Eastern Open U1900
I got 4.5/7 at the Eastern Open this weekend in the U1900 section. Although my rating went up from 1770 to 1793, I would say that on the whole I played very poorly for my standards of play. The main issue was not calculating things correctly and missing simple tactics at times. However, my opponents seemed to miss a lot of stuff, too, as I lucked out in several games and managed to win or draw in spite of my poor play. Here are some of the games.
My Round 2 game was decided on a blunder. I was in a little bit of time pressure (9mins to play four moves so I could make the time control) but I shouldn't have lost the way that I did:
In my Round 3 game, I think I was playing very good positional chess for most of the endgame. I found ...b4 which fixed her pawns on the same color as her bishop, activated my pieces, and if anyone was going to win, it was probably me. And then I randomly hung a pawn and had to struggle to draw the game.
Here's my Round 5 game, which was another instance of me blundering and getting away with it. This was a pretty funny game.
Round 7 was by far my best game, although even this game featured a blunder on my part which should have lost me a pawn. Winning this game tied me with my friend Richard Tan for the top U1750 prize (my listed rating was 1590 coming into this tournament, which was all that mattered for the prize), and thus won me $200.
In conclusion, even though I did get 23 rating points, $200, and 4.5/7, I am pretty disappointed in my play this tournament. While I outplayed most of my opponents positionally, the tactical mistakes I was making were inexcusable, and need to be cut out of my game if I am to take my chess game to Class A level. With that said, the good thing about this tournament was that I could clearly see my weaknesses without having to pay too badly for it, as several of my opponents let me off the hook for making blunders when I should have been lost. In the future, I cannot count on my opponents doing that, so I need to give the highest priority to studying tactics and calculation. I did very much enjoy this tournament in spite of my poor play, as it was for the most part well-run and I had a lot of friends there. It was a fun way to end the year. If nothing else, I certainly made a lot of progress in 2014. My rating went from 1224 after last year's Eastern Open to 1793, and hopefully that is just the start of my journey to NM (2200). I think that level of improvement will be harder to come by as I get higher-rated, so I would say that by this time next year I hope to be rated at least 1950, although I will be playing more chess in 2015 than I did this year, so perhaps I can push myself to new heights.
I hope everyone has had a happy holiday season and I wish you all good luck on your chess in 2015!