World Open: Final Thoughts

# Name Rtng St Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Tot Prize
1 GM Gata Kamsky 2741 NY W37 W22 W11 L3 W18 D2 W13 W10 D4 7.0 $14575.00
2 GM Michael Adams 2726 ENG W36 W14 W13 W10 D3 D1 W9 D5 D6 7.0 $14267.00
3 GM Loek Van Wely 2683 NED W53 W32 W8 W1 D2 W4 L5 L6 W11 6.5 $1735.00
4 GM Ilya Smirin 2676 ISR W54 D23 W64 W31 D7 L3 W41 W20 D1 6.5 $1735.00
5 GM P Harikrishna 2666 IND W34 W39 D30 D9 D8 W21 W3 D2 D7 6.5 $1735.00
6 GM Timur Gareyev 2613 UZB W55 D51 D16 W23 D30 D20 W32 W3 D2 6.5 $1735.00
7 GM Ray Robson 2545 FL D57 W45 W40 W21 D4 D10 D11 W12 D5 6.5 $1735.00
8 GM Mesgen Amanov 2517 TKM W60 W52 L3 W25 D5 W40 L10 W23 W17 6.5 $1735.00
9 GM Vitali Golod 2592 ISR W44 L30 W34 D5 W33 W22 L2 W21 D13 6.0 $424.50
10 GM Jaan Ehlvest 2583 NY W38 W43 W41 L2 W31 D7 W8 L1 D16 6.0 $424.50
11 GM Giorgi Kacheishvili 2582 GEO W26 W25 L1 W66 D20 W30 D7 W14 L3 6.0 $424.50
12 GM Victor Mikhalevski 2577 ISR D65 W68 W42 D30 W51 D41 D14 L7 W32 6.0 $424.50
13 GM Aleksander Lenderman 2548 NY W58 W87 L2 W50 W32 D14 L1 W41 D9 6.0 $424.50
14 GM Mikheil Kekelidze 2452 GEO W61 L2 W67 W52 W29 D13 D12 L11 W31 6.0 $771.00
15 IM Yury Lapshun 2442 NY L69 D47 D80 W57 W67 W52 D17 D18 W28 6.0 $771.00
16 IM Puchen Wang 2437 NZL D62 W59 D6 D64 D65 W35 D18 W39 D10 6.0 $771.00

You can find the full standings here. The two top seeds finished the event tied for first, with Kamsky winning the playoff.

I finished the tournament with 5/9, and the tournament turned out to be a setback for me. It was the worst result I’ve had during my year of professional chess. I just wasn’t playing like myself.

Why do we have bad tournaments? Chess is a very unforgiving game. One lapse can cost a game, a bad day can cost a tournament. This is exactly what happened to me. I had a very bad last day, scoring only 0.5/2 against opposition rated more than 150 points lower than me. Fatigue was certainly one of the issues.

So I had a very bad tournament. Chess is a very emotional job, where results often drive your level of happiness. If you are not emotional about your results, you can’t possibly push yourself to the limit. I would not have become a GM if I would have taken my bad results easily. A part of being a chess player is knowing how to deal with a good result, as well as a bad one. A bad result is just a setback, just like many other setbacks in life. You pick yourself up and get ready for the next challenge.

Confidence is very important. Too much confidence is bad, too little confidence might even be worse. Everybody has bad tournaments and it should not jeopardize one’s self-image. For me, this is simple. So I had a bad tournament. I have no doubt that I can play well. I did not magically forget how to play chess, I just had a streak of games where I forgot to prove it. There will be better days.

Playing chess is my current job. Everybody has good and bad days at work. I heard some words of wisdom back in August about being a professional chess player from GM Vinay Bhat, back in Barcelona. I’ll paraphrase, I am sure Vinay put it more delicately that time over dinner. “All jobs have good and bad days. Chess has a very big variance in days. Those days can be very good and they can be very bad.” This was nothing new to me. Check out Vinay’s Blog.

What’s done is done. Everybody makes mistakes. We learn from them. The above is meant for everybody who has ever had a bad tournament, which is everybody who has ever played in tournaments! Time for the lighter side of my trip to Philly.

A big congratulations to Michael Yuan, who tied for second place in the under 2200 section and won just over $2500! You can find the standings here.

Liam, Shiyam and me had a few hours after check-out to see the Philadelphia sights. Below are some tourist impressions from that day and some of the previous day. The first three photos are from Liam.

Shiyam (left) and me before we race up the Rocky Steps

Post-race. Outcome should be clear;)

The main playing hall before the start of the round

Mural art on a hospital building

Philly Chinatown


More mural art, just outside of City Hall

Benjamin Franklin

Liam, Shiyam and me

Liam running up the steps

At the top…

It felt very hot…

But not for long


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