The state championship is over. I had a rather average tournament with a performance rating of 1899, sending my rating from 1748 to 1775.
In round one, I had black against Gary Luke (1831). He played a rare line of the 2. Bg5 Dutch with Qd2 and f3, and I made some positional blunders and soon found myself with a dreadful position as his knights reached optimal squares. Seeing that I would soon lose if I didn’t do something drastic, I started a pawn storm on the kingside as quickly as possible and sacrificed a piece on h3. I was still completely lost when my opponent blundered into checkmate in 1 and resigned before I had the chance to play it.
In round two, I had white against Kayven Riese (1825). Two years ago, I played him in the B section, in which he won first place and I tied for second. We drew that game after I missed some winning lines. In a Najdorf, he castled queenside, and I castled kingside with his attack looking somewhat more dangerous. After a while, we had a position that was slightly better for black, but I somehow managed to convince myself that I was hopelessly lost and played a completely unsound piece sacrifice. After that, he won quickly and without many problems. In both of the games on day 1, I played quite badly despite being down more than half an hour in each game. It seemed to me that two years of not playing with these slow time controls had had some strange effects on my play.
In round three, I had white against Alexander Francisco (1800). I managed to get an ideal position in a Najdorf with opposite colored bishops in which my bishop was far stronger than his. I tried to find attacking lines, but I somehow failed to find any concrete winning lines, so I tried to create weaknesses on the queenside and failed. After that, I was saddened to find that I had little choice but to take a draw.
In round four, I had black against Gregory Young (1852). He is the fourth highest rated 10-year-old in the country, and some people who talked to me before the game were certain that I would lose badly. However, I felt that he misplayed the white side of the Yugoslav Dragon and allowed a rather strong exchange sacrifice on c3. I managed to get two pawns for the exchange, and I was expecting to win eventually, but he defended well. We reached an equal endgame with two rooks and three pawns against a rook, a bishop, and five pawns, but I had no passed pawns. At the end, I attempted a swindle that would have left me up two pawns had he fallen for it, but when he avoided it, we agreed to a draw.
In round five, I had white against Charles Dupree (1848). In a Kan Sicilian, my opponent pinned my knight with Bb4, which allowed grab one of two hanging pawns. Had he taken on c3, I felt I had sufficient compensation with Ba3, preventing him from castling, but he took on e4 instead, which I think loses instantly. On move 12 I had many continuations which would win a lot of material, and I missed one that would win his queen but instead found one that won an exchange and a pawn and traded off queens. After that it was easy for me to snatch his remaining pawns on the kingside and promote mine.
In round six, I had black against Daichi Siegrist (1883). I played him once before two years ago, and he won rather brutally with white in the Dragon, so I was interested in avoiding such lines this time. He has since switched to 1. d4, and we played an unusual line in the Dutch. We reached a position with bishops of opposite colors and only one open file, so we both put our rooks on that file and exchanged them off and agreed to a draw.
So it wasn’t a terrible tournament, but I had hoped for something better. I failed in my goal of breaking 1800, so that’s disappointing.