Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hey I'm still here

Still alive, still playing chess, still as patzer as ever.

Some updates:

I've gotten over 1300, finally, landing somewhere around 1352.

I played in the U1600 at the last nationals, breaking even despite being one of the lowest in that section, and scored a number of draws against some very high seeded players.

Still playing Blackmar-Diemer, started playing Scandinavian

Still going through tactical goodness!

* * *

I'm going to get started with CT-ART once and for all, so lets hope that goes well.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dissappointing Victory

So nationals has been concluded, and I'd like to think I've done rather well. I finished 13th in the U1200, with 5.5 points out of 7. My rating rose from 1185 to 1282, nearly 100 points. The team placed 7th, and trophies were awarded.

However, despite this "Good result", I can't help but be a bit disappointed. I was undefeated going into the final round, and lost due to a lack of mobility. All of my games were not only won, but won in a textbook fashion, very aggressively. I only won one decisive game with black, in addition to an extremely narrow win, a draw, and a loss. Its disheartening that I lost my shot at second place, but it is even worse that none of my games with black had any interesting tactical opportunity whatsoever. They were winnable, certainly, but not tactical. My strength lies in tactics, not strategy. I don't believe that my black play is playing to my strengths, and so I've decided to switch openings.

Regardless of this disappointment, I had a great tournament with many interesting games, the most notable are below, annotated.

Round 2 I had white, and I performed a textbook 150 attack.
Round 2.pgn

Round 4 was a Blackmar-Diemer accepted, in which my opponent resigned in only 17 moves.
Round 4.pgn

Round 5 was one of the most narrow victories I've ever had.
Round 5.pgn

Round 6 was an interesting line of the Blackmar-Diemer with an interesting greek gift sacrifice.
Round 6.pgn

Round 7 was my only loss.
Round 7.pgn

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lets do this

I'd like to think I'm pretty well prepared for the nationals. I recently won a tournament where I was seeded 3rd, and my rating is now 1185 for a u1200 tournament. I think I have pretty excellent chances. Given that all season I was playing people above my rating level - and holding on - I may even have a good shot at placing highly.

My younger brother just left for the Junior High Nationals. I'm sure that will be an interesting tournament. He generally performs very, very well at national events. Last year he gained 100 points just from that one event, while I gained about 90.

It just sort of pains me to see my rating trend over the last year. Since nationals, last year, I've lost four points over the year. This is opposed to last year, where I gained 300. Not much chess improvement, which I suppose you could attribute to the difficult tournaments, but that isn't particularly an excuse.

Regardless, I hope I do well.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Much, Much better than I expected.

Back from a weekend-swallowing black hole that is the US Amateur Team East. I am actually pretty satisfied with my results, breaking even out of 6 games on second board.

Breakdown of my games:

First round I got paired against a 200, with a 400 on 1st board. Needless to say, I won. I did take 45 minutes on a single move in this game though, it was rather embarrassing. But he fell into a 5 or 6 move trap that won his queen. Being paired down is fun. 2AEM wins 4 - 0

Second round I got paired against an 1830. It was completely even for the entire game, until the end where he got a small positional advantage and won via passed pawn. I felt like I was so close to a draw, too. The coach, who was playing on 1st board, lost to a 1900 by a single tempi. It was a very disappointing and brutally close few games. 2AEM loses 0 - 4

Third round I got paired against a 1900. He played into a Blackmar-Diemier declined, and I proceeded to get a four move lead in development. I was winning by so much. It was a very depressing result, as I couldn't take advantage of it. He beat me in and endgame. After the match we started talking about the game, and he said that we were "The best team of 1100's we've ever played" and saying that I was clearly winning at the start. Our first board drew an expert and our 4th board beat a 1700. Despite of it, 2AEM loses 1.5 - 2.5

Fourth round I got paired against a 1820. I won a knight after playing a reasonably solid Pirc, and proceeded to give it back for a pawn. I had winning chances, but I choked after losing the knight and offered a draw. He accepted. I was very disappointed in my blunder (Which was my only major mistake the entire tournament), however I managed a draw against an 1850, so I was pretty satisfied. 2AEM loses

Fifth round I got paired against an 1030. I won a rook on move 6 in the most fearless way ever. It was very amusing. I decided in the end that I would trade my rook advantage to get everything off the board, and my three passed pawns easily won the game. I think I'm beginning to understand this game. 2AEM wins 4 - 0

Sixth round I got paired against a 1700. I held him to a dead even draw, trading down to a king and rook endgame with 3-2 pawns vs 2-3 pawns. The position was so dead and lacking counterplay, so I offered a draw (At the time it was two rooks vs two rooks and an extra pawn on each side.) He declined and we traded a rook and a pawn after about 6 moves. I offered another draw, as I could see absolutely no way in for either side. He declined. I put my rook on an square that completely cut off his king and defended all the key remaining pawns, and a few moves later I offered another draw. I felt terrible about offering so many draws, but the position was so drawn. Our fourth board had already won, and our third board was winning. Our first board looked like he had drawing chances, so I felt that a draw would help the team. However, he simply didn't take the draw. It had to eventually turn into a battle of walking left and right with the kings until he would accept the draw. I felt terrible, like I had been annoying with the draw offers, but I could simply see no way in. Our third ended up drawing, and our first ended up losing, so our team drew 2-2.

