Wednesday, March 01, 2006

US Amatuer Team West

I might as well start of by discussing my most recent tournament result here. I played on fourth board for my college team at US Amateur Team West. My freshman and sophomore year my school won titles at this even. Last year I had a chance to join the team due to the graduation of a good friend of mine. We were 4.5/5 and in clear first going into the last round and lost a tough match in the last round to a USC team led by IM Jack Peters to finish in a respectable, but still disappointing 3rd place.

This year we were back at amateurs with the exact same members as last year. Board 2 and I had both gained some rating points so we were barely below the maximum allowed average team rating. Our team average rating was 2197 with a maximum allowed rating of 2199.75. This year we played quite well and I was much happier with my performance this year (5.5/6) than I was with my performance last year (3/6). This year again our team was in clear first going into the last round, this time with a score of 5/5 with the next closest team at 4/5 due to some team draws in the previous round. It looked like as long as we didn't get demolished in the last round we would have good enough tie-breaks to win, but we didn't want to win this way, we wanted to get clear first, which meant a team draw or win would be good enough.

The last round started pretty well against a team named "Good Knight and Good Rook". Glancing at the boards it looked to me as if we had slightly better positions on boards 2 and 4 and were probably already equal on boards 1 and 2. My game was a real tactical mess where my opponent sacrificed what ended up being 2 rooks for a dangerous looking attack. I calmly defended, but missed two key opportunities to seal the win and instead allowed a perpetual check to draw. Based on my opponents rating this was still a fine result, but already by this point it was looking a little dangerous on boards 1 and 2, but it looked like our board was already playing for 2 results (draw and win) in a slightly better endgame. After a long struggle, our board 3 blundered and turned a probably won position into a lost position and soon resigned. We were down 1.5-.5 with 2 boards left that looked like we would be in trouble. Then the fates smiled upon us when board 2 for the opposing team blundered horribly in a winning position. Then we got to slowly watch as our board 1 tried to hold what looked like it might be a losing knight endgame. After hours of watching him play, his opponent finally had to concede the draw which left the match as a team draw good enough to seal clear first. It was over, Caltech has won its 3rd Amateur Team West title in four years, hopefully in a few weeks we'll be able to follow in similar fashion to those titles and win the amateur team playoffs.

P.S. I will be posting my rating change after each tournament I play in to track my progress. I might also make periodic posts when new rating lists come out because of the re-rates.

Rating Change: 2093 -> 2111

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