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  • James Neal

Post Game Report - 2021 LA Open


My first tournament in 2 months went as I would expect. I was rusty and regained my form late in the event. Under the circumstances, my opposition was mainly composed of a bunch of exceptional kids. My first and second round were marred by time trouble issues. I lost the first round in a time scramble with a high schooler and should have lost the 2nd round to a 1900+ elementary schooler but was a bit more clutch after my first loss.


The 3rd round was against another 2000 high schooler. I tried out my reliable Rubinstein (oxymoron maybe?) against him but did not build a large enough advantage to fight for anything other than a draw. I finished the day breaking even at 1.5/3. Hopefully, I would regain my composure after a good night sleep.


Next day I was refreshed and motivated. I knew I would need to win both games to control the damage my rating was about to take. I got my first taste of a flawless victory against my next 1900+ elementary schooler. I decided on my reliable London System this game. It had proven very effective at quickly taking out 1900s as you can see in the analysis below.

After the game, I chilled out and walked a couple miles for lunch. I knew round 5 would make or break my Los Angeles experience. About 20 minutes before the start of the final round, found out I would be facing Ben. What I did not know was that Ben would be the Boss of all the kids I had played so far. He probably was the youngest of the group, maybe 3rd grade, but boasted a rating slightly over 2100.


I watched him calmly beat an adult National Master the previous round and had this ominous feeling he saw me as a steppingstone to stronger competition. We bumped elbows and started our match. I knew he played the King’s Indian but did not realize how ferocious this kid was on the attack. He tested my willpower for about 40 moves before the game turned in my favor.


These kids are beasts! It’s hard to have wars like these but that is chess. It takes strong nerves and a lot of hard work to keep putting these little guys away. I will keep playing Gatekeeper for as long as possible.


Maybe Next time Little Guy!


Here is the Entertaining Audio Recap.

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