They both required $20, they both returned 60%. I liked the ACCO because it had a well defined U1400 section in which a 1391 could expect good results. I could try to play the quads, win back my entry fee and then go to the ACCO but I didn't know how quads were set up. I was worried that they would have both strong players and weak ones in each quad. Fortunately, my dad was busy the weekend of the quads and my mom was still recovering from having little Julia. I was waiting for September to come around when one day, (last Thursday, the 17th) my mom informed me that I would in fact be going to the tournament, if I wanted to that is. Time would be made for the drive by my dad and courage would be mustered for the drive back by my mom! I accepted their sacrifice and started to prepare and plan. I continued to work through "The Complete Manuel of Positional Chess" (written for 2000-2200s but helpful for stronger players ) with renewed vigor. I thought of wearing a red collared shirt, red shorts, a red tie and my red shoes to help RAR the opposition but was told that that was a bit much. I thought about what I would bring for lunch. The Nb4 the tournament I prepared my favorite snack, (recipe will be given upon request) read more of the book and thought about the morning. We arrived early, my dad and I, to the Library where the tournament would be played. On one end of the room was a table that had a laptop, a wireless mouse, a printer and various papers. Behind it however was Chief TD Louis Reed. I helped set up a little and asked a random guy there what his rating was. He was the highest rated player there at 2000. Naturally, after the sets were all set up I produced my clock and asked him if he wanted to play blitz. He said "Sure" and we sat down at the nearest board and started to play. I had the black pieces and was slightly worse out of the opening, I saced a bishop for 2 pawns and an attack which he easily refuted. Up a piece, he turned from defense to offence and started ripping me up. He picked up another piece and a pawn or two before checkmating me unexpectedly with a rook, knight and bishop. When everyone had arrived and registered, the pairings were printed, and everyone went up to look who they had/got to play. When I went to find the strength of the opposition I looked at the sheet of paper and thought as I read it "1400, 1400, 1400. Ah! There's a 1300! Oh that's me." The four people in my quad were Randy K Dixon, Alex Yenne, Me
and Louis A Reed Jr! I had to play Randy in the first round as black but I wrote "RAR!" on my score sheet in place of the player who plays black and said "RAR!" to him before starting his clock. What followed was probably one of the biggest RAR Attacks I've ever done!
Ours was the first game to finish. I started to wonder if I might be a 1400 instead of a 1250...
Congrats if you found it!
After round one, everybody went out to lunch (there was a Firehouse Subs within walking distance) leaving me to gaurd the laptop, the printer, an iPad, all the tournament sets, some personal sets but not the entry fees or the prize money. I ate my lunch and waited for them to come back. When they came back someone in quad 4, the lowest quad, had dropped out. They decided to merge quads 3 (my quad) and 4 into a "Small Swiss." To keep the number of players even Louis, who beat Alex Yenne the first round, dropped out. This great for me! It meant that I would only have to worry about Alex. Round 2 had me paired vs 1359 Hiram Bodon. I was feeling very confident. I had played Hiram at least three times earlier that day in 5|0 blitz and had won them all. I was used to 1|0 and 3|0 here on chess.com so I played too fast and made a disturbing number of mistakes and blunders but he didn't seem to notice many of them. He played slowly and I think he flaged in two of our games. I asked him if he was nervous before our big round 2 game, he said no even after I gave him a number of good reasons for him to be scared. I think the key to our game was that I didn't say "RAR!" I wrote it down on my score sheet again but didn't actually say it.
As you can see, when I say "RAR!" I wipe higher rated opponents off the board. But when I forget, I struggle against lower rated players.
During the round a paper that said how much money the winners would get was printed and nobody there failed to hear it printing. Quad 1: 1st place: $60, 2nd place: $40, Quad 2: 1st place: $45(maybe $40), 2nd place: $25, Small Swiss: 1st place: $25. There was only one other person in the Small Swiss at 2/2. Jeff French. The editor of the Texas Chess Assocation magazine and yet this was his first tournament! He had estimated himself to be 1600 based of playing on chess.com but had Louis put him down as 1300. He had beaten a 1200 the first round and Randy Dixon in the second. I was worried but he seemed willing to draw. Before the round I tried to find out if my tiebreak would be better than his, it wouldn't have been, but Louis told me that if there was a tie the money would be split. That didn't suit me at all. I decided that I would have to win and declined his pre-game draw offer.
Having leared my lesson from last round, I looked him in the eye and said "RAR!" He reacted the same way as everyone else did when I said "RAR!" to them. He laughed and lost. (I'm waiting for someone to resign and run)
I win! RAR wins! The 2000 who beat me in blitz earlier won! When asked to sign the paper that listed the rewards to show that I had gotten mine, I wrote a very sloppy "RAR!" and Louis who was standing next to me said "How did I know" and laughed. I was going to Arlington! Or was I? If a 1391 wins three games vs good competition he will certanly be rated too high to play in the U1400 section won't he? Louis and the TD of the Arlington tournament were discussing that very thing. It turns out that my rating won't change until after Arlington and that I will be able to play in it. If my rating adjusted now, I would be 1558. There will also be almost three times as many people in the ACCO as in the quads which means three times the prize money! I can't wait to write part two of this post! [Edit. I never played in the 25th ACCO. I played in the 26th ACCO]