Christopher Yoo Goes Online at Sunway Sitges

Editor’s note: 13-year old IM Christopher Yoo is one of America’s brightest young talents, and one of our most active junior players. Like most of us, he is trying to find ways to continue to play and improve during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yoo was one of 34 American players to compete in the Sunway Sitges International Online Chess Open, one of the first events to be played online at classical time controls. He graciously accepted CLO’s offer to chronicle his tournament experience, which was a most fulfilling one. He was part of a nine-way tie for first place with 7/9, and finished in fourth place after the 16 player blitz playoff, picking up the top Under 16 award along the way!

I played in the Sunway Sitges International Online Chess Open without many expectations. Group A had 15 GMs and my 2455 FIDE rating made me the 23rd seed in a field of 224 players. This was my first online tournament at a classical time control, but I heard it was a first for everyone because no one had held an online event like this before. The tournament was 9 games of G/90 +30 over 9 days with a blitz playoff on the 10th day to determine the top 16 places. The tournament got off to a rough start as the first two rounds had to be postponed because of technical difficulties. But that was actually kind of lucky for me because I had been planning to take two quick draws or even two 0-point byes in the first two rounds because I was playing for the US in team event that weekend also. As it was, I only had to take one early draw.

Round 1:  I offered my FIDE 2000-rated opponent a quick draw. He thought for a while and accepted the draw. That was lucky for me because otherwise I would have had to resign because I had no time to play the game.

My setup for the game (see pictures) was a little strange. I used a real board next to my computer.  It was nice to use a board as it helps me calculate long variations. I felt more of an OTB vibe due to this. I had a bit of an awkward setup as I had to tilt my computer screen down so that that camera could capture both me and the board at the same time, as a part of the tournament anti-cheating measures. Because the screen was so close to my keyboard my fingers came close to slipping on the touchpad a couple of times!  I thought it was worth it anyways because I really like using a real board.

Round 2: My 2nd round was pretty smooth. My opponent went into a much worse endgame for no reason and I outplayed him from there.

Rounds 3 and 4: I had two pretty good wins in a row vs. FIDE 2200s. I had 3.5 points in 4 rounds, and all of a sudden I felt that I could win the tournament!

