My First Tournament After Two Years
My brother and I after the tournament

My First Tournament After Two Years

GM Troffy

About four weeks ago I played in my first tournament in two and a half years! My previous tournament was the 2017 US Junior Championship (which is a tournament I am now too old to play in 😅.) 

For several years I haven't played in too many tournaments in Utah and tried to play in more tournaments where I would play other titled players, but the ones I still do play in Utah are usually the ones with the faster time controls and this tournament was no exception to that. I played in the Utah Speed Chess Championship, which I was excited about in some ways and nervous about in others. 

I was nervous because I was the highest player by quite a bit, which meant that I was "expected" to win all of my games. The other reason I was a little nervous is because even though I have been playing online and done decent enough, the time control was 3 minutes with a 2 second increment which, when I tried to play in last months Titled Tuesday didn't go so well (maybe I rely too much on flagging my opponents 😅). However, I was definitely more excited than nervous. I was excited to play in an actual tournament and see some of the local players I haven't seen for a long time! 

The tournament was 7 rounds where you play each opponent 2 games (one with the White pieces, and one with the Black pieces), so 14 games in total. I felt relatively good about the way I played, with the exception of a few moments one of which was my first game!

I reached the following position in round one against a younger player Ujan Ray where I made a mistake! 

Later we reached this endgame in which I was able to win (but this definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to start my tournament.)

I actually ended up appreciating this stumble in the first round. There was no beating around the bush that it could have cost me big and I got a little bit lucky. But after that, I feel like I was a lot better about my time spending in knowing when I should take a little bit more time and when I needed to play faster. I still didn't play perfect, but I went on to win all my games and the tournament. 

As you can see from the photo for this blog there was another fun thing about this tournament. I grew up playing chess with my brothers which was great for studying and us pushing one another to the next level. Over time they moved on to other things while I kept with chess. However, one of my brothers, Zac, has recently been getting back into chess a little bit. He hasn't played in a classical time control tournament in 7 years, so you can imagine we haven't played in a tournament together for a long time. This tournament finally broke that, and even though we didn't play in the same section, he played in the Reserve section and was able to take first place as well. 

I still feel like it would take a lot of work before I was fully comfortable playing in tournaments like I was before, and don't think I will ever fully get back to playing like I was. But after such a long time this was definitely a fun and enjoyable tournament to start with. 

I wish I remembered my games better so I could share them with you all, but since there were a lot of games and it being a quick time control I don't remember them precisely. So instead here are some fun tactics I have stumbled onto recently! Hope you enjoy, catch y'all next time!