A Milestone, Maybe

A Milestone, Maybe

IM dpruess
Jun 3, 2011, 8:58 PM |

[previous round]

I have an extremely bad record in losing positions. Even just in "very bad" positions. Of course, nobody expects to score tons of points from losing positions, but don't most people occasionally score? Occasionally say "I was getting crushed and then he just went for this combination that doesn't work." This has pretty much never been me. To the point that I have been pretty convinced that I'm somehow not making proper practical defensive choices-- which pretty much would entail giving a very strong player the kind of opportunity to mess up they might actually go for.

But in the ninth and final round of the Metropolitan Invitational, I can say with absolute confidence that I got sooooooo lucky. I was pretty sure I was going down without a struggle during this game, despite the fact that I kept searching, searching, with all my heart for some way to stay in the game. And then, miraculously, my opponent handed me a full point (I would have considered myself super lucky to somehow get half a point from this game). Was this just a one-time event, or was it some turning point in my chess life?

My next event begins tomorrow morning-- the chess.com GM challenge. It pits IM Danny Rensch (my co-director of content and professional relations on chess.com) and myself against two seasoned GMs, Alex Yermolinsky and Suat Atalik. For Danny it will be mainly a warm-up for the National Open next week, since he has not played since January. Despite that, he has a rather ambitious goal for the event: 2/4, an even score. That would be a good score under the best of circumstances, but after a near-five-month layoff it would be pretty incredible.

For me, I hope to continue to build on my success from the last event, where I made progress on two important goals. Since this tournament I have stronger opposition I have two more specific goals: 1) To win a game. 2) To defend and draw one bad position. I will also continue to work on focus/patience and on not getting upset when I lose, to make sure that those gains from the past event are consolidated.

The games will be relayed live in chess.com's live server. Two rounds Saturday, two rounds Sunday (10 am and 4 pm pacific each day). Go to the "events" tab and then both boards should be there to observe.