Sunday, September 21, 2014

(Not-So) Dreaded Double Day (Part 1)

     In the second round, I played against Paulius Pultinevicius from Lithuania. I got an even position out of the opening, which is not what I wanted, but it wasn't terrible. I made a pawn break to open up the position, and then retreated my queen. At this point, I was worried as I thought that if my opponent played properly, I would have to take a draw, but, luckily, he didn't see a tactical sequence that allowed me to win an exchange. After that, I had a few scares in the endgame, but it was relatively simple to convert.
     In the third round, I was on the top 10 DGT boards. These are nice wooden boards that broadcast the games to the WYCC website at this link: . I played against Adham Kandil, an Egyptian. In the Slovenia World Youth, I was upset in the second round by Adham Fawzy, also an Egyptian. I am not sure if they are brothers, but this seemed like Déjà vu so I was extra careful in the game. On a side note, Adham Fawzy upset the top seed in the second round. : ) In the game, my opponent played the dangerous Alekhine-Chatard Attack. I took the gambited pawn, but eventually gave it back for queenside play. When I had consolidated my position, I came back and took open files on the kingside. Soon after, my opponent opened dangerous weaknesses on the queenside, and I came back to attack there. He was lost and played a move which allowed me to win a piece. After that, it was an easy conversion.
     I now have 3/3. I am playing white on board 4 against a 2330, Haik Martirosyan. I need to do well this round to have a better result than Dubai. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

World Youth Begins Again!

     This year, the World Youth is in Durban, South Africa. We had an uneventful flight to London and then from there to Johannesburg and then from there to Durban. We are staying at the Maharani Hotel. We have a great room, and the food here is at least better than Dubai.
     The tournament itself is actually very well organized. The buses to the playing hall are frequent and on time. The pairings were posted quickly and accurately. The playing hall was amazing! It was spacious and provided us with water and decent boards. However, only the top ten boards are broadcasted through DGT. The opening ceremony started when the round was supposed to, but that was still better than Dubai. There were many speeches and Zulu warriors actually did a dance. It took forty-five minutes and the round eventually started at 4:45. Overall, this World Youth is much better than the last, so far...
     In the first round, I played an Australian, James Kay. He was rated about 1660 FIDE. I played the French and won a pawn quickly. I made some inaccuracies, and allowed him to equalize. He also didn't play correctly and I was able to retain my advantage. I sacked two pawns so I was one pawn down, but got a huge attack. He couldn't defend and I won soon after.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pacific Southwest Open

     After another mediocre tournament, I lost four more rating points to drop my rating to an even 2300. A week later, I traveled to LA to play in the Pacific Southwest Open. We arrived around midnight due to giant traffic jams. In the first round, I got an even position from an Exchange French against Vikram Ganesh. After dropping a pawn, I was able to secure a draw. In the second round, my opponent, Matthew Shuben, didn't know the opening and mixed up the move order. I was able to win quickly after his mistake. In the third round, I got an edge with black against William Duckworth's Trompowsky. Eventually, my exchange and attack were good enough to win. In the fourth round, I was white against IM Dionisio Aldama. I outplayed him in the Exchange Slav and eventually won the two-pawn up endgame. In the fifth round, I had a double-white against GM Sevillano. As white, I got an equal position, but he pressed too hard and I started to become better. Eventually, I had a completely winning rook endgame which I managed to draw. That could have been my first GM win! I was upset, but tired after the long 5-hour duel. I had about half an hour to prepare for my last round game against IM Roman Yankovsky. The winner had a chance to tie for first place, depending on what happened on the first board. We got an equal position out of the French, and then he started pushing the rook-and-knight vs. rook-and-bishop endgame. He ran into time pressure and then got into a drawn rook endgame. However, I pushed my pawns quickly and he make some mistakes allowing me to get a winning position. Guess what happened. -_- Again, I messed up, this time allowing him to go into a drawn rook vs. pawn endgame. This game also went for five hours, leaving us with a six-hour drive home plus dinner at 10:00 in the night. We finally made it home at 6:00 AM and I slept in till 1. If I had won my last two games or even got 1.5/2, I would have gotten a share of first. Anyway, I still gained 30 USCF points and 80(!!) FIDE points, due to the new system.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Terrible Trio

     For me, it seems that after a good tournament, I immediately drop into a slump. After Nationals, I have played three tournaments, Best of the West, Barber Qualifier, and National Open, and played poorly in all of them. I seem to have re-opened my blundering wound and the blood from it is flowing freely. I am outplaying lower-rated opponents positionally and then missing simple ideas that cost me points. However, I am also getting outplayed when facing stronger opponents. This doesn't bode well for me as I am still going to play the World Youth in South Africa. Luckily, my rating is still over 2300, at 2304, even after three horrendous tournaments. I hope to change the trend over the next few tournaments that I play!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

K-9 National Champion!

