Bad result in Zalakaros 2016

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At the end of May I travelled to Zalakaros in Hungary to compete in a very strong international tournament. There were many GMs and I had 37th number on the starting list so I was full of hope to play with the best players but sometimes life is not easy and we need to accept a bad result… (Detailed results: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr207899.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984) From the very beginning I had a tough pairings, most of my opponents performed clearly above their rating but of course that’s not the only problem I had and a player who wants to improve needs to find other sources of bad result.

After extensive analysis of my own games I have drawn some conclusion (I’m not going to share it fully here but I can tell one of the biggest problems was related to proper and patient calculation probably caused by too many blitz games played over the Internet) and now I’m preparing a training plan which will improve my play.

Zalakaros

There were many players from Poland there!

The tournaments are not only about playing rated games, it’s also about analysing games with friends, meeting new people and spending free time well and in my view Zalakaros is a good place for it 🙂 The conditions at the playing hall were clearly above average level of European Events, all games in the main tournament were transmitted live, the players could analyse games afterwards in analysis room, enough space at the chessboard and there were free refreshments for the players each round. Zalakaros isn’t a big city but it’s a typical holiday city especially for older people so it was a nice place to have a good rest 🙂

 

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2015 Little Summary and New Goals for 2016!

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As you have probably already read on my blog 2015 was a very successful year for me. I gained more than 100 ELO points, just like in the old good days when I was very young 🙂 I also managed to play quite many games (almost 80). When I was still a junior I used to play more than 100 games per year but such amount of games played in one year will probably be only possible when I retire 😀  From now on I will try to play minimum 40-50 games each year (hopefully it will be more!). Also important point to note I chose only very strong tournaments and I shall continue doing so. I can’t afford playing some weak tournaments as time is too valuable.

Regarding my International Master title the application is already online at http://ratings.fide.com/title_applications.phtml?details=1&id=1127993&title=IM&pb=44 and as far as I understand I’ll get it after the nearest FIDE Presidential Board Meeting which is held at the end of March in Moscow.

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Facing very difficult position at Cracovia 2015. Credits: zielonizielonka.info

I haven’t chosen all tournaments for this year yet (If you know about any nice tournaments please let me know!) but on 12th February I will play very strong tournament in Graz. You can see the starting list. There’re more than 10 GMs! As usual I ask you to keep fingers crossed for me 😛

Tournament website: http://www.chessopengraz.com/2016/de/ – You should find there link to online tranmission so you can watch some top games live.

How I scored 3rd International Master norm

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At the beginning of this year I have announced (see here: https://piongu.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/i-play-better-chess-when-i-write-about-it/) I’m going to play more chess and you can expect big comeback 😀 And here it is. In July I’ve played two tournaments, one just a day after another and in the second (Najdorf Memorial in Warsaw) I managed to get my 3rd International Master norm quite easily with confidence. I secured it after 8 rounds so I could even loose the last game 😀

performance

 

Indeed the performance 2531 is quite stunning, I recovered nearly 60 ELO points and what’s the most important – I played against really strong field (5 GMs, 3 IMs, 1 FM – average rating 2488) – detailed info under this link: http://www.chessarbiter.com/turnieje/2015/ti_1274/results.html?l=pl&pr=59_. But… about my previous tournament there’s not much to say, I played couple interesting games but the overall score was much below expectations. My performance there was 2230, so how on earth it is possible to perform 300 ELO points better just within couple days?

In last years when I was playing only occasionally I always had a feeling at the end of the tournament that now I can play on a good level. In other words, if I had played the next tournament right away I would have performed much better. See what I wrote one year ago – “As usual now I feel like I would play much better chess if I play next tournament but next month I’m doing some other stuff so I can forget everything again just to recall it during the next tournament”  (https://piongu.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/289/). It’s obvious after the tournament one can remind himself quite many things, some opening lines, the way to calculate during the game etc. so one should perform better in the next tournament. But can it really make such a huge difference? And on the other hand one could say that it’s more likely to become tired playing one tournament after another without any break… It all sounds like some kind of storytelling which happens very often to chess players (The subject was very well covered by psychologist and GrandMaster Jonathan Rowson in his great book “Chess for Zebras” Gambit 2005) and maybe in some way it is but that were at least my thoughts and the reason why I necessarily chose to play two tournaments instead of one. That was my theory and it worked perfectly. Of course I don’t rule out any other influences on my score like the fact it was less hot during the second event or simply I was playing much stronger opponents against whom I usually play more responsibly and just better. One thing for me is clear anyway  – The best way to prepare for the tournament is to play the tournament! That can’t be a rule of thumb for all players, especially for some old guys with poor physical condition but for the players like me that looks like the way to go 🙂

Romanishin_vs_Nguyen

…and here is me playing against the legendary GrandMaster Oleg Romanishin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Romanishin) – probably the toughest opponent I have ever met. Playing against him was really inspiring. He crashed me terribly 3 years ago but this time I managed to make a draw.

My impressions after Frydek Mistek 2015

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Dear All,

That was my 10th tournament in Czech Republic! I’ve never played such an exhaustive tournament, 4 days double round and on 5th day last round at 8am 😀 After a long break I tried to play some serious chess and I think I more less played good and interesting games calculating lots of variations quite well. I made 5 draws and had 4 wins and even though I had couple draws with lower rated players I think the quality of games was decent so I’m happy with it. I finished the tournament on 3rd place behind IM V.Plat and IM I.Sipos.

Detailed results are here: http://chess-results.com/tnr162262.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984

Apart from the Open tournament I played, there were also tournaments for kids. Each time I visit Czech Republic I wonder why tournaments there are so much better than tournaments in Poland (More players from different countries and much stronger players comparing tournaments with similar prizes. I have already written something on that topic on this blog back in 2012). And the events for kids were great example of what chess events should be about. I was very glad to see children enjoying the tournament after the rounds, the organizers prepared plenty activities for them. There were some clowns entertaining kids, simultaneous display, theatre and many other things I don’t even know how to name. (You can see everything on photos from the event at organizers website http://www.chessfm.cz/)

Of course all of this is not maybe directly important for older guys like me, but what I want to say is:

After finishing each round going straight to the hotel room is against chess culture.

…and let this message guide organizers from Poland. Of course this is also up to chess players if they are cultural or not but the first thing depends on organizers if they for example provide a place for post mortem analysis, organize simultaneous exhibitions etc. In Frydek Mistek I got to know some new chess friends, analyzed games with them and that’s not less important than the games I played.

Some pictures of me in Frydek Mistek 🙂

25 99photos taken from https://picasaweb.google.com/112682136492602655076

The most important are 3 last rounds

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Hi,

As some of you may have already been following I’m playing Najdorf Memorial in Warsaw. The tournament is very strong and I have 2,5 out of 6 rounds. I played 2 GMs (made draw with one of them) so it’s not that bad but I still feel like I’m far from playing my best… Yesterday I played nearly 9 hours! (one game 5, second 4 hours) so I’m really exhausted… I hate double rounds…

IMG_5840

playing Black against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda. This game ended in a draw after 5 hours long battle…

Still, as they say “The most important are 3 last rounds” 😀

The pairings for today:

http://www.chessarbiter.com/turnieje/2014/ti_1759/results.html?l=pl&tb=1_&rd=7_

my impressions after Ostravsky Konik 2012

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As I promised I’m writing more about my last tournament…

I have already played in Ostrava in 2008 (my first tournament in Czech Republic) and scored very well, 8th place and performance close to 2400. In next years I wanted to play there again but somehow I was unable mainly due to school obligations. This year I have lots of things to do at my university but just few days before start of the tournament I decided I can get away with it.

I was 6th on the starting list and first and second round were quite easy for me, sometimes this is a key for me to score well in the tournament – just not to loose any points against weaker opponents. In 3rd and 4th round I didn’t play great but well enough to score 1,5/2 against players 2300+.

5th round was very important to me, I was playing Black versus IM Pavel Simacek who defeated me recently in Novy Bor. I had good score in the tournament (3,5/4) so I treated this encounter very seriously and was preparing whole day as I was doing some years ago. Both players were playing the opening very quickly being confident own variations but it was me who got won opening battle. I got great position with Black:

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P.Simacek (2447) – P.Nguyen (2374), Ostrava 2012 – position after 25 moves, White to move

Black is exchange down but bishop pair together with pawn on d3, total control over c-file and lack of coordination between White’s rooks gives Black practically winning position. White tried 26.Nc1 and I could choose between two winning ideas:

  • 26…Rc2 27.Nxd3 Bb5 28.Ke1 preparing Rd2 but there’s 28…Be3 and White is in kind of zugzwang!
  • 26…d2 27.Nd3 Be3 and White can’t give up exchange by means of 28.Ke2 because of …Re8 and if 29Rxd2 then …Bf4+ 30.Kd1 Ba4+ winning and in case of let’s say 28.b3 Black can play 28…d4 followed by …Rc3, …Bb5 etc. White is busted.

In the game however I went completely wrong, I played 26…Ba4? 27.b3 and I could still keep something with 27…Bb5 but I played 27…Rxc1?? and after 28.Rxc1 Bxb3 29.Rb1! White is winning… I totally missed move like Rb1… now after 29…Bxc4 came 30.Rxb6 axb6 31.Ke1 and Black couldn’t survive.

It’s really bad I didn’t win this position… I should win position like this even against Kasparov because if I don’t win having so big advantage how big should it be? One can say “it happens to everyone” and it’s true but I should find the reason of my bad decisions anyway.

Rounds 6th and 7th were quite strange for me. In 6th round there were many mistakes from both sides, game was very messy and eventually drawn and in 7th round I equalized with Black and just kept pressure for some time and my opponent blundered so I won easily.

On the other hand 8th round was very interesting, I recommend you to find this game in database (Pacher Milan – Nguyen Piotr, Ostrava 2012). I played Black against young IM 2400+ and it was extremely sharp and after difficult battle it was me who scored one point!

And to my surprise I had great result in the tournament and draw in last round was enough for me to get International Master norm. Those who are reading my blog regularly understand how much I tried to get this… So the last round was agreed for a draw without any hessitations from both sides. I was White and win would give me 1st place in the tournament so I could try but norm is a norm, I can play next tournament but now I achieved this what I was trying to achieve for almost 3 last years… (my first norm was during holidays 2009 in Olomouc).

To Summarize: I played just normal chess, nothing special and in the only game where I had really professional opening preparation I lost. What was the key I made this IM norm so easily? I don’t really know… 😛 Maybe all I needed was more experience and good tournament (average of my opponents was 2300+) so I could show sth instead of constantly fighting with much weaker opponents.

Tournament website: http://ostravskykonik.cz/ and final results http://www.chess-results.com/tnr71611.aspx?art=1&rd=9&lan=5&turdet=YES&flag=30

Ostravsky Konik 2012

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Again I wasn’t writing here for a long time but not because of my laziness but because since Novy Bor I was very busy with other things than chess. But then… just few days before tournament Ostravsky Konik I thought maybe I should play some chess to remind myself how the pieces move 😉 And this idea turned out to be better than great.

Today was last round and I made quick draw with IM Sebastian Plischki to secure my 2nd International Master norm! I scored 6,5/9 with average rating of my opponents higher than 2300. I’m closer to 2400 again. I was waiting for such result almost 3 years…

Now I don’t have much time – I shall write a bit more about the whole tournament when I get back home.

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