UTD GM Invitational Part 1

I firstly wanted to name this article “the worst tournament of my career” but I decided to come up with a more positive article as my first one on this blog, therefore I will try not to focus my attention on the missed chances but rather on what I can improve in the future.  This tournament is one of the two closed GM tournaments we get to play every year for the university, so I was really looking forward to a good performance. Given my previous two tournaments results (tied for first in both) and my aim to defend my previous year’s title (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/11983/688) my expectations were very high. I also think I did a decent job on my preparation before the tournament (maybe too much ICC, but that does count as training also, right?). Well, in my home country we have a saying, the count at home doesn’t match the count in the market, not sure if that makes sense but my point is that things didn’t really go my way, to say the least.

This year we played the tournament at the Embassy Suites in downtown Dallas, and the conditions of play were top level, as expected. This is one of the good things about tournaments in the US, the conditions are usually very good and the players expected to give their best especially that our coach is using this tournament as an indicator of our form and usually guides his team’s selection for the Pan-American championships based on our games. I hope he will make an exception this year—wink, wink.

Before the beginning of the actual round the local tradition is that the winner of the previous year’s tournament will play a 2 minute blitz match against one of the visiting grandmaster, therefore I played a quick match against GM Gelashvili from Georgia. He is a well known fast player so I did not rate my chances very high, especially that I like to take my time and prefer long time controls. Buuut, apparently my ICC preparation before the tournament paid off and I managed to win the first game, unfortunately things went wild in the second game and I was not able to win a queen up game, mainly due to the chaotic time situation. We split and the tournament director decided to tie the match and write both our name’s on the winner’s plaque. I was quite happy with the decision because I didn’t want to continue the match and get into too much of a blitz mood right before the actual game.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article which will contain analysis of some of the interesting, though not very successful games I played. I will also relate one of the downsides of having school deadlines to meet during a tournament and how it affected my game.

Yours truly,