Chess Diary #0005: Over the Board Experience

Another tournament took place on August 21. This was the second tournament I participate in this year. The venue was in Deir El Harf, a small village in the Mount Lebanon Governorate. We played outdoors. Surrounded by stone pines filled with singing crickets, it felt like a picnic.

This time the format was 10|3 Rapid, and I scored 3.5/6. That’s equal to 3 wins, 1 draw, and 2 losses.

Here are my notes:

I am not doing so well when I play the Sicilian Dragon with the black pieces. Although I am not having trouble in the opening, I keep losing. My middle-game is weak, especially when I’m playing against people who know what they’re doing. I need to learn to come up with better strategies over the board. I was only trying to find one good move at a time, which, of course, is not the best way to play chess…

On the other hand, I’m dismantling the French Defense pretty masterfully, or so it seems. I’m going for the Advance Variation, and I’m getting comfortable positions. The pawn structure often gives me chances for strong kingside attacks.

As for my answer to 1.d4, I still don’t have one. I was learning the Slav, but I think I’ll switch to King’s Indian. I read somewhere that Sicilian Dragon players will be comfortable playing the King’s Indian. I hope I don’t give up playing the Sicilian Dragon though. If I keep getting negative results with it, maybe I will. That would also mean giving up on the King’s Indian…

Chess Diary #0004: A Bad Start

I played 3 games in a club tournament on August 13, 2022. They were 5|3 blitz games. It’s a format I’m quite used to when playing online, but it was a completely different experience on the board. Time flew, and I found myself in time trouble, game after game.

My first game ended in a draw. I had the black pieces against a 1200-something rated player. He played the Trompowsky opening, and I had to improvise because I did not have anything prepared against it in my repertoire. The game ended after a threefold repetition occurred in the middlegame. Although I had the better position, I decided not to go all the way. It was the first blitz game I play in a tournament. The pressure was real…

My second game was a disaster. I played the King’s Gambit with the white pieces, and I sacrificed a bishop too early in the game. Black won in the endgame. I had some attacking chances, but they were more like illusions of chances.

My third game was a good game, although I lost. My opponent was rated 1556, if I remember correctly. I played the Sicilian Dragon with the black pieces, and White decided to go with the Yugoslav attack. Overall, it was a sharp game. Both sides had winning chances. It’s just too bad that I blundered in the end, when I only had seconds to make a move. I blundered, and I lost, even though I was a rook up.

Chess Diary #0003: The Beginning of an Opening Repertoire

My bullet rating is now 1605, and it looks like my blitz rating will also be in the 1600s soon. I’m really happy with that. Last month I was struggling in the 1400s.

Now I’m wondering if I can be in the 1700s by the end of the year. I know it’s possible, but I don’t know if I’ll have the time to study. I need a lot of work. My endgame needs massive improvement.

For the time being, however, I’m trying to build a small opening repertoire that is advanced enough to give me a slight advantage when playing against players rated between 1500 to 1700. When this is achieved, I’ll work on improving my endgame.

We’ll see…

Now let’s go find a good opening repertoire software.