Rejkjavik Open, rounds 7-9: I did it, but ...

Mar 23, 2018, 5:21 AM |

The Rejkjavik Open has concluded!

The final games of the tournament went as follows:

Round 7: (B) against FM Seyb (2180) - Win

Round 8: (W) against Laustsen (2202) - Loss

Round 9: (B) against Fridjonsson (2170) - Draw

My overall performance rating was 2070, and I gained about 75 elo rating points. I also obtained my first win in my life against a titled player, so overall I should be happy. At the least, I satisfied both my goals of winning against a titled player and of performing above 2000. But there's this nagging feeling that (a) I've had plenty of luck this tournament and (b) I've given away games through simple blunders. The one thing I should be happy about is that there's few games where I felt like I was simply outplayed or out-calculated. It's easier to blunder less than to calculate more deeply.

The games

The win against FM Seyb was lucky. He played an offbeat anti-sicilian that I never looked at carefully and he got a better position. After noticing this, my goal was to complicate the position as much as possible. I did succeed in that, and my opponent made mistakes in the resulting complications, but objectively my position was close to losing, and I felt like my opponent simply had an off-day to miss a relatively straightforward way of getting a huge advantage. What makes me happy about this game is my (titled) opponent praised my endgame play!

The loss to Laustsen was disappointing. We played an odd line in the Najdorf which resulted in early complications on the queenside and by move 15, we both had less than 45 minutes left. In a position that was relatively equal, I blundered to allow a simple skewer. Even though the game wasn't immediately lost, it was hard to hold, and I quickly went down. He clearly played better than me throughout the game, but without blundering it would've been a much tougher fight.

The final round felt both like luck and a lost opportunity. In a Panno King's Indian where I had the black pieces, my opponent opened up his kingside (probably unnecessarily, but it was complicated), and then sacrificed material in order to avoid a perpetual. However, I ended up being a piece up against a simple pawn, with the only complicating factor that I had to guard some weak pawns. From then on, the game was a good lecture in the strength of players above 2100 - he simply made good moves, allowed me to make a couple of mistakes, and that allowed him to draw.