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  • James Neal

States Cup Playoffs 2023 Iowa vs. Northern California | Online Chess

The small town of Lamoni considered to be the Gateway to Iowa (from the south).

My motivation to blog is beginning to return after driving about 30 hours around the West and back to the Midwest. I spent some time hanging out with my sisters along with my nieces and nephews. I hadn’t seen them in years, it was interesting to see how much they had grown. I wanted to create a then and now photograph when I visited but my nieces were not all in the same spot, so the dream remained a dream.


My plan to drive to Texas was altered as well; I decided it was best to stay somewhat near my relatives. The next best option was Missouri since St. Louis is largely considered the capital of chess. There are a lot of grandmasters within St. Louis, and it presents me with the opportunity to train and periodically drop in to pick up rating points.


I am coming off a successful online event with my Iowa friends. The event is called the “The 2023 States Cup” and our team had dominated every match leading up to the playoffs except one. My first regular season match was against Minnesota, and it proved to be a complete embarrassment for me. I made the mistake of trying to compete at the gym and I couldn’t concentrate over the noise (0pts /4pts). Following the disaster, I made a habit of placing myself in locations where there was no noise and my performance dramatically improved. The match against Illinois had me nearly beating everyone with a score of 3 wins in 4 games and the playoff match against Minnesota was improved from 0 points to 2.5 points. We won our first round of the playoffs against the 8th seeded Minnesota with a commanding score of 13 points to their 3.


I was disappointed with my 2.5 score since it was still the lowest performance on our team. There were a few adjustments I could have made to improve my score, and I am aiming to put those adjustments to work for our Semi-final matchup against Northern California. I think we have a great chance beating them the way they we beat Minnesota, but I do not want to be the lowest scorer this time around. My goal is show up well prepared and ready to play.


I know my opponents are seriously preparing for me, but my goal still remains to secure all 4 points!

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