An unexamined life is not worth living.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

British Columbia Chess Championship 2009

Round robin tournaments are in my opinion more appropriate for improving one’s chess strength, compared to Swiss events or knockouts. In this post I will try to explain why. Round robins tend to have players of more balanced strength, and allow to prepare for your opponents well in advance, resulting in higher quality of games, and fewer accidental opening choices. Here are some lessons learned from a typical round robin tournament among players of average 2200 FIDE strength.

I competed in the 2009 BC Closed Championship last weekend. Thank you, Stephen, for running the tournament again, and providing the crosstable:


Last year I already wrote a summary of my games and tournament overview of 2008 championship. Back then I had 3 wins and 3 losses, only a single draw. This time I took a different path to the same result – 1 win, 1 loss and 5 draws, with a tie for the 3rd place yet again. In itself, regular participation in a tournament like this is definitely essential if I want to maintain and improve my chess level, so I am very glad I took part. Jack Yoos won convincingly, although he was clearly losing at one point in his game against Lucas in round 6, that game could have change the situation quite a bit. Dragoljub Milicevic was included at the last moment, but posted an awesome result. He now agrees to draws a lot more willingly than 10 years ago, but also is being practical about picking up points when opponents give him a chance. Tanraj Sohal showed a lot of potential for his age, I did not realize that he is only 12 years old.

A few personal observations again:

- I had a bit more time to prepare the openings before the tournament, and was more careful about getting enough sleep throughout the tournament. My games were also shorter, so I was not as exhausted as last year. Last year’s preparation was also helpful since 4 of last year’s opponents played again this time, and obviously their opening repertoires have not changed all that much since then. Opening preparation for a tournament like this (opponents are known well in advance) is time consuming and sets the tone for each game. Although I thought I was reasonably well prepared in the opening - my opponents still managed to surprise me by their choice in the opening in nearly every game. Still, except for the games against Jack Yoos and Brian McLaren, I felt sufficiently familiar with the position that arose …

- I am not happy with my time management again. In a couple of games I had a good position in the end, but went for a draw by repetition because I had significantly less time than my opponents. What was worse, in two games I knew all the opening moves quite well, but still spent half an hour or more on those known moves. Roman, if you know the moves – just frigging play them!

- UBC is a pretty nice place! It was a longer daily commute for me than last year, but I still enjoyed the playing site quite a bit.

I also posted the video of my only win – game against Alfred Pechisker, and a nice combination I found analysing my endgame against Howard Wu. Another tactical idea I posted about – was found while preparing for a game against him.


  1. Milicevic had a fantastic tournament. He is like Korchnoi! I only hope I can still play a decent game if/when I reach his age. Excellent analysis of your game versus Peschisker.

  2. Yeah, Milicevic`s style is also a bit like Korchnoi`s :) I could never get used to it, still have a very negative score against him both in rapid and standard time controls...


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