FIDE RR part 1: Into the Piranha Tank
Piranha image by Greg Hume, from Wikipedia. All chessplayer photos by Victoria Jung-Doknjas via the Washington Chess Federation blog, used by permission of the photographer.
This FIDE-rated event was a sideline of the third Kings Vs. Princes match, which pits 9 high-rated adults against 9 high-rated youths. The KVP event ended up being for masters and experts, while lower-rated players were organized into two round robins. Only the higher RR had enough FIDE-rated players to actually be rated.
The purpose of these events, Josh Sinanan says, is to obtain FIDE ratings for as many WA players as possible and prepare our youth for international competition. In order to get a FIDE rating you need a non-zero score vs. FIDE rated players, so the intent has to be to recruit some FIDE players and get them to lose at least a few games. I was the top seed with a rating about 50 points above the other players, but I still had a sense of impending doom.... The other FIDE-rated players had such low ratings that a loss of FIDE rating was inevitable for anything but a perfect score against them, but I was more worried about my USCF rating. I told Viktors Pupols that I needed 7-2 to keep my rating intact, and he bet me 25 cents I couldn't do it.
In round 1 I played fellow blogger Joseph Truelson. Oddly, I think his game would have profited from more "rar" and less draw-mindedness, though he drew two masters in the previous tournament so I can't entirely blame him for trying the same strategy here.
In round 2 I played teenager Zachary Zhang, who I'd beaten once before.
So that was not a clearcut game, but it was a win--two games down and the piranha haven't nibbled yet. I was feeling fairly good about my tournament. In the third game I faced FIDE-rated adult Sridhar Seshadri, who said ruefully that he was out of practice and not well prepared. On impulse I decided to play 1. e4 instead of the 1. f4 I used throughout the rest of the tournament. Voila, a Caro-Kann!
A very straightforward win. It would turn out to be the only one....
At this point only one other player, Eric Zhang, had a perfect score. Viktors was sounding worried about his 25 cents. It should have been a warning, however, that the Kings were getting badly beaten by the Princes: in round 3 they managed just 1.5 points in 9 games. This speaks to just how strong the youth of our region are, something I was about to find out the hard way.