[pgn] [Event "Sunway Sitges Online"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.04.22"] [Round "4"] [White "Gavilan Diaz, Mario"] [Black "Yoo, Christopher "] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D90"] [WhiteElo "2278"] [BlackElo "2455"] [Annotator "Yoo"] [PlyCount "50"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] [WhiteClock "0:19:49"] [BlackClock "0:09:15"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. h4 c5 {I played an offbeat line to get him out of theory. I want to activate my g7-bishop at all costs. On the other hand, It is slightly dubious if he knows what he is doing. It is practically difficult to play for White though. We will see the concrete ideas for Black in the game.} 6. dxc5 Be6 7. h5 $5 {White tries to lure my Knight to h5 for the sake of a pawn. My d5-pawn is not as well defended with my Knight on h5 instead of f6. This h5 move is good if it is well exececuted. It is not easy to execute it correctly though. There are lots of options, but only a few work. He was not up to the task in the game.} (7. Ng5 $2 {This natural move is the main trap in this variation. Black is probably to be preffered here. His lead in development makes up for his bad pawn structure after Nxe6. We will see the following variation:} d4 8. Nxe6 fxe6 9. Nb5 Nc6 10. e3 Ne4 11. exd4 a6 12. Nc3 Qa5 $15 {White's king position is has main problem. if he could develop properly he is the one to be preferred. He is a bit too slow for this though. There are simply too many threats looming in his position. He can hold with best play, but Black is to be preferred.}) 7... Nxh5 8. cxd5 (8. Ng5 $1 { Unlike the position with my Knight on f6 ;White has Nxe6 fxe6 Ne4! after d4 here.} d4 (8... O-O $4 {This is the main thing to avoid as Black. White has a nice thematic exchange sacrifice here.} 9. Rxh5 $1 gxh5 10. Qd3 $1 {Black can resign here. There is simply no way to prevent Qxh7+ without losing all your pieces!} f5 11. Nxe6 $19) (8... Nf6 {This is probably the lesser evil of my options. At least he cannot play Ne4 here. I am a bit worse, but it is playable.} 9. Nxe6 fxe6 10. g3 $14 {White has a nice position here. It is not nearly as promising as the one with the Knight on e4 though. He could jump to g5 there in some cases and the position is a nightmare. His Knight on c3 is not nearly as strong as on g5. This was the best continuation for White and Black. I knew that the variation is not objectively the best, but it is not easy to figure things out for White.}) 9. Nxe6 fxe6 10. Ne4 $16 {Black's bad pawn structure and White's bishop pair make this very unpleasant for Black despite his lead in development.}) 8... Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 {White does not want to exchange Queens here. His weakensses are much more prominent is endgames. He cannot create as many threats against my king in endgames. His isolated pawns will be easy to attack by my pieces. For this reason, he tried to strengthen his pawn structure by getting the Queen trade of his conditions.} Qxd5 10. Qd4 Nf6 11. Bh6 $5 {White threatens Bg7.} Nbd7 (11... Nc6 $2 {This is the main move to avoid for Black. White has a nice resource here.} 12. Qxd5 $1 Nxd5 13. e4 $1 Nxc3 $4 (13... Nf6 14. Ng5 $16 {White's bishop pair and piece harmony is worth much more than his isolated pawns here.}) 14. Bg7 $18) 12. Ng5 (12. Bg7 $2 Rg8 13. Bxf6 Nxf6 $17 {Black can play Rc8-Qxc5 and White does not have much to do against it. There are simply too many weaknesses in his position. There is no reason for White to give up his bishop pair. This is his main triumph in his position.}) 12... O-O-O $5 {This is not the best move, but it is a good practical try. If he does not actquickly I will play Nxc5 and be up a pawn for almost no compensation. His lack of development on the kingside in his main problem. It is either he finds a solution here or suffers for the rest of the game. Therefore he needed to play:} 13. e4 $6 {The variation below is very hard to find during the game. It is not intuitive to give up a pawn for seemingly nothing. It is easy to stop calculating after Qxd5 Bxd5. But sometimes it is better to go deeper in chess! The reader has the profound advantage of knowing there is a good resource for White. But we do not know this during the game!} (13. Qxd5 $1 Bxd5 14. c6 $3 {There is no good way for White to defend his c5-pawn. He needs to find a solution immediately. With this move he is giving me isolated pawns on c6 and a7. All of my squares around my king can much more easily be exploited. For all these reasons this pawn sacrifice is a good move.} bxc6 15. f3 $1 {Black's d5-bishop looks more like a tall pawn. There is simply no good place for it to go. It can go to e6, but white has Nxe6 there. White's bishop pair and Black's bad pawn structure and king position make this position better for White!} Nc5 16. e4 Be6 17. Nxe6 Nxe6 18. Be3 $14) 13... Qc6 14. Nxe6 fxe6 {I am simply winning a pawn here. He has some compensation, but it is not enough due to his king being on e1.} 15. f3 Nxc5 16. Qc4 Kb8 $1 {I want to meet Be3 with Rc8. My king is also simply more comfortable on b8. My main plan is Rc8- Rhd8 followed by Nh5 in some cases. I simply want to get all my pieces into the game. He should probably play Be2 followed by 0-0. This is pyschologically hard to do as he was attacking earlier and he still wants to make his attack work. It is sometimes better to accept the position and be more objective. He was not up to the task during the game; that gave me a great position.} 17. Rb1 Rc8 18. Bg7 $2 { He wanted to continue playing forcing chess. This move is too big of a positional concession. He should give waste two moves to give up his dark square bishop. He cannot defend his dark sqaures now. This may be worth if it he could get castled, but he has not done so yet. This is a huge positional mistake. I think it was due to the fact that he was attacking earlier; now there is no attack though. He tried to do anything just to make his attack work, but the side effects are much too big for winning a pawn.} Rhd8 19. Bxf6 exf6 20. Rxh7 Qd6 21. Be2 $6 {This allows a nice combination. It is no surprise as his king is on e1 and he has no dark- sqaured bishop to defend it.} (21. Kf2 {This is White's best try.} Qd2+ 22. Kg1 Rh8 23. Rh3 {White's king is simply getting mated soon. He cannot defend his dark sqaures.} Qg5 $19) 21... Qg3+ 22. Kf1 Rh8 $1 23. Rxh8 Rxh8 24. Kg1 $2 {It is now forced mate.} (24. Qxc5 Rh1+ 25. Qg1 Qh2 26. Kf2 Rxg1 27. Rxg1 Qc7 $19) 24... Rh2 25. Bf1 Qh4 $1 { ChristopherYoo won by resignation There is no way to prevent Rh1++} 0-1 [/pgn]

Round 5: I had a tough game vs. a FIDE 2250-ish player, which brought my win streak to a halt. I was winning, but then I miscalculated and had to offer a draw in a worse position. This was a bit disappointing, but I had to stay positive. I was not as nervous as at an OTB Event. It is simply different when your opponent is not there at the board with you. 

