Monday, 26 October 2015

Second Tournament Report & Actionable Points

So I returned from my 2nd FIDE rated tournament yesterday, which means I have completed my 10th game. I have heard it takes about 25 games to get an accurate FIDE rating but based on my own analysis I think my rating of around 1850 FIDE is pretty accurate.

This rating is based on my performance vs similarly rated players, a recent victory in a ECF game vs someone rated approximately 2000 FIDE and the relative ease with which I can handle players rated around 1600 FIDE (not that they aren't dangerous players!).

A quick summary of the tournament would be that I should have scored 2.5/5 points but after refusing a draw in my last game against an opponent rated 1915 FIDE I only secured 2/5 points, giving him a performance rating of 2000 and lowering mine to about 1770, instead of maybe keeping us both at an even 1900! Lesson? Take time left on the clock extremely seriously when considering a draw and forget 'what should have happened if time was infinite!'. I knew I had winning chances at a few points of the game and computer analysis agrees and could obviously not let this go. When I was under 10 minutes and my opponent still had 30, I started making questionable moves giving black an advantage!

See the position below, I did seriously consider Bf1 and was going to play it, but after considering his rook gets quick access to a2 and I didn't have enough time to calculate the ramifications of that, I decided to just 'push the pawn'. It was all downhill from here really, keeping my bishop out of the game and even so the draw offer came about 5 moves later, with my opponent missing a blunder the computer did see.

Sad state of affairs towards the end-game but I can be somewhat proud of my overall opening and mid-game play, aside from the time it took I guess!

So what did I learn, what are my actionable points to improve? What are my next goals?

Actionable points:

  1. Continue studying the end game (I must have done about 6 hours of end game study the last month, not good enough. Recalling the principles now, I know i should have pulled my bishop back to provide the support from long range, horrible move, b5!
  2. Close the holes in my opening repertoire so I can remain competitive longer against players who know opening lines I don't and thus save time. The way I will achieve this is by playing more 20 minute games again (have hardly had any in the last month!) and perhaps even Blitz could help, and every time I am not happy with my opening performance, study the line using the tool I've developed. Eg, I got destroyed by not knowing some fundamental differences between a Dragon setup and an Accelerated Dragon, ouch! I want to get to a stage where no matter what reasonable opening my opponent choose I can feel comfortable for at least 10-15 moves. I am not sure  correspondence chess can help patch up my opening repertoire as the flow of games isn't anywhere near as fast to find the gaps that exist. The correspondence games mainly help with middle game positions, finding plans.
The positives of my actionable points are that they are fully in line with the Russian school of chess which often backs the study of chess from the opening and the end game first, leading towards key middle game positions later.


I am not sure I will play the next FIDE chess event in London, as I feel I have some improving to do before I can go there and seriously challenge the players on the 2000-2100 band. However, I think I can really kick their ass next year, perhaps by April, so let's make that the goal. 2000 FIDE by April 2016. Here i come!

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