And now, the Newb presents... Losing by draw
I played at a <1600 rating for about a year and then one day woke to find myself in a higher bracket: the 1600+ world. Surely, I was untouchable by griefers and sandbaggers now. These were mature chess players. Well, at least if some ringer drops into my tournament bracket, it wouldn't really matter because I'm the low man on the ratings totem pole and will be losing to everyone anyway. Are there players with 2000+ ability playing at the <1800 level? Probably. Does it matter? No. Not to a 1601 whose about to go winless in 10 games.
Almost. I scored a 2.5 in my first Official 1601-1800 tournament. Yes. Official. I know I swore I'd never play in another Official tourney. Let's give the mature chess players a chance.
And they were pretty good. Fast-paced play. No one on permanent vacattion. Chatty. And the games were great. I learned a lot... about how badly I play chess. My 2.5 came from 2 wins on time and a 10-minute video of me doing dangerous stunts in exchange for a draw. My rating dropped 50 points. That's OK. I was over-rated anyway.
Or so I thought. Slowly my rating crept back into the 1600+ zone again. Well, I knew how to take care of that problem - another 1601-1800 tourney.
Ok, so, I told you about my first tourney - 2.5 - yadda yadda yadda. Now, in this tourney, I'm 0-2 and playing the top player in the group.
Well, I didn't. All I saw was a repeatable position if I could make the White Queen keep scooting between h6 and h4. I looked no further. That was the half-point I was looking for. And I got it. I was so happy. When I ran the analysis, I almost cried.
17...Bxf3 (instead of Bg7); 18. Bxf3 Bg5; 19. Qxg5 Qxg5; 20. Bxa8 Rxa8 and Black has added a Q vs R advantage to his one pawn disadvantage.
As it turned out, I won my two games on time again. Lost to the favorite with White but closed out with four straight wins for 6.5 points and a third place finish.
That's when the crying began.
The favorite had been upset in his last two games and finished 2nd. If I'd had another half-point, I'd have the tiebraker and a tie for 1st. Guess where I left that half-point.
Oh sure, if I'd known that an advancement in a 1601-1800 group was at stake, I would've tried a little harder. The morale is that I should've tried a little harder anyway and let something good happen.
Sorry, I can write any more. I'm tearing up again.