Round 6: I then played a 2422-rated Fy Rakotamoharo as Black. I got a very ugly position out of the opening, but then got a bit lucky and managed to save it. He offered a draw in an equal position after losing all of his advantage. I declined it, and a few moves later I blundered a pawn! I offered him a draw at that moment and he declined!  But, on that move he blundered himself and it was back to equal.  It ended in a draw. I think the draw offers did something to both of us psychologically. Maybe we were not able to calculate correctly as the draw offers were on our minds.

Round 7: I then beat a 2270ish player as White. He did not know what to do against my opening choice, so I got a great position and won convincingly. It was at this moment that I started to think about prizes and stuff.

Round 8: I was paired against a 2550ish player as Black. I was a bit nervous, but I had nothing to lose. I thought he was gonna go for the win at all costs, so I thought it was ok to get a drawish or boring position as he might overpress. I did not have a specific strategy to get such a position, but I was not worried about getting such a position as I often am because I usually like dynamic play. We got to endgame without many winning chances for Black. I decided to just focus on playing the best moves rather than the result. When he could have accepted the fact that he no longer has any advantage he overpressed and lost. I now had 6.5 out of 8!

[pgn] [Event "Sunway Sitges Online"] [Site "?"] [Date "2020.04.26"] [Round "8"] [White "Tsydypov, Zhamsaran"] [Black "Yoo, Christopher"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B67"] [WhiteElo "2558"] [BlackElo "2455"] [Annotator "Yoo"] [PlyCount "128"] [EventDate "2020.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f3 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 Be7 11. g4 h5 $5 {This move has its pros and cons. It is good to break up the f3-g4 pawn chain. One of his main ideas is Be3-g5. On the other hand Black is giving up his e7-bishop. This leave this dark squares a bit weak. On the other hand; I am forcing him to give up his strong g5-bishop. This leaves his f4-square for my h5-knight. I think these reasons justify this move. I had looked at this idea a month or so before this game. Such moves should not be played unless you have some preparation done beforehand; as it can backfire against you.} 12. gxh5 Nxh5 13. Bxe7 Qxe7 14. Rg1 {This move prevents Ng3.} (14. Qxd6 $6 Qxd6 15. Rxd6 Ng3 $1 16. Rg1 Nxf1 17. Rxf1 Rxh2 $15 {Black is very comfortable here. He has no weaknesses and can slowly improve his position, while White will have to defend his weaknesses passively.}) 14... Bc6 {I should not be too concerned about being down a pawn because of his dark squares weaknesses. If White had an e3-bishop my position would be very problematic. He cannot exploit my dark squares here as he does not have a dark square bishop. This means his weaknesses can be much more easily exploited. His pieces are not doing much, while mine are well coordinated.} 15. Qxd6 Qxd6 16. Rxd6 Ke7 17. Rd2 g6 $1 {I want to prepare Nf4. This cannot happen with my pawn on g7. This is the most principled option. He is preventing me from playing Nf4 while preparing Nd4 himself. I took one of the longest thoughts in the game here. I was hesitant to play e5 because it weakens d5. Variations show that this is the best way to play. I decided to doing it anyways after a lot of calculation. It is more important for me to prevent his Knight from going to d4.} 18. Ne2 e5 $1 (18... Bb5 {This move was the most critical option for me besides e5. I am trading pieces, but I am not trading the right ones. I do not want to let him get rid of his f1-bishop. That bishop is not doing anything as his pawns on the light sqaures restrict it.} 19. Ng3 $1 Bxf1 20. Rxf1 Nf4 21. Rfd1 {He seemed to be getting too much counterplay here. I did not want to allow this favorable exchange. I need my bishop on c6 to control the d7-square.}) (18... Rad8 $6 {This is one of the moves I considered. I have to make some awkward decisions with my pieces. This looked much more problematic than allowing him the d5-square.