After the blitz match ended (1-1) it was time to start the tournament I’ve been waiting for such a long time. My mood and confidence were very high (I was coming after two back to back tournament victories), but my play throughout the tournament was nothing close to what my expectations were.

Round 1.

First round I played one of the invited grandmasters, Jaan Ehlvest. Mr. Ehlvest is a well-rounded player and has been part of the American chess elite for many years, I was aware of the fact that it’s not going to be an easy match. The opening was a success for me but at some point in the middle game I erred and Ehlvest took full advantage of my mistake. Bellow is the game with full annotations:

Chirila, Cristian vs. Ehlvest, Jaan

Rounds 2-4.

Next game I played another top seed of the tournament, GM Alejandro Ramirez, who had an incredible year and managed to gain ~70 rating points, jumping from 2530 in March to over 2600 after this tournament. He surprised me in the opening by starting with 1.e4 and we played a long theory line of the Ruy Lopez. I forgot the correct move order and ended up in an uncomfortable position, after a long and hard fought game I managed to draw and avoid another painful defeat. The game felt as a real success especially because the night before this round I had to work on a school project till 4 AM and had only 3 hours of sleep before going back to the university to take an important math quiz. Next 2 rounds were quite dull draws, as white against Margvelashvili I was not able to obtain anything and we signed the scoresheet after 30 moves, against Holt I obtained a very pleasant edge on the black side of the Grunfeld but somehow lost my concentration and allowed my opponent to simplify into a draw endgame. Bellow is the game with full annotations

UTD GM Invitational Holt, Conrad vs. Chirila Cristian



Rounds 5-9

The tournament was not going great but not too bad either, I was very eager to win some games and get back to 50%. From there I could have climbed back to the top spots, unfortunately the deal you do at home is not the same deal that you do in the market (Romanian saying, not sure about its English appliance). In the 5th round I played GM Kritz, it was a very unorthodox Dutch in which we both closed our theory books quite early. The game was very interesting and I managed to obtain a winning advantage but failed to convert it and finally blundered horribly to lose the game. It was a terrible blow and from here on the tournament went only from bad to worse. In round 6 I drew GM Iotov, very dull and boring game without much history, obtaining advantage as white was another issue encountered in this tournament. Round 7 and 8 I lost both against GM Berczes and GM Sadorra respectively. If the game against Berczes was straightforward, the one against GM Sadorra had a very interesting course. We both started with fighting spirit, I had nothing to lose anymore and he was fighting to win the tournament therefore he chose to go for the bloody, yet risky King’s Indian Defense. Bellow is the game with full annotation:

UTD GM Invitational Chirila, Cristian vs. Sadorra, Julio

The last round I just wanted to stop the bleeding and made a quick draw against GM Kosintseva.

A complete disaster, arguably the worst performance of my career, many aspects of my play needs improvement and I will work harder and more organized to achieve that. With that being said, I’ll let you go through the games, I think there are valuable lessons to be learned from all of them!

Yours truly,