Just Susan Polgar wishing me luck before the tournament!

Northern Open

This was my third big weekend tournament of the year, starting with the Minnesota Open and then the US Amateur North Championships.

My main goal going in was to simply play enough games to get rid of my provisional USCF rating. Going in I had 23 games, and I needed 26 games to not have a provisional rating. It wasn’t that I minded having a provisional rating, but I wanted to make sure I played more OTB games. I also played in some rated games at the local chess club. This tournament got me enough regular-rated games. Now I wonder if I should think about my provisional quick and blitz ratings as well, but not right now.

In the last tournaments I played in the unrated/U1100/U1200 section (whatever the lowest was). This is correct for my level, but was hard because the ratings felt so wild. In the last tournament someone in the U1100 section went from unrated to 1460 and one of my opponents was officially unrated, but played some rated games right before the tournament (but before the official ratings were published), and had a rating of 1500.

This time I decided to play up. I was in the U1800 section. My thought was that at least I would know the level of my opponents. Basically I decided that I was OK with the worst-case scenario, which was losing every game. That’s pretty much what happened.

I felt like the games I played OTB were nothing like the games I play at home online. Not just the online vs. OTB, but I just couldn’t seem to find a plan or way to win in any game.

After the tournament I feel like I need to rethink the way I spend my study time. I realize that I am not really pushing myself when I study, just doing some light studying every day. I talked to my coach and have an idea of next steps. He also quickly pointed out that my openings need some work, so I’m going to, again, rethink what openings I play after a tournament.

As always, I wanted to report on the gender breakdown at the tournament. Of the 104 players, 91% were male, 6% were female, and 3% were not defined.

What was exciting was that WIM Alice Lee won the tournament with 5/5. She is ranked #12 in the US right now, and is 12 years old. It is exciting that she is from Minnesota!

Day 1 - Round 1

  • Opponent Rating Before: 1505
  • Opponent Rating After: 1442
  • Result: Loss

A common theme that started in this game was just not seeing the threats from my opponents. In this game the move 12…g5 was unexpected to me, but I should have seen it. From there I lost a piece and probably the game. My accuracy was decent, at 80%, but my opponent’s accuracy was 95%. When he didn’t make any mistakes, and I made 1, the rest of the game was downhill. My opponent was probably in middle school.

Day 1 - Round 2

  • Opponent Rating Before: 1349
  • Opponent Rating After: 1357
  • Result: Draw

This was a long game, but I felt pretty good about it. My opponent and I felt pretty evenly matched. I did not blunder anything, though I made a mistake at the end that turned a possible win into a draw. After the opening I was worse off, but I managed to fight my way back into it. We were both running out of time towards the end of the game.

Day 1 - Round 3

  • Opponent Rating Before: 1029
  • Opponent Rating After: 1214
  • Result: Loss

By this time I was pretty exhausted. The Round 2 game took a lot out of me. While I did not make any huge blunders, I made enough mistakes for my opponent to get a fairly easy win. By move 10 my opponent was winning, and keep the lead the rest of the game. This opponent went on to come in 3rd in our section. He was a college student.

Day 2 - Round 5

  • Opponent Rating Before: 1041
  • Opponent Rating After: 1041
  • Result: Loss

This last game was against a 7-year-old kid, who played well. I took a bye in round 4 on Sunday morning, and I thought a good night sleep and a break would get me back into it, but I was still surprisingly fatigued and found it hard to concentrate. This was my third game as black, and it was an opening line that I studied, but really don’t like. So I was losing most of the game. He slowly grabbed a couple of pawns and I felt like I couldn’t defend anything. He made a couple of mistakes too, but I was not able to recognize them and take advantage.