SF Open

Nov 22, 2015, 11:36 PM |
Back in September, I played in a big open tournament. I really enjoyed the tournament. The whole tournament had a very professional setup. Usually, you have to bring your own boards to set up, but this tournament they already had boards setup for all the players. The scoresheets were already set out on clipboards and there were several bottles of free water for the players set off on the TD's table (the TD also happened to be a GM). The whole atmosphere was very professional. I saw many players that I knew plus several new faces.
      My pre-tournament aspirations were simple: win my games. However I wasn't prepared on how poorly I would play the first day of the tournament.
Round 1: I don't lose to lower rated players

In my first round, I had to face someone I had met before. Ironically, I had fought against him in the 1st round of my last tournament. I crushed him in less than 25 moves that game. In this second matchup he tried his best to get revenge:
You can bet that I was disgusted with the quality of my play after the game. I definetely should have lost this game but a good player is always lucky. 

 Round 2: Pyschological Victory

 Before Round 2, I hung out with a few of my fellow chess clubbers while at the same time doing homework. Bruce, a professor at the university I attend, all of a sudden asked me what opening I hate to face. "What are we facing each other this round?" I asked. It turns out we were. I would have the black pieces.

I have played more games against Bruce than any other chess player. Over our numerous games I have probably lost about 5 or 6 games. Therefore Bruce thought he would probably lose. This psychology impacted the following game:

Another very poorly played game. I still can't believe Bruce didn't play 26.Kf1 but that is where I believe pyschology played its part.

Round 3: Awful game full of awful moves

In the third round I was to face a WGM. However I had the white pieces, so I wasn't too concerned.

I should have been more concerned. Once again I play an awful game full of awful moves. No shame in losing to a WGM but I knew I could play better. It was clear that I was totally out of form on the first day and should have scored 0-3 out of my games but got 2-3 by some miracle. I went home, rested up, and prepared to actually play decent chess the next day.

 Round 4: Battle of Champions

In round 4, the SD State Champion and the SD State Jr. Champ went toe to toe. It was a pure heavyweight fight filled with blows by both sides. I grabbed the advantage from the opening. It looked like I was simply going to pick off his weak pawns.However my opponent showed he was resourceful and fought back - getting an attack on the kingside..... and the punches started flying.


At the end we were both extremely low on time. I was shocked when he offered me a draw, as only he can win. I really enjoyed this game. I had never played Lyle before this game. At the 2014 State Championship, he and I both beat Nels but I never got to play Lyle. I looked forward to the matchup and it didn't disappoint. I gained a great deal of respect for my opponent after this game. He fought back from a worse position and almost won the game!

 Round 5: Strong Handshake

In the last round I faced a with the white pieces. In OTB chess its considered proper to shake hands before the game. My last round opponent put some shoulder muscle into his hand shake. I wasn't prepared for such a handshake and knocked over some pieces with my elbow. However my opponent's fierce handshake didn't carry over to the game. He burned up a ton of time on the clock - by move 16 or so he had 20 minutes of his time left!

And so I finished the tournament in style - his biggest mistake was giving up his dark-squared bishop. However I have never seen such a comical setup of pieces as I have in this game. All of black's pieces were sitting over on the queenside tripping over each other. He tried to give me another shoulder assisted handshake after he resigned - and I threw a little shoulder into my handshake. I stood up and started to pack my stuff away and was congratulated by a spectator who had been watching my game. He said he enjoyed watching my attack. I thanked him. 

I'm always happy when people enjoy my games. I have heard that a chess player is part scientist, competitor, and artist. A well-played can can give you a sense of artistic pride.

Overall, my tournament was not bad. However, I played bad chess on the first day of the tournament. I don't know how I scored 2/3 that day. The next day I actually played decent chess. I finished with an overall score of 3.5/5 - not a great scorce but not a bad score. However, I had ambitions to finish at least in the top three - I failed at that goal. I vowed that my next tournament would be different.