Category Archives: Tournament report

Road to 2100: T-36 Review

This is the next in my series of ‘T- reviews’.  If you have not been following them, the concept is explained in the first one.

The main news this period is, of course, the London Chess Classic, which was a fantastic event as always, even if my results left something to be desired.  I took part in the 9-round FIDE Open, followed immediately by the weekend ‘Super Rapidplay’.  My performance  of 3.5/9 in the Open was somewhat disappointing, and I am expecting to lose around 5 rating points as a result.  It was all going reasonably well until the penultimate round, when I managed to change a winning position against a 2062 into a lost one in the space of a few minutes’ play.  Had I won that game I would have been gaining around 20 ELO points; as it was I was back to parity, and lost 5 points the next day for drawing with a very underrated junior (once more from a winning position).  My performance in the rapidplay afterwards was fairly disastrous, which I think can largely be attributed to exhaustion.

To understand why I was so exhausted, let me explain my routine for the tournament.  The pairings came out at around midnight each day, and I would stay up each night for two to three hours after that with my guest, GM Tal Baron, and prepare a file with lines I was intending to play against each of the possibilities for the next game.  I would then sleep until near midday, before resuming work on my lines, trying to understand in some depth the standard plans in each position.  We left for the games shortly after 3 pm, and for the first few rounds I relaxed as much as possible on the journey.  In later rounds I changed this routine, by adding my lines to the iPad app ‘Chess Opening Trainer’, and spending the journey to the game revising the lines.  There followed a long game (my longest was 108 moves, and most at least reached the time control at move 40), the journey home, and generally an hour or two’s rest before repeating the whole process.

Clearly this was a pretty intense routine, but it may have been sustainable if I had been sleeping properly.  Unfortunately I slept very poorly most nights, as I was sleeping in my living room and being woken up by my housemates leaving for work early every day.  I will have to think more carefully about my routine for my next tournament.  However, despite the impact this had on the rapidplay and the later rounds of the main event, it was still a useful experience.  Some of the opening work I did should pay off in future games, I have picked up some useful tips from GM Baron, and I will be able to draw some lessons from my games.


FIDE standard: 1962 – 1957 (expected), -5 points

FIDE rapid: 1899 – 1877 (expected), -22 points

FIDE Arena blitz: 1944 – 1924, -20 points

I have explained these rating changes above; whilst it is never nice to lose points, I do not think they actually reflect a loss in strength.  However, I now face a long uphill climb to get the required rating points before my September deadline, so I am changing the red/green ranking of this section to red.  Note that I am still owed 24 points from my tournament in Belgium, but I do not know when these are likely to appear on the list.

Assessment: Red (cause for concern)


I have added a column to my public study log for ‘intensity’, which will allow me to record some of the chess activity I do, such as fairly casual analysis of my games, which I do not regard as ‘deliberate practice’.  I will only be counting the high intensity activities (other than games) towards my weekly target.  I have counted some of the opening preparation I did during the Classic as high intensity practice, which means that for the first time I met my target one week and then easily surpassed it the following week.  I will be leaving this at a red ranking as I am still far behind my cumulative target (2070 minutes completed against a target of 4680).

Assessment: Red (cause for concern)

That’s all for now.  There will be a T-32 review on the 17th of January, but do check back before then as I may post some games from the Classic or some more ideas about studying.  As always, please share your frank thoughts in the comments section below.

Czech Open update

I’ve now played the first two rounds of the main tournament here in Pardubice, and it’s going well.  Yesterday I managed to beat a 2151 with white, and today I drew a 2107 with black.  Yesterday’s opponent blundered in the opening, and although I allowed him plenty of counterplay I don’t think I ever squandered the win.  I felt like I had slightly the better of it for most of today’s game too, but a quick look with Houdini shows that it was pretty equal most of the way and a draw is a fair result.

I may post game fragments when I get a chance, but I won’t be posting complete games until after the event so as to keep the openings I’m playing here a secret.

Czech Open: Blitz & Rapidplay

I’m currently in Pardubice, awaiting the start of round 1 in the main tournament.  On Wednesday morning I played in the ‘Superblitz’ tournament – 9 double rounds (i.e. two games with the each opponent) of 3-minute blitz – and scored a decent 4/9.  I played both GM Aleksandr Volodin and IM Petr Neuman, and although I failed to give either of them much to worry about I did manage to trade wins with another titled player, WIM Monika Tsiganova (2164 ELO).

On Wednesday evening and Thursday I played a 9-round rapid tournament, and decided to enter the top section, where I was seed number 151 out of 164 entrants, in a field which included David Navara and Robert Hess (and initially Sergei Movsesian, though he withdrew before it started).  In the first round I was paired with Ladislav Urbanec, 2293 ELO, and after initially having much the better of it the game reduced to a (probably) drawn ending.  A position was repeated three times and I claimed the draw, but alas in rapidplay if you are not recording the moves you have only your opponent’s sportsmanship to rely on in such cases, and my opponent refused to accept my claim and found a way to deviate.  A while later I overstepped the time limit and lost.  From then on my play deteriorated, and I ended on a rather miserable-sounding 2/9.  I’ll upload some of my games later if I have time.

Hopefully the main event, where I am seed number 169 of 264 in the B section, will go better.

Weekly Progress Report #76

I did thirteen and a half hours of chess this week, of which almost all was playing and analysing at this weekend’s Durham Congress.  I was the bottom seed in a strong Open section, and scored a disappointing 1.5/5, or 1/4 discounting my half-point bye.  Interestingly, each of my four opponents was called David!

I got a good position out of the opening in my first game, but spent far too long trying to find a forced win (which was probably never there).  For some reason I also thought that the time control was at move 30 rather than 36, and ended up blundering in time trouble in the lead-up to the time control.  In the second game I got a bad position out of the opening (which I didn’t know well), and although it seemed at one point like I may save it, I never fully recovered and resigned shortly after reaching the time control.  My third game was a King’s Indian Bayonet variation, and some move-order confusion gave me a nice advantage out of the opening.  Although my opponent fought hard and generated some chances to save the game, he eventually succumbed.  In my final game I played into an opening trap and lost fairly quickly.

I’m playing in a league game next week, and may play another game or two in April or May.  Apart from that, I won’t be doing much chess until the start of June when my project report, exams, viva and other fun will finally be completed.

Edit: I’ve uploaded the first and third of my games in response to a request.