} 19. Nd4 Be8 20. e5 $1 $14 {If I move my Knight to f4 now; it can be attacked by the means of Rg4. I cannot support my Knight with e6-e5. The position is a bit problematic for me.}) 19. Nc3 {I had to see what to do against this move before playing e6-e5.} (19. Rg2 {I think he should not let me get my Knight to f4. I think White is just fine here. I was planning to play Ng7-Ne6 where my Knight can hopeto d4 or f4. It depends on what he does.} Ng7 20. Nc3 Ne6 21. Bc4 Nf4 22. Rgf2 Rad8 23. Rxd8 Rxd8 {This is a better version for White, as I had to waste a few tempis playing Ng7-Ne6-Nf4.}) 19... Nf4 20. Bc4 Rh3 21. Rg5 (21. Nd5+ Bxd5 22. Bxd5 Nxd5 23. Rxd5 Kf6 $1 $11 {This is the move I had seen from 18. e5! Black gets his pawn back with no problems is his position.}) 21... f6 $1 ( 21... Kf6 $6 {This natural looking king move makes it harder for Black to play f7-f5. It is hard to see how Black is breaking through without this idea.} 22. Rg3 Rah8 23. Rxh3 Rxh3 24. Rf2 Rh4 25. Bf1 {Black would rather have his king on e7 here. His king on f6 prevents him from playing f7-f5}) 22. Rg3 Rah8 23. Rxh3 Rxh3 24. Rf2 Rh4 {I like this move. I want to threaten Nh3 before playing f5. I want to force his bishop to f1 where it is very passive and restricted by my f4-knight. I do not see more than a repetition after Nh3, but I knew my higher rated opponent wanted more.} 25. Bf1 f5 26. Kd2 Ne6 $1 {My Knight looks good on f4, but it is hard to see what it is doing there. I decided to attack his weaknesses on f3 and e4. It is far from winning, but it is very uncomfortable to deal with these threats as White.} 27. Ke3 Ng5 28. exf5 $6 ( 28. Bd3 $1 Nh3 29. Rg2 Nf4 30. Rf2 Nh3 31. Rg2 Nf4 $11) 28... gxf5 29. f4 Nh3 $1 {I think he missed this move. He is doing well otherwise.} 30. Bxh3 Rxh3+ 31. Kd2 exf4 32. Ne2 f3 33. Nf4 $6 {White can still draw, but he is making it hard for himself. He was probably still going for a win. He should think more objectively; rather than playing based on his emotions. This is a recorrcuring theme in this game. He overpressed rather than accepting that it is equal.} ( 33. Ng1 $1 {White has to force things now. The draw will get harder and harder if he does not calculate accurately now. He might have still been thinking about winning. He let his emotions get in the way of being objective. He should have changed his mindset and starting thinking about how to draw. I am not sure, but I guess something like this happened.} Rh4 34. Nxf3 Bxf3 35. Rxf3 Rxh2+ 36. Kd3 Kf6 37. Rf4 $1 {White has an easy draw due to his Rb4 ideas.} Kg5 38. Rb4 b5 39. a4 $1 {White has more than enough counterplay to easily draw here.}) 33... Rh7 34. Nd3 $2 {He wanted some ideas of Ne5 and Ne1, but it does not work concretely.} (34. Ke3 $1 {He should try to get his King to blockade my f3-pawn. The king is often the best blockader in endgames because It is much easier for your pieces to become active; rather than your pieces passively defending a passed pawn.} Kf6 35. Rd2 $1 Re7+ 36. Kf2 Kg5 37. Kg3 $1 $11) 34... Kf6 $1 {The king is a fighting piece in endgames!} 35. Ke3 Kg5 $1 ( 35... Re7+ $2 {This check is tempting, but there is no clear continuation after this check.} 36. Kf4 $1 $11 {This is the point. I played Kf5 to prepare Re7; he does not have this move.}) 36. Ne5 f4+ 37. Kd2 {In view of this variation, he went for this instead.} (37. Kd4 Kf5 $1 {This was my plan. It is a very uncomfortable position for White. It is not about my threats; it is that he has nothing to do./} 38. b3 (38. Nxc6 bxc6 39. Rxf3 Rxh2 40. Rc3 Rd2+ $1 $19 {My f4-pawn is too strong. I am winning.}) 38... Be4 $17) 37... Be4 $1 { I decided to restrict the e5-Knight. It is a very uncomfortable position for White. He has no good plans. I can toture him as much as I want. On the other hand, I was getting low on time. I had calculated some other variations with Re7, but this looked much more practical and safe with little time. I can play Re7 whenever I want to. There is no reason to hurry. He is almost in zugzwang here.} (37... Re7 38. Nxc6 bxc6 39. Rxf3 Kg4 40. Rc3 {I would much rather get this position without a bad pawn structure. This is another reason why I played Be4. I wanted to get Re7 on favorable conditions. I had calculated a variation