February 2017: Success at the George Washington Open

February 2017: Success at the George Washington Open

Along rolls February. I register for the George Washington Open near DC, I’m seeded 3rd in my section (U2100). My goal? To win the tournament.

When we arrive, I realize I forgot my chess set. Back at home. In Richmond. I look for the chess store, but it doesn’t open until Saturday morning.

Hooray.

I arrive at the tournament hall 5 minutes late (my watch is slow). A friend lets me borrow his chess set, and game 1 of the tournament has begun.

As I said in the last post, do not play the Closed Sicilian against me. It's a recipe for disaster.

Apparently, both of those seeded above me drew, so going into round 2 I'm on board 1 for the U2100 section.

I decided to keep it that way.

I did NOT expect to win that. I get ready for my third round, where I'm playing an Expert. Good luck to me!

OK, so that was nerve-wracking. I check the standings, I'm in clear first. OK, that's good!

The next morning, I find I am playing another Expert.

Apparently nobody likes to give me easy wins.

So I'm on 4/4 going into the last round. There are two players on 3.5/4. I am playing one of them. If the one on 3.5/4 on board 2 draws or loses, I only need a draw to clinch clear first.

Turns out, I didn't have the time to draw. I had already won before board 2 was over.

I won clear first and $1,000! My rating went up 44 points to 2125, I've got 75 left until National Master! Wish me luck.

January 2017: The Chesapeake Open

January 2017: The Chesapeake Open

It was the beginning of a new year.

I was eager for a new tournament, not having played since November.

So I find the Chesapeake Open, a 7-round tournament with score-based prizes, hosted by the Maryland Chess Association. I like their tournaments, as they provide the top sections with first-class wooden boards and DGT clocks.

I register and go on to play, setting a goal of 5.5/7. If I obtained that score, I would earn back my entry/hotel fees.

When I saw the pairings for the first round, I was happy.

“I’ll be playing against a 1700. I’m glad they didn’t start me off with a hard game.”

My overconfidence was sorely punished.

After that round, I wasn't too disappointed. After all, there were 6 more rounds to catch up in!

I go into my round 2 game, optimistic about my chances.

I learned something from that game. NEVER underestimate the Dragon Sicilian.

In order to reach my 5.5/7 goal, I would have to win all 5 of my remaining games. Would I be able to?

OK, so that's one goal I can't achieve. I was at 1/3, so I just decided that I should try to just salvage my rating.

Well, that was an amazing recovery.

I go into my next game, careful not to let overconfidence cloud my vision. After all, I stand on 2/4, which isn't so bad, right?

That was satisfying.

The next day, I stand at 3/5. I won't be able to get 1st, but I'm recovering pretty well.

As a general rule, don't play the Closed Sicilian against me, as you have seen with my game against Stephen Jablon from last year's Chesapeake Open.

Another funny thing I noticed: The last time I played Philip was in the 6th round, as Black, of the 2016 Chesapeake Open. Weird, eh?

So, I was at 4/6, and thanks to the score-based prizes, after I finished my last game, I could go home. If I won, I would get $300.00. If I drew, I would get $100.00. If I lost, I would get $30.00. I decided to try to win.

It looked like I was going to lose for a while there, but things turned out OK. I finished on 5/7 and my rating actually rose a bit, to 2081.

Plus, ending with a 4-game winning streak isn't bad either.

A pretty good end to January, don't ya think?

The Year In Chess: 2016

The Year In Chess: 2016

I had to move my blog to a new client and I lost all my previous posts, so let’s get all my readers caught up.

2016 was a very good year for chess, in which my rating moved from 1936 to 2075. It started slowly, but things really started going around summertime. I tied for 4th in the U2000 section of the World Open in early July (7 wins, 2 losses), tied for 1st in the U2100 section of the Potomac Open later that month (4 wins, 1 draw), and defeated my first master in the final round of the National Chess Congress in late November.

My first few tournaments in 2016 weren’t that eventful. The Chesapeake Open in January was OK for my rating (4.5/7 in U2200), but nothing really special. However, I beat an Expert in a very interesting game you can find here:

The Maryland Open in February was a disaster. I only got 3/5 in the U2000 section, basically caused by being lazy and blundering my Queen in round 2.

The Cherry Blossom Classic in May was much better. I defeated a 2100-something in the first round, but otherwise it was nothing special. Here is an interesting game of mine from that tournament:

The World Open was where it really got going. I started with three wins, then a loss, win, loss, and 3 more wins. I would have tied for 2nd or 3rd if somebody hadn't obtained a 1.5-point lead after 8 rounds, and just dropped out to claim his $12,000 prize one round early. Here is my round 7 win:

The Potomac Open was nice. I cruised through opposition rated from 1800-1950 or so and ended with a score of 4.5/5 and shared 1st. I played some fun games involving opposite-colored Bishops. Here is the victory that secured me 1st place:

The State Championships were nothing special except for my draw against Jennifer Yu in round 2. I'll show you the game here.

I came really close to winning the Washington Chess Congress in October, but I messed up against Robert Fischer in round 6, spoiling my chances and leaving me with 5/7. Interested? Here it is.

The National Chess Congress: I played in the Premier (2000/up) section. I drew a FIDE Master, lost 2 to a Master and a Grandmaster, drew a master and beat another master. 2/5 isn't so bad when I'm facing opposition of that level! Here is my draw against the FIDE master.

Long story short, 2016 was amazing. I had a decent showing in most of the tournaments, but the summer (especially July) was just fantastic.

Thanks to everyone to sticking with me through all this, and I hope your 2016 was great!