On Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of July I played in my second big tournament as an adult. There were 4 sections - the "Minor u115's" (1570 FIDE), the "Intermediate u135's" (1730), the "Major u160's" (1930) and the Open section.
I had worked out my estimate grade to be 118 ECF (1596 FIDE) so I chose to give myself a challenge and enter the u135's section. As an officially ungraded player I could have entered the Minor section but I wanted a challenge!
After the tournament my actual grade was published - 116 ECF (1578 FIDE equ.) and so I hope I can build on my starter grade and improve in the coming years. The link to my ECF grade profile is here -
From my house the venue was a 2h drive there and a 2h drive back... both days. So this was exhausting in itself but didn't affect my play too much.
My plan was to go and get a draw in game 1, get that half-point, wake up properly and eat, then go on to play for wins in the other 4 games... I was hoping to leave the tournament with 2/5 points, a good result for someone rated almost the lowest in my section.
So just as planned I got a draw, against a 128 (1674) so I was happy with this result. I could have played it out but I was only playing for a draw and I wanted to try and wake up properly for round 2.
Another agreed draw against a higher-rated player... I couldn't see a path to a win as my attack had quickly petered out and was going into an equal major-piece endgame, I figured I'd take the draw against the higher-rated opponent graded 129 (1682) and prepare for round 3.
Round 3 - Because of an early finish in round 2 I decided to take a half-point bye for round 3 and get home early (~6h early!!), get enough rest and sleep and be fresh and alert for rounds 4+5 the following day. This saved me waiting about 4h for my next game and the way things were going I was probably only going to get another draw at best because I wouldn't have been playing my best as I was tired and would have been playing another player rated about 130 due to me being on 1/2 points before taking the 3rd round half-point bye. I saw this as my own personal strategy to having a successful tournament overall.
I tried so hard in this game but aside from blundering, I was simply beaten by a stronger player graded 131 (1698). No shame in this loss, I analyzed the game with my opponent in depth and prepared for round 5...
Round 5 - NO GAME!?...
Because me and my opponent had been the last to finish in round 4 both our cards had been left out of the round 5 draws!?! Seriously!!...
I had checked the pairings and the only other person on 1.5/4 was another 116 graded player and as I'd had 2/3 games as black I was destined to play him with the white pieces - surely my best opportunity in the whole tournament to walk away with a win... the other 116 graded player had 2 games with white already and was actually playing with black in round 5. So there's no doubt we should have been playing in round 5.
Basically every single game that was being played in round 5 was wrong, everyone was playing an opponent they weren't destined to... so I'd spent a lot of time and money to just play 3 games of chess - I only took a 3rd round bye so I was fresh for my other 2 games. I definately felt cheated out of a victory and was awarded a full-point bye for round 5 as compensation. But it was no compensation - I'd rather have played my game against the other 116 graded player and lost than recieve a free point - I didn't travel 380 miles in 2 days for this. I travelled to gain tournament experience and challenge myself.
So "officially" I ended the tournament on 2.5/5 points but it was really 1/3 - but it's all a learning experience, there'll be other Intermediate level tournaments in the near future