Edinburgh Congress 2013

Apr 14, 2013, 1:09 PM |

Here are my games from the Edinburgh Chess Congress 2013.

My Chess Scotland OTB rating is very low: currently 1069. Most chess players have excuses for why their rating is lower than it 'should' be, and of course, ratings being being cold unarguable numbers, they are not good excuses. But: I get occasional short-term memory problems that flare up in times of stress. On a bad day, I cannot keep enough information in my head to play half-decent chess, and I am likely to lose to 600-rated juniors. That is why, when I played in the Knights (under 1300) category at the Congress last year, I got 1.5 points and my rating fell about 100 points over that weekend (and to be honest, the draw should have been a win for my opponent - I even realised afterwards that I had unwittingly broken the touch-move rule at one point: I made an illegal move, and the only legal move I had with that piece would have lost immediately.) And the games I won were not particularly good chess.

This year, I figured that if I am liable to lose through blunders and lack of focus, I may as well lose to a higher rated opponent, and have a better game up to that point. So I put myself in the Bishops (max 1500.) I did not get enough practice in in the run-up to the weekend and had a shaky start, and in the middle I was regretting not having gone into the Knights after all, but it picked up a lot in the end and I got a result I can be happy with.

Round 1 Friday evening

Round 2 Saturday morning

On Saturday lunchtime in the canteen, I also caught up with Mark Orr. 15 years ago, he was my line manager in my first ever job. That was before I got into chess, and I found out much later that he is an International Master and former Irish champion. He seemed to be doing well in the tournament, and was playing Grandmaster Keti Grant on board 3 in the last round when I left the next day.

Round 3 Was not to be

Being one of the lowest-graded people in the section and still on nil points, with an odd number of players, I was given a bye in round 3. So I went home and played several practice games on FICS (which I should have spent the previous week's evenings doing.) Sure enough, my focus and performance were much better on Sunday.

At least the bye counts as a win if you didn't volunteer for it, so I am now on 1 point.

Round 4 Sunday morning

Round 5 Sunday afternoon

So, 2 wins out of 4 games, coming to 3 points including the bye, putting me (I think) a comfortable mid-table in an event where I played above my rating bracket. Big thanks to all of the organisers, and everyone else who came.


Edit: I just found out I got the grading prize! (Jointly with Gilbert Alomenu and Fergus Skillen.) I'd have stuck around for the ceremony if I'd known I was in the running.