My Recent Tournament Performance

My Recent Tournament Performance

Mar 15, 2017, 9:15 AM |

I just completed my first five round, weekend tournament. It was my third tournament since I last played as a kid in the '90s. It was also my first tournament with such long time controls. The time control was 40/90 SD/60 d/5. Before this tournament, the longest game of chess I have played has probably only been about an hour and a half. (The two previous tournaments having been G/60 d/5.)

My results were 1/5. So not great, but I generally blew a game after having earned some advantage. So while there is a lot of chess to learn, some priorities for  improving results are probably less related to studying the game itself. Things to learn include:

  1. Build up endurance to fight off fatigue in longer tournaments. This will happen a bit naturally as I play more tournaments.
  2. Remain vigilant at the board and maintain an awareness of threats. This is also practice.
  3. In a position that the opponent won't receive a lot of benefit from extra time to analyze, use the extra time to take a break before making a move. This would probably have helped me significantly in round 5. 

In my first round, I am up a full rook and hang checkmate against a 2000 rated player. This is the second time I have hung checkmate from a winning position in a tournament game. I can't recall hanging checkmate like this in a causal game.


The second round wasn't profound. I made a dubious move on move 15, but I'm still probably okay. Then a moment of inattention on move 20, and I commit a massive blunder after which I probably should have just resigned and saved my energy.


Round three was interesting. I have a great position after move 28, and then I throw it away with another one move blunder on move 29. So that's three rounds in a row.  I play on, and black puts me back in the game at move 40 by allowing the exchange of rooks. But this is the third round in a single day, and I make the mistake at move 48 that allows black to escape his prison by exchanging rooks and then I commit a fatal blunder on move 57.


My fourth round is my one and only win. It is a dubious win though. I have an idea that turns out to work, but in retrospect, white probably could have punished me. I was playing a younger player though, and I think the trapped bishop created some frustration that clouded her judgment.


My fifth round was probably the most frustrating loss. It is also an illustrative example of fatigue. The game lasted around four and a half hours. My opponent used thirty minutes for the first ten moves and had only sixteen seconds left on the clock after making his fortieth move and gaining the hour. I couldn't stay mentally present at the board for that long -- and it shows.


This game concluded the tournament and was the bookend for quite a miserable performance. I will need to play more practice games in order to make sure I remain disciplined and vigilant at the board over the course of a longer game.