Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Chess Pistols Tournament at Rice University

The Chess Pistols chess club held a G/60 +5 SS tournament on June 4.  I took my 1244 provisional rating into the tournament determined to come out with at least one win.

Game 1

The first game was typical ... I blundered early ... was moving too quickly; not paying attention to the threats after my candidate moves.  I went down a bishop.  But, I kept fighting and came back big time.

I equalized the game by trapping his bishop and then later on, I sacrificed a pawn to clear the way for my rooks to do some serious damage.  I eventually was able to trade a rook for his queen.

From there, it was even more stressful.  I had to win the game now with limited time on my clock.  I managed to screw myself by not managing my remaining pawns well.  We dropped the pencils and focused entirely on the board.  I kept giving check.  My strategy, at this point, was either to force him to lose on time, force a draw by repetition.  But I managed to maneuver his rook and king to the edge of the board and with my king and my solitary pawn, I was able to mate him.  I honestly didn't see the mate until after I made the move.  We were both in shock that the game was over.

Later on in the day, I found that he was rated over 1800 - making this the biggest win of my entire chess career!!

Game 2 and 3

With my extraordinary win in round one, I was paired with one of the top players in the tournament.  He was rated over 1900.  I got crushed in 23 moves.  I wasn't so disappointed in the loss per se, but rather in the lack of effort on my part.

Game 3 was pretty much the same.  I played a 1700 player; blundered and then got blistered on a brutal checkmate.  That game also went a measly 23 moves.

Game 4

I was finally paired with someone with about the same rating - a 1400.  This game was a slog-fest going over 60 moves.  I managed to find a crucial tactic that secured me a pawn lead.  I went on to force trades of the remaining pawns and then cleared a path for my remaining pawn to queen.  He resigned before I could queen.

So I went 2-2 and placed 2nd in the U1600 division and scored $10!

Now - can someone answer me this: how did I get paired with an 1800-rated player in round 1 when there were 1400-rated players?  Hind-sight: I'm glad I did, but I would think that they would pair me - a 1244P player - with someone around my rating.

Here is a link to some pictures of the tournament.  My rating is now 1434 after 13 games.


  1. Great job! The pairing does sound a bit odd--normally the top-rated plays the top of the bottom half in the first round. Were there quite a few rated below you in the tournament?

  2. It looks like I was the 4th lowest rated player out of 26. So I would have imagined I should have played someone much closer in rating to me. Here is the link to the crosstable: The link to the USCF cross table is here:

  3. Hmm, he was the 8th highest, so that actually seems about right. This tournament was a little top and bottom heavy, so that's why you got him, and you took him out! Again, congratulations, that's a giant step up in the ratings.