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2015 Philadelphia Open: My Worst Tournament Yet

2015 Philadelphia Open: My Worst Tournament Yet

Apr 9, 2015, 4:07 PM 20

This past weekend, as part of a grand trip to do some college visiting during my Spring Break, I played in the 2015 Philadelphia Open. It was a great tournament. There were so many prodigies and famous players that I was thrilled to be able to play. I was in the 3-day section, but I was able to see some Round 1 games of the 4-day section since I arrived on Thursday night, and I was in awe of the number or really famous chessplayers in that tournament room. After that, I thought I was in for a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I had not just a bad tournament, but probably my worst so far. I played so badly that my rating dropped 65 points (!) and I am now back in Class B territory again. I officially scored 2.5/7, but one of those points was a bye, and I was actually at 0/5 heading into the final day, when I saved a little face by getting 1.5/2. The worst part was that I came into the tournament expecting to play strong players, and I suppose a good deal of my opponents were underrated, but since I kept losing over and over again, I kept getting paired with people rated lower than I was, which was not at all what I wanted. I guess I could have registered for U2200 if that was really what I wanted, but then I'd still probably have had a terrible performance.

My problems were too numerous to mention, and as per usual I had no shortage of tactical blunders, but this time around, I was actually really frustrated with my stupid positional errors in some games. Some were caused by lack of calculation (such as my silly queen maneuver Qa5-b6-b4-a5-c7 being caused by me missing white's Bd2 idea) but others were caused by me just not focusing and being inattentive. Also, I just didn't understand how to play some of the positions I was getting, especially on both sides of IQPs in Games 1 and 3. In any case, I have a lot of work to do.

Some of the games will not have much in the way of annotations. I haven't thoroughly analyzed them all and after this tournament, I'm not sure I'm even qualified to annotate my games, haha. The first two games were played with a faster time control than the rest because I was in 3-day.

Round 1: G60 d10 


Round 2: G60 d10
My Round 3 game was where I got really frustrated. I got into a slightly better queenless IQP middlegame and got completely outplayed by a much younger and lower-rated opponent. 
Round 3: 40/120 d10 SD 30 d10 (same time control from now on)
Round 4: 
So after four bad losses, I was doing so badly that there wasn't anyone for me to play, as I was in last place with an odd number of players. They gave me a full-point bye for this, but I still wanted to play, so I took on the last-place person in the U2200 section (who was also getting a full-point bye), and wouldn't you know, he kicked my butt also. This was probably my worst game (which is really saying something). 
Round 5: 
Round 6: Finally a win!
My last round game should have been a really embarassing loss. However, instead of just going a pawn up, my opponent chose to sacrifice a piece and create an insane mess on the board. It was a ton of fun! I asked him after the game why he played Re8 and Rc8, and he told me (I am not sure if he was being serious) that it made the game more fun. I guess he was also having a rough tournament and just wanted to mix things up. I absolutely refuse to do computer analysis on this game, and while I hope you all try to analyze this, please do not use computers! It ruins the fun. After having the worst tournament of my life, this thriller was a fun way to end it, even if there were tons of errors.
Round 7:
In conclusion, other than Round 6, I played very badly, definitely not even close to 1800 level. Obviously, a lot of my opponents were underrated (and none of them were adults) but frankly, I just had a really bad tournament. I obviously need to work a lot harder if I'm going to continue improving. Thanks for reading.

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