Western Class Championship Results
The tournament got a decent turnout, GMs Yermolinsky and Khachiyan both played along with IMs Sevillano, Matikoziyan, Pruess, Mezentsev, and Stein. I started out playing okay. I had an interesting game against Robby Adamson in my first game, I had a strong advantage, but made a couple of obviously bad decisions which allowed him to complicate the position with an unclear sacrifice that was much easier to play for him regardless of the true assessment. In my second game a strong expert from Arizona in what was a complicated positional struggle where an early decision to leave the king in the center was later a deciding factor after I defended for quite a while. In the third game I faced IM Mezentsev and I unfortunately walked into a little trap in the opening that left him (with the black pieces) with a better position and me with little active play, I tried to stir things up, but the position was already too bad and I lost in short order. In my 4th game I achieved a position with an extra pawn and a better position straight from the opening, but after one missed move and a couple of serious miscalculations I achieved a position where my opponent had a lot of counterplay despite being a pawn down, in this game I was particularly upset at the various missed tactics even though I saw some reasonably tricky ideas that were necessary to keep the game in control, but ultimately I was only able to draw. In the next game I was paired down and I made several bad decisions missing my chance to get the better of the position, but fortunately my opponent missed his opportunity to put me into serious danger and then in what was at best a slightly better position for me he actively blundered a piece to give me the game. This guy says he's a reader of my blog so I give him the utmost respect. In the last round I was paired agianst a slightly higher rated expert who I've played before, this game was flawed in many ways, I "tactically" won a pawn from the opening, but it turns out the tactic was flawed in a few fairly obvious ways that we both completely missed. After a few more moves I was essentially just a pawn up, but there were aggressive possibilities for both sides. I made a bad practical decision right before the time control (which I could have delayed until after the time control by repeating moves one more time) and then quickly blundered into mate. Overall I feel like I played well, unfortunately my struggles as white continued, it's arguable that I played my toughest opposition as white, but I got good positions in two of the games and then mishandled the positions completely so I think it's fair to say I need more practice both playing an analyzing these types of positions.
How I did at my goals?
Well, I didn't finish +1, in fact I finished -1, but I was within range. I was very good at spending 10-20 seconds on early moves making sure I didn't have two positions confused, thinking about what other options I had, I think this worked quite well as I felt like I didn't catch myself not thinking on any moves, now as to the quality of my thought that was a little lower than I was hoping for. I did miss a few of my opponents moves, but it was at least a rare occurrance. This doesn't sound like a complete success, but I am pretty satisfied and if I can continue this positive trend I will have good results in the future.