Chess at the chateau. Part 3: stumbling at the finish line
An open air chess set was very popular at the tournament. By the way, can you find the mate in 1? :)

Chess at the chateau. Part 3: stumbling at the finish line

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Despite an unfortunate loss in Round 8, in the next round I was playing on the second table again. I was a part of a large group that was sharing 5th place and so I was paired with GM Gabriel Flom. It was my fourth game against a grandmaster in this tournament, which was pretty impressive, given that there were only five of them! 

It was on of those rare cases when my opening prep actually paid off. I was playing Black and yet I had an extra pawn and a better position by move 15, repeating the moves that I studied at home. Alas, after that I finally had to start making the moves of my own!

This loss felt like a missed opportunity. Of course, I made a lot of bad moves, but I had a nice position out of the opening and my opponent was making mistakes too...

A similar scenario repeated itself in Round 10 in the game against Amine El Hijazi, but this time I managed to win. 

Before the final round I had 7/10 and sharing the 6th-12th places. I had a fantastic tie-break, as I have played most of the leaders in the previous round (according to the final rankings, I had the second highest Buchholz in the tournament!), so a victory in the final round would have meant a place in the prizes. 

Alas, instead of that I played the worst game of the tournament and lost without much of a fight to the 12-year old FM Marco Materia.

Not the kind of the ending that I was hoping for, but it seems that my brain simply stopped to function at the finish line. The loss kicked me down all the way to the 17th place in the final standings

However, despite the meltdown at the end, I cannot really complain about my performance in this tournament. I managed to score 3/3 against untitled opponents and 4/8 against four GMs, two IMs and two FMs. Not too bad for a first tournament after a long break!

Well, this wraps up my report on the Chateau d'Asnieres rapid tournament. It was great fun playing in it and an educating experience to analyze the games. Thanks to my new club for organizing such a nice tournament and thank you for reading this three-part series to the end!