Where a journey of an unknown number of points begins with a single tournament

Where a journey of an unknown number of points begins with a single tournament

ergodicbreak
ergodicbreak
Jul 24, 2016, 11:02 PM |
1

While it's fresh in my mind I'm going to record my thoughts on the Seafair Open 2016, my first tournament, which ended today, to give me something to look back on. 

Though my Dad taught me to play when I was a kid I don't think I had any idea that chess was something kids competed in, never mind your average adult. I started playing again online a few years ago, and discovered the chess club and went once or twice on a Wednesday. Still, entering a tournament wasn't on my radar. But I've been playing casual games OTB regularly for the past six months or so with the meetup group, and I think playing better and better competition fueled the desire to take things to the next level. To play a time control longer than 10 minutes. To put some skin in the game (though my thanks to the chess club for waiving the entrance fee for unrated players). To play some Serious Chess.

 Or maybe it was my new camo chess bag. Yeah, probably the camo. 

 My first round was with white against Eric Zhang. 

 

 The first round was the "fast" G/60, but I think I used about 20 minutes. I resolved to take more time to think in the following rounds. I wasn't too successful in that to be honest, but at least I thought about taking more time to think. 

The second round was with a time control of 40/120, SD 60. 

 When I saw the pairing for the third round my heart sunk a little, since I was to face a 1600s player who trounces me in blitz.  But as luck would have it, just before the round a friend gave me some good advice: "go slow". And it worked. This was the highlight of the weekend for me. 

 

 And that was Saturday.

Today, Sunday, I played two games and lost both, but in instructive and entertaining ways. 

The last game was perhaps the most pure fun of the tournament. In contrast to the previous games my opponent used only 26 minutes and I used 53. 
As a beginner it was quite fascinating to see all the games in progress (of more than 90 players, in a tournament that normally sees about 70), experience the atmosphere and learn some of the etiquette and conventions of tournament chess. I found also that my natural competitive side, dormant after not playing any club sports for many years, revived a little and I enjoyed the spirit of competition in general.