     I went into my usual post World Youth writing slump, but now I am back! I have played a few tournaments recently, the High School Nationals, the Larry Evans Memorial, and the Junior High Nationals. In the High School Nationals, I scored 5/7, losing to the eventual winner, Darwin Yang, and Abhishek Obili. I lost a few rating points, but it wasn't a terrible tournament.
     In the Larry Evans Memorial, I played badly in 3 out of the 5 games, getting lucky in my first round. In the second round, I drew Timur Gareev, my only result against a GM so far! The third and fourth rounds were terrible; I played horribly in the opening and allowed my opponent to get two connected passers in the first game, and blundered a piece on a tactic in the second. In the fifth round, I played my friend, Rayan Taghizadeh, in the French Advanced. Everything was locked up and I didn't want a draw so I sacrificed a piece. We went into a very complicated position and eventually I found a win. Throughout this tournament, I realized that I had been playing better positionally than tactically. To prep for the Junior High Nationals, I worked on tactics everyday.
    The JHS Nationals were held in Atlanta this year, forcing me to take a 3:30 flight that arrived in Atlanta at 11:10. My dad and I traveled with my friend Allan Beilin and his dad. It was late at night and we still needed to find a place to eat. We wandered the streets of downtown Atlanta and when we saw that almost nothing was open, we returned to the hotel restaurant. I went to sleep really late, but when I got up, I still had homework to do. The first round was at 1:00 and I won easily when my opponent resigned prematurely. The second round took longer as my opponent played pretty well, but eventually I overwhelmed him in time pressure. In the third round, I played Yash Pershad. I got a better position out of the opening, but he started counterattacking on the kingside. We traded into a drawn endgame, but I thought I was better. I declined his draw offer and played on. Eventually I realized that it wasn't looking so good, and offered a draw. He accepted and I was really relieved after this game as the computer gave the position as -4 in his favor! The next round also took a long time, as I couldn't push my advantage till the endgame, but eventually I won. In the fifth round, I had no idea what was going on in the opening so I went into a line which neither my opponent nor I knew. I got a nice position after implementing my plan, and I used tactics to win. In the sixth round, I played Abhisek Obili with the same color that I had lost to him with in the High School Nationals. We played the same line, but this time I didn't make any opening mistakes. I sacrificed a pawn, but he didn't take it, allowing me to get a kingside attack. I sacrificed a queen, using nice tactics to win it back with interest. Look for the full annotated game in Chess Life for Kids. In the last round, Christopher Wu, Andrew Liu, and I were all tied for first with 5.5, but I had the best tiebreaks going into the round. I got white against Christopher and Andrew was playing down. I got a very nice position out of the opening as Christopher messed up and put his rook on a7. I slowly developed my pieces and went into an endgame. I made a lot of mistakes trying to win quickly when instead I could have slowly improved my position as there was nothing he could do. Eventually, I won a pawn and went into a winning knight endgame. I messed this up as well, leading into a drawn position, but Christopher was in time pressure so I played for a trick and he fell into it. Luck was really on my side in this tournament! Andrew and I tied for first, with me winning on tiebreaks. I was really excited because this was the first Nationals where I got the first place trophy!

Monday, January 6, 2014


          Lisa by Jesse Kraai is a very unique book. I am pretty sure that it is the only chess novel to be published. Jesse was on my SF Mechanics team and was kind enough to give me an autographed copy of his book. GM Kraai took some time off from chess to write this book. It is based on the story of Igor Ivanov, as it says on Jesse's website:
          The book is about a girl named Lisa who starts chess as one of the many things that her mom signs her up for. She plays a tournament and wins money for coaching. She approaches a grandmaster to try to improve. Throughout the book, she faces many struggles, both personal and in chess. At times the book became confusing due to the alternate world Lisa went into, however if you read slowly, you will understand. Her journal is an important symbol in the story. I have met some of the people mentioned in the book, as it takes place in Northern California. The book is so believable that I had to send an e-mail to Jesse Kraai confirming if it was fictional or not! I highly recommend this book for the detailed descriptions and the strong emotions that Lisa goes through. It is very interesting to see how Lisa copes with all of her problems, like in real life.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

End of the World Youth

          In the tenth round, I played against Cem Kaan Gokerkan from Turkey. I got a bad position from the opening, but fought back to a better position. Then, I went into a queen endgame which was winning. I guess I got tired because I blundered a perpetual check which forced a draw.
          In the eleventh round, I played against Teemu Virtanen from Finland. He lives in the Bay Area, but plays in the World Youth for his native country. I got a very good position out of the opening, but then messed up. I became worse, but he accepted a draw in the endgame.
          I finished with 6/11, my worst World Youth score. I played terribly in this tournament and I need to do a lot of work if I am going to South Africa next year.