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.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Round 9

          After an awesome rest day at Ferrari World, I lost again. I played Dimitrios Zisiadis from Greece. I was much better, but then blundered. I need to bounce back tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

          How great is it that we get to play on Christmas Eve? We get to wake up in the morning and play a game. Then we get to spend Christmas without a tree! Note the sarcasm. ;) I got up really early and prepped for my opponent. He had beaten another strong USA player earlier in the tournament, so I knew I needed to be careful. After some quick opening prep, we went to the game.
          My opponent was Adi Sagita Catur from Indonesia. After achieving equality easily, I decided to take a chance to get complicated equality or get a better position. He did not see the former option and I was able to win a pawn. Then I used a tactic in the endgame to win a piece. The funny thing is that he resigned after I made a mistake that makes it harder for me to win.
          After that, we had a lot of free time so a lot of us played blitz near the cafeteria to practice. Colin Chow, Albert Lu, Marcell Szabo, Siddharth Banik, and I played along with some people from other countries. Later, we went to the blitz tournament. It was supposed to be seven rounds in about two hours, but with the WYCC, you never know. It took an hour to start the second round. There after, the pattern continued. It took about four hours to finish five rounds. Then they moved the next two to the last day of the tournament. I scored 3.5/5, losing to Francesco Rambaldi and drawing with a Sri Lankan with a really long name. Tomorrow is rest day and we are going to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Round 7

          As you could probably tell, I wasn't too happy at all after my last three games. My dad said that I was spending too much time cooped up in the room, so, unfortunately, he forced me to go to the cafeteria to eat. The food still isn't good, but at least the lines are shorter. My prep was fairly quick today. I had time to do my independent study before the round.
          I got another opponent from KGZ today. His name is Aibek Isakzhanov. After an opening which I didn't know that well, but still played in theory for the first twenty moves, I got a very nice position. I created many weaknesses in his camp and eventually, I started attacking and eventually won two pieces. I converted the endgame pretty quickly.
          After analyzing the game, I decided not to come back to the room immediately. Instead, I stayed downstairs and played Foosball and blitz with Albert Lu and Colin Chow. Tomorrow's game is early, 10 AM. I need to do well in the next round to keep up my streak.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Round 6

          Another bad day at office. : ( I got a good pairing against an 1870 from India, Anbumaran Visveshwar. I got an equal position out of the opening, but pushed too hard for the win. I got a lost position after a further blunder. I am now at 50% and need to start taking the tournament one game at a time.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Horrific Double Day

          In round 4, I was playing against the fourth seed, Francesco Rambaldi. My opening preparation was gone after the third move. I got an okay position, but then blundered. In round 5, I was playing against Nikolaos Theodorou from Greece. I got an okay position again, but did not understand the position well enough. This caused me to give him counter-play. He continued to outplay me throughout the endgame and then I was lost. I need to do a lot better to get back into the race.