For the first time in over ten years, I entered a chess tournament this weekend. I used to play a variety of competitions, quickplays and club matches. As the tournament was taking place locally, I thought it was worth a go.
- Round One: White against player graded 140 (broadly equivalent to what I used to be graded, I assume I’m rated lower now). This was a very long game and in the end, we were both down to the last few minutes of our allocated 1 hour 45 minutes. I had a slight edge all the way through but not enough to convert it into a win. So, a draw. Score 0.5 out of 1;
- Round Two: A pre-arranged bye so that I could spend some time with the family over the weekend, worth the same as a draw. Score 1 out of 2;
- Round Three: Black against a higher-graded player (161). This went pear-shaped very quickly: I walked into a pre-prepared opening variation that he told me afterwards he knew very well. I managed to deny him a quick win and played a knight down for a while, but it was always going to be Lost. Score 1 out of 3;
- Round Four: White against a lower-graded player (128). A fairly mundane game turned bad when I made an outright error after an hour or so: a more experienced opponent would have made light work of beating me quickly after that. However, I fought back quite well and I ended up, as in Round One, with another time scramble. Computer analysis later shows that I might have failed to notice a mistake by my opponent and thus missed a win while playing with just a few minutes left on the clock, but it ended with another Draw. Score 1.5 out of 4;
- Round Five: Black against player graded 145. In an effort to make something happen in the game I played a move which was technically unsound, but my opponent spent about 40 minutes over his reply. He was then winning, but in terrible time trouble. In the end, he was unable to capitalise on his advantage due to shortage of time and we ended up with a Draw. Final score 2 out of 5.
On balance I’m reasonably happy with the result. The only game I lost was to someone who went on to come 3rd overall in the competition scoring 4 out of 5, so I can perhaps be forgiven that. I had chances to win all of my drawn games, but equally I could have lost at least two of them. It would have been nice to win at least one, but at least I didn’t make a complete fool of myself.
I met up with a few old acquaintances from my chess past, chaps who were at clubs I played at. The three of them all scored less than me (0.5 out of 4 – went home early fed up(!), and two with 1.5 out of 5), so I was happy with that 🙂
Edit: Just calculated that my grading for the tournament, based on these four games, is 131. My last posted grade was 142 in 1997/8.