A few weeks back, I was invited to play for the SF Mechanics in the PRO Chess League qualifier. I decided to play, wondering how good my play would be. The format of the qualifier was 15 rounds of 3+2 in a swiss round robin, where players of the same team could play each other. In the end, the top 3 teams with the highest number of points from their players would qualify.
As expected, many teams had at least one teammate play another, and SF had 2 such pairings (Bhat vs Rayan,Bhat vs Naroditsky). The qualifier was a tipsy-turvy slugfest: I ended up with 8/15 with a 3 game losing streak in the middle of the tournament, where my technique and precision left plenty of room for improvement. Danya ended up carrying our team to a 6th place finish with a phenomenal 11.5/15. I enjoyed the qualifier greatly as it was a great way to quickly gauge how my chess has been going, even if SF didn't qualify for the league in the end.
In the first round, I played Mark Paragua, where a strategic misstep caused a lot of suffering on my part.
In the fourth game, a nice c5 break in the chebanenko slav gave me an easy path to an advantage. In blitz, being very familiar with the finesses of an opening can be very advantageous,especially in tricky lines, or seemingly harmless lines with devious tricks like this one.
By round 7, i was doing quite well, then started a 3 game losing streak that checked my ego. Funny how Caissa treats me! During the game I thought the only breakthrough wasn't possible, then the breakthrough occurred and my world got turned upside down for the remaining 5 minutes of the game.
In the last game, I played the young talent Bryce Tiglon, failing to put the game to a finish.
Bltiz does a good job of showing weaknesses in your game. It can show your unfamiliarity with the intricacies of an opening, instinct and technique, and strategic intuition.