2015 PA State Championship, Day 2: Almost Epic Comeback
After the incredible upset in Round 1 yesterday, I went around telling everyone I would win four straight games. Naturally, everyone called BS since I was in dead in the middle of the field, ratingwise (we didn't get any titled players, but 8 of the 25 in our open section were masters).
But it was really close! I climbed back to the top boards and played for 2nd in the last round (actually, a friend and fellow CMU student should have drawn his game, making a tie for 1st a possibility as well!). I had incredible chances in my last round against Minear in the last round, but blew it. But it seemed similar to some of my lost games against 2100s from early in the year - trouble keeping cool under pressure, except this time I was up against a better player.
In the round before that though, I had to close a pretty shaky game against a strong expert. While I was better throughout most of the game, pressure got to both of us and we were both completely winning at different points in the time scramble. With under 2 minutes on the clock I finally prevailed.
This gave me a chance to play for 2nd. Since I was playing Peter Minear, I didn't have many expectations but that changed later in the game. The Kings Indian-like opening was new to me, but I just tried to play solidly yet actively and it worked out until the end. We went over the game later and it turns out literally anything (except what I played and obvious hanging of pieces) was winning. Since I was really nervous, I kept playing and thinking too "safe" which prevents me from considering a lot of good possibilities.