2.5/5 at ACC Action-Plus June 2015
The first time I went to the Arlington Chess Club, which was last month, I lost all my games and dropped more than thirty rating points. It is always a tough tournament for players like me; I am always going to be one of the lower seeds, and additionally, the G45 d5 time control is quicker than what I usually like. But even so, I was hoping to perhaps do a bit better this time around, and I did. Although it certainly wasn't an outright success, it did gain me some rating points, some valuable experience playing against two experts, and perhaps it also showed that I am playing at class A level again...maybe.
In Round 1 I faced Trung Nguyen, who is technically a FIDE Master. He received the title because he got first place in a tournament whose first prize was the FM title- not because he has ever been over 2300 FIDE or earned norms for the title. In any case, I was surprised that I not only got out of the opening reasonably well, but even managed to bring about a drawn endgame which, with more time on my clock, I could probably have held with ease. Unfortunately, my opponent, extremely intent on not drawing, moved his king and bishop all around the board looking for tricks just as both of us fell under half a minute and were primarily playing with the five-second delay. This worked in his favor, as the endgame turned into a bullet match between a 2100 and an 1800, and eventually, I dropped a pawn and he won. Unfortunately, there were so many quick moves in the time scramble that I don't remember them, and therefore can't analyze the position to determine my fatal error, but I am confident that I would have drawn had I not been so low on time. I heard before the game that Trung likes to allow his own time to run low and then outplay people in time trouble, and I guess it worked.
Round 2 was against a somewhat lower-rated player. I got just about no advantage from the opening, and he played a good game until he blundered a knight in the middle of the board. From there I managed to hold on.
In Round 4, I faced the guy who runs the chess club, Adam Chrisney. This was my least interesting game, as he blundered material multiple times. Everyone has moments like that from time to time, so I'm guessing it was just a rough game for him.
In the last round, I played someone I had faced at the Maryland Open. That game should have been a win for me, but I butchered a much better position and I only ended up drawing. In the rematch game, Ako arrived about ten minutes late to the round, and then chose to play 1. a3!?! I didn't play very well against it, though, and he ended up achieving a dangerous Stonewall Attack structure. My unsafe king ended up being the deciding factor and he found a tactic on move 23.
My last game was not good, but otherwise I think I had a fine tournament. My rating went up to exactly 1800 again. I'm getting tired of the 1700s and 1800s, as I haven't made any significant rating progress in about six months, so hopefully this is the start of me finally breaking out of this plateau I've been in.
Thanks for reading and I would very much appreciate any comments on my analysis or my games in general!