So our team ended up 2.5 - 3.5, having played only four overmatched rounds. I ended up 3 - 3, with two upset draws and two wins. I feel like I played very well in this tournament, and I feel very, very confident about the Columbus nationals, where I will be playing in a U1200.

Hope this result is here to stay!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Varsity is easy? + study updates

I expected a tough time. With all of our 1600 players graduating, I thought I would get my behind handed to me playing first board.

That didn't happen, oddly enough.

First match was against Mountain Lakes, which we won 10-2, with two draws and a loss. We played two matches, with me beating their first and second board.

Second match was against East Stroudsburg. I don't remember the score exactly, but it was a very hefty win. I also beat their first board.

Third match was against Bloomfield. They were the easiest of the teams, and we won 4-1. I also beat their first board.

Our most recent match was against Newark Academy. This was the team to beat, with their first and second boards being 1400 and 1200, respectively. My opponent played a Sicilian, to which I responded with a Morra and absolutely shred him into pieces. I know I had a win, but I had three minutes and a choice between "Pressure, pawns, and space" or a draw by repetition. I chose the draw. I was a bit frustrated by my inability to find a win, but to be honest I did draw someone rated 200 points above me. Our team won 5.5 - 1.5

The thing that makes me feel most guilty is that I have not been practicing. I've been playing, sure, but my tactics circles are frozen, my openings stay unclear, I've been lazy! I can attribute this to full honors classes, all-nighters, coaching children, what have you, but when push comes to shove I am not getting things done.

The Greater New York Scholastics are in 5 days. I'm going to get ready for them if it is the death of me. Parsippany is in a few weeks. Nationals will be here before I know it.

I resume my studies as of now.


Openings: I'm going to give the Blackmar-Dimier Gambit a shot. Some club members have had success with it (Beating 1700s, huge rating boosts, etc), and I figure if club level openings are not important at my level than I might as well try a risky, tactical opening.
"At amateur level, all openings are sound.", I suppose.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Optimism during the Crisis of a team

Our best player has stepped down from the team. That places me, an 1174 and a first-year, at first board. Our team this year is as follows

  • 1st board - 1174
  • 2nd board - 1098
  • 3rd board - 994
  • 4th board - 990
With no Junior Varsity team.

Quite a contrast from last year which went something like

  • 1st board - 1800
  • 2nd board - 1700
  • 3rd board - 1490
  • 4th board - 1100
With a decent Junior Varisty team as well

I mean, I suppose I could be optimistic and say "Woohoo, I'm 1st board now!", but man this is going to be a tough year. We're all going to have to improve a LOT if we want to have a half-decent year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

That didn't end so badly!

So around three tournaments happened since my last post. In the local tournament, I've officially set my position as the 2nd in the team. In the Varsity match against a school from Connecticut, our team won 10-2, with me beating their top board and their 2nd. In the Grade Level tournament, I went 3-2, placing 7th in my grade. All in all I'm having a pretty decent season so far! I hope this will continue, so I'll be able to get my rating over 1200 AT LAST. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ah! Panic!

I've been busy. Between all honors classes, activities and friends on the weekends, I have had very little time to study chess.
And now all of that is going to have to change.
I went to a tournament a while ago and went 2 - 2 , losing around 4 rating points. No big deal, but it showed that I am very rusty.
Now, I've been dropped dead center of the placement tournament of which I am seeded second. I am not well practiced as of late, so I'm in a bit of a bind as far as board goes. I'm currently 3-0, with a win against a 1050, a 700 and an 1170. As well as it seems to be going, I still have two 1150s and a 1400 remaining to play.
And I haven't been doing any tactics training.

So I post to inform you that I am not dead and at this point resuming my studies.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lazy Lazy Lazy!

Haven't done anything in a while! Not good. However, I've started doing my circles again. Like really this time. Halfway through circle 2 now.

I really need to step it up, season starts in as little as a week from now. Aiming for 1600 at the end of this year. That's about 400 points. I think I can pull it off with a lot of work.

Also, a favor. Does anyone have any good openings that can be achieved with very little study? I'm not looking to study much, just say move 5-ish?

Friday, June 19, 2009

I am alive.

I've been busy lately, so didn't have much time to update. So here's the condensed version.

  1. My laptop is slowly dying and its becoming difficult to use it, thus the inability to study and update.
  2. Placed 2nd at a local tournament with 4 wins and 1 loss to a 1300, team winning 1st place
  3. Graduated, now officially a freshman. Summer break has started, so I'll be finishing my circles soon.
  4. Went and returned from Washington DC. 52 sicknesses followed (including me) with about 5 confirmed cases of swine flu. Freaky.
  5. Managed to get a copy of Winning Chess Tactics, along with other assorted books.
  6. Still on section 5, Circle 2