Today, round 3, is probably the most important turning point of the 9 rounds that the players will face. The board orders are starting to sort out into a top and a bottom. For those who have achieved wins so far, about half our team, the pressure is on as they have moved into the higher boards. For the others, today will determine if they’ve shaken off their arrival jitters – it turns out each of the earlier days’ games could have been won, but opportunities were overlooked.
So it’s clear while we have strong hope, raw talent and keen ability, there are many other factors at play – the hot climate, noisy room, strange city and opponents who speak different languages and transpose unknown notation symbols.
The first finish of the day is poignant for me – it’s Joshua Altman (the author’s son), a just-turned 8yr-old playing under 9s, who’s previous two rounds were best described as self-defeats. He managed to shrug off round 1, but yesterday’s game, round 2, went over 3 hours, and he was way off his game. In the replay, his coaches’ analysis sums it up best:
From Ray Keene, ” JUST SEEN JOSHS ROUND V THE RUSSIAN. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT HE HAD THE RUSSIAN KID CRUSHED LIKE A BUG BUT KEPT ON NOT QUITE FINDING THE KILLER MOVE.”
… and from Lorin d’Costa, “did he just get tired or something?”
Sainbayar Tserendorj contributed a more forensic analysis, re-mastering the key downturns, and finally, Neil McDonald applied motivational tactics, guiding Joshua through games of the ages, a favorite match – Morphy vs Anderson. Joshua’s teammates offered many, many pats on the back, and James Moreby’s dad brought back a surprise happy meal from McDonalds!
It all worked. Josh settled in, putting it all behind him, and as black, maneuvered an easy tactical win today. He’s very pleased to be over his jitters, and his game is below.
Two other early wins have come in from Jeff Tomy and Joseph Dalton. More to come shortly as round 3 continues …