Monday, December 14, 2009

Nationals Round-up

Richie ended up scoring 6.0/7.0 which put him in 2nd Place in the Kindergarten section. After a bit of a rough start, he worked very hard in his remaining games and made a nice comeback. He had some very nice games during the tournament. He also had a few games that were...ehh. He was certainly quite lucky to escape with a win in his final round against a very impressive David Zhurbinsky. In fact, what impressed me the most about the tournament was the strength of some of the play that I saw from the other Kindergarteners. (This was the first time in awhile I've actually seen other Kindergarteners playing).

His first round opponent, Diego Costas, showed great maturity in converting his win over Richie. He re-routed pieces well during the game and very effectively denied Richie counter-play by declining easy material that Richie offered as bait.

The aforementioned David Zhurbinsky had built an absolutely crushing advantage over Richie in the final game but fell victim to a back-row checkmate. Judging from the quality of his play to that point though, I'd say he seemed to be comparable in strength to Richie.

Max Roberts played a couple of quick games with Richie after the tournament since they weren't able to play during the official matches. They both seem to be attracted to highly tactical, double-edged positions and played a couple of amazingly complicated middle game positions where both sides needed to be mindful of continuous tactical threats and held the balance much longer than I could have. I think Max's game shows a lot of promise.

Richie made fast friends with and played a few games in the airport with Daniel Levkov on the way home. Daniel won a nice game over Richie, coming back from a piece deficit even, and also showed well developed endgame skill. It won't surprise me at all if he's soon rated much higher.

And of course, the event winner, Joaquin Perkins, deserves special mention for his perfect 7.0 performance. (Joaquin and his opponent, Alexander Medina, played a 2 hour game in the final match. I wonder if that's a record for Kindergarten). Sadly, Richie never had an opportunity to play with Joaquin but clearly he played at an exceptionally high level to run the field.

I wish all of these bright young players continued success and hope to meet them and their parents again in the future.

Hilton Anatole -- rooms exceeded expectations.
USCF -- tournament well organized, playing venue excellent.
American Airlines -- no major delays.
Breakfast buffet.
Kumi & Dan for driving out to visit with us.
Meeting Sarah -- what a cutey.
Meeting some very nice kids and parents.
Julian & Zachary & other familiar faces from the NY Tournaments.
Big Trophy

$20 for the *first* checked bag on AA??
Wide awake at 5:30 am on the first day.
No Italian restaurant or pasta at the hotel??
Apparently the muffins that K&D&S ate before the drive up from Austin.
Only 7 rounds. More games at shorter time controls would be nice.

Losing the first round.
Winning a game when down 2 pieces...


The Chess Dad said...

Congratulations to Richie! Looks he is the comeback kid, keep the good work.

Ilya Zhurbinskiy said...

Thank you for kind words!

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