Texas State and Amateur Championship 2011
The nice thing about competing in the same tournament year after year is that it gives you an opportunity to measure your improvement. Last year at this tournament, I scored one win (against a player rated 791) and two draws (really should have lost one of those draws). The average rating of my opponents was 1319. This year, I scored three wins (winning every match against lower rated players and one win against someone rated 1707). The average rating of my opponents was 1513. I'd consider this tournament a success. My rating improved slightly from 1325 to 1359. Not the same leaps I've had from the Austin and Many Springs Quad events, but I'll take it.
One thing that certainly helped was that I stayed at the hotel, instead of driving back and forth -- which I did last year. As a result, I was more rested and relaxed. Also, I shared a room with my friend Odunayo Ajiboye. He's a very talented chess player, and just a few points shy of a much deserved NM title. I know that's become a goal for him. We went over a few of my games. He's a good chess teacher.
My round 4 game against Marshall Rogers was very instructive. He crushed me last year in round 1. This year, I lost against him again, but it was much more competitive. I had a winning position that slipped from me. I'm rather proud of my move 12. g4!, which I never would have considered last year. The blunder that followed was 13. Bd2, a quiet move when a much more aggressive 13. g5 was needed.
I had a few instances where passed pawns caused me a lot of grief, especially in round 3 against Parker McWatters. This was my third game on Saturday, after a round 2 match where we were the last board still playing. I was tired and, to his credit, McWatters played well. I had to sacrifice my bishop to solve the problem of two passed pawns on the sixth and seventh ranks. I blundered late in the game, falling for one devasting fork and then another.
In round 7, my knight was a pawn-eating monster -- and then finally took a rook before being captured. The game would've been a complete blow out, but it slipped away from me a bit. Once again, another passed pawn antagonized me. I was still able to win by trading off pieces and advancing my own pawns, but I was hoping for a more elegant middle game mate.
Please look over my games -- any feedback or commentary is greatly appreciated.