Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grade Nationals Report

Richie scored 6.0/7.0 in the 2010 Grade Nationals which put him in a tie for 2nd (4th on tie-breaks). He was pleased with his result since 4th was just high enough to get a four-poster (a trophy with four posts on the bottom). As expected, the deep field made for a very interesting tournament with many upsets wins and drama, but at the end of the day the event favorite, Joaquin Perkins, emerged as repeat champion. Congratulations Joaquin!

I've become a pretty decent judge of chess strength at the grade-school level, so I was not surprised at all that Richie's friend Corwin placed 2nd and came within a move of winning outright. I had been quite impressed with a couple of games I saw him play when he was just starting and even more impressed after watching him review a few games this tournament with his coaches--considering how long he has been playing, he has a very mature understanding of chess from what I can tell.

Although Richie's final placing was pretty much in-line with his pre-tournament seeding, I actually feel that he's made real strides in his play in the last few months. Perhaps I am succumbing to parental pride, but I really feel his play is more sophisticated than his rating suggests and expect that with a little more maturity he will soon pose a real challenge for players rated under 1500. Whereas many of the games at his level appear to be won by "tactical bullying," I found his wins from this tournament to be due mainly to excellent logic which ultimately is what is needed as he progresses to tougher and more careful opposition. Richie will still need to improve his defensive skills a little in order to more comfortably dispatch the sort of naive "aim everything at the King" desperado attacks that are commonplace at the scholastic level. He'll also need to tighten up his endgame and endgame transitions to convert more "won games" than he is currently, but overall I think the near-term future is bright for his progress.

+ Four-poster for the win.
+ Friends in the tournament make it more fun.
+ Mastered the art of lowering our expectations at Disney: the food ... didn't make us sick, the coffee was ... hot, the buses were ... free, and the lines ... ok, there's nothing good to say about lines.

+/- Supposedly this is the last year at the Coronado Springs. Hopefully the next place will be an uptick.
+/- Based on consumption patterns at Disneyworld, the New Normal is the same thing as the Old Normal.

- 40 degrees in Florida? So much for swimming...
- Sketchy Orlando cab driver purposely driving us to the wrong branch of a nearby restaurant to run up a tab.
- Sketchy Orlando cab driver driving our friends in circles to run up a tab.
- Why is every meal at Disney $20 a person for food court fare?
- Endgame blunders that turn losses to wins to draws to wins to losses...


Anonymous said...

I hope they leave the Coronado Springs -- do you know anything more about possible venues they are considering?

Koji said...

Someone mentioned to me that it might be at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee.
I quite liked the Gaylord Opryland in Tennessee, so if it's anything like that I'd be pleased.

Beverly Hills Chess Club said...

Just came across your blog, we have a chess club in Beverly Hills and encourage kids to exercise their mind with this sport. We hope your trips and games go well.

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