Extended visit in St Louis

The US Championship finished on April 13th and my flight was scheduled for the 15th. After a night of chess partying and many calories burned on the dancefloor, I took the impulsive decision to extend my stay in St. Louis and participating in the upcoming Bill Wright Open that was going to be held at the St. Louis Chess Club. I couldn’t resist the temptation to play chess in the most professional chess club on the planet and perform in the same place the best US players did just a couple days prior. The tournament started on the 17th, and by that time my hunger to play chess was again at its peak. Unfortunately that was not enough to sustain high quality play throughout my games. I felt rusty and my moves were not sustained by enough confidence. A big blunder in round 2 sent my tournament to waste, as I was unable to fully recover after that. I have to admit, two years ago these types of blunders were quite prevalent during my play, but recently hoped that such accidents were only a dark stain of the past, I was wrong. This is usually what happens when you think you have parts of chess figured out, you get humbled back to earth by the game’s cruel gods. None of my games played in this tournament are actually worth any public feature, but this one is just for the amusement of my audience.

St Louis Open

The third round was a calmer affair. I got a good advantage out of the opening, failed to maintain my precision and allowed my opponent to bounce back into the game and get drawing chances. At that point I decided to regain my accuracy and made a series of good moves that threw my opponent off the grid. Ultimately he lost the thread completely and allowed me to get an easily winning technical position. 2/3 points and a few good rating points flushed away after the first two days. This was definitely not what I hoped my tournament to look like, nevertheless I decided that a relaxing dinner will help elevate my mood and get me ready for the last day’s stretch. The plan was to finish with 2/2, gain my rating points back, and finish in the top three for a decent prize. Again, the chess god had other plans in store. One of the most influential factors that determine the level on which I perform during a tournament is the quality of the sleep I get the night before the game. Unfortunately my room was not equipped with window blinds, and being a very light sleeper I could not enjoy my bed time to the fullest. The 4th round started at 11 AM, and while I would have preferred to sleep until 10 or so, the sun woke me at 8 AM. By the time the round started I was already feeling sleepy and not running on all cylinders. The opening phase was a perfect affair for me, I got a nice Grunfeld position with 2 tempos up. Under normal circumstances this should have been almost decisive, especially that the ensuing position in the normal lines is quite complex and hard to handle, with two tempos down it should be impossible to save, especially when you are 300 points lower. Unfortunately just when I thought things were slowly turning my way, I made a semi-blunder and threw my position off the steepest cliff. Draw after a few mutual inaccuracies and my fight for the tournament’s top places ended there. I win my last game in 16 moves and went home. Unfortunately this accident cost me about 10 rating points, which are definitely not an easy pick under any circumstances. Live and learn they say…

Back in San Francisco after a long 3 weeks period, time to work harder than before and strive for a better performance in the next event. Chicago Open (May 21-25) and the National Open (June 19-21) on my list but nothing is certain at this stage. Since no other games are worthy of making a public appearance, I will leave you with just a few visual impressions from my trip. Enjoy!


forest park fountains

imperial chase

chase hotel


walking on water


guy walking his baby with a gun on him


flamingo dominance St Louis zoo


el burro loco group + donkey


St Louis plane view


bird chill

ale dance

GM at work

yi selfie

GM + Girlfriend at work

closing ceremony

bunch of dorky faces and a nice lady