Sunday, June 7, 2015


Five months ago, I blogged about a retreat. Now things have turned around to the opposite. Perhaps I may never score well again in the stressful conditions of the weekend swiss, but my one-game-a-week club career is going fairly well right now.

I limped through the Club Championship Qualifier, a 10-man round robin, with a mediocre record: 3 wins, 2 losses, and 4 draws against average rating 2033 opponents, placing me in sixth seed of the 8-way quarterfinal bracket. Funny enough, all four past club champions were seeded on one side of the elimination bracket. Another funny thing was that seeds #1-4 almost all lost in the quarterfinals. #1 staved off elimination and just managed to pull through.

After the disastrous 2014 Western States Open and the mediocre qualifier, my rating sank from a high of 2132 last October to 2091 this spring. In this year's quarterfinals, I played a rematch with last year's semifinals opponent, and in this year's semifinals, I played a rematch with last year's finals opponent. Surprisingly enough, my opponents found trouble and I mostly sailed through with four wins and two draws for a six-game performance rating of 2379. My rating bounced back to its highest point ever, by one point, now 2133.

My openings are doing well for me as my opponents seem troubled by moves that are in just the middle depth of my book lines. The last game I won was almost won in home analysis since my opponent walked into a trap line that I knew fairly well. During the qualifier, I was getting large pluses in the opening, only to squander them later in the middle game. Middle game is where the glaring weaknesses are in my game right now. I seem to wander in planlessness.

Endgames, though a little shaky, seem to fall my way in a manner that resembles luck. I'd like to think I have gained a lot of expertise here, but the computers show me that I see and understand very little. Still, my opponents understand just a little less and against me, they turn wins into draws or draws into losses. Talk about lucky, in one of my most recent games, my opponent resigned in a drawn study-like position. Neither of us realized it was drawn. This position will show up soon in my Practical Rook Endgames series. I tend to put little credence in things lacking rational, tangible explanations, but I wonder just a little bit whether the spirit of a lost friend is helping me in the rook endings that he was good and lucky at.

I blogged about luck before recounting the time I resigned in a drawn position. Here are two quotes about luck:

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. - Roman philosopher Seneca
I'd rather be lucky than good. - pro baseball pitcher Vernon "Lefty" Gomez

No comments: