Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chess as Played in the Real World - No. 10 - My First Rated Tournament

On Sunday I had the opportunity of playing in our first rated chess tournament.
Speaking for me, "playing" might not be the best word. Let's say that I've "participated" in my first rated to chess tournament :-) My performance in my games would hardly qualify as "playing" chess.
Although it was a lot of fun, I don't think I came to the tournament with as much determination as I probably should've. I played my games way too much relaxed - almost as if they were casual skittle games. Consequently, I didn't play very good chess. I did manage to get one win out of three possible games and that was my last pairing with a talented six-year-old with a 800-something rating.
My final provisional rating after three games now stands at 956 points. Ironically, my best game, and a game I was actually happy with and enjoyed playing and found challenging and interesting, was a skittles game I played with my second opponent after the section that we were entered in had ended. This is the game, therefore, that I feature below in today's post. Also, for the sake of completeness - and to publicly shame myself into playing better chess - I include (without annotation) my three games from the official event.
The second opponent I mentioned above - Jeff - is a friend of a friend whom I had yet to meet. He'd come to the tournament with his daughter Clarice, and like me, was wanting to finally establish an official USCF rating. My friend has played chess with Jeff at work a number of times - casually in some skittles games - so I was looking forward to meeting him and in playing some chess with him also.
It turned I did have that opportunity - as luck would have it I was paired with Jeff in the second round - and played a miserable game against him I must admit. Even more interesting, my friend who had entered the "reserved" section (for those under 1000 or un-rated) was paired with Jeff's daughter Clarice - a 1st grader - in the final 4th round.
So with all said and done, my friend actually came away with a better score of 2.0 than I did. I could only muster a 1.0 out of a possible 3.
But it was a good experience. It was enjoyable. I wish I had approached my actual tournament games with a little bit more seriousness, because I realize now that your initial rating is quite influenced by those first couple games. Afterwards, I played around with the United States Chess Federation's on-line ratings calculator and found that, gee, if I had won all three games (and I was capable of doing that I think) I might have had a provisional rating of 1700 or something although I play no where near that - so maybe that isn't a good thing :-) but even if I had won two games I would have been very happy with my provisional rating which would have been much higher than what I ended up. So, currently, I stand 956 provisional after 3 games. For comparison, after 242 games on the ICC my current rating is 1223, with a momentary peak rating of 1320 back in August.
Sigh of relief! Smiles of joy. I just finished the October 2007 Monthly ICC Tourney with my best score ever: a 3.0 (thanks to a 1 point bye unfortunately). But I did manage to defeat two higher rated players to finish up with two wins! And I now have a new rating (for the fleeting moment) of 1247:
October 2007 ICC Standard Time Tourney



Loomis said...

Congratulations on your first chess tournament! I think most people underestimate how much 'tournament experience' plays a role in performance. I think it's typical that people don't play up to their potential in their first tournament.

Greg said...

My first rated tournament provided me with a brutal awakening that beating my stepfather did not place me at the summit fo the chess world (+1-4=0, with a provisional rating of 1117). I echo the opinion that players generally don't perform to their real strength in their first few events. Congratulations!

Polly said...

Welcome to the world of rated chess! Don't worry about that initial rating. Provisional ratings fluctuate wildly at the beginning. I think you'll find that initial 900 rating will have little to do with where you are after 25 games.

PS. A belated thank you for your comments on my blog regarding chess game viewers. I suppose I really should go back and look at old posts more frequently.

Rook Van Winkle said...

Loomis, Greg, Polly:

Here's a big thanks for all your encouragement! It's nice to know there is a great on-line community of chess players out there. I'm eagerly looking forward to playing in another OTB rated tournament. And, last but not least, thanks to all of you for your interesting chess blogs. I hope readers of these comments will visit each of your blogs:

Visit The Back Rank" by Loomis
Visit Greg's Chess Progress by Greg
Visit Castling Queenside" by Polly

Blue Devil Knight said...

Congrats on getting a win. My first tournament was the same way: I lost all but one game, and I won against a youngster (though he was rated like 600).

I'm jealous that your wife participated! I am still trying to convince my wife to play me if I go blindfold.