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Month: March 2017

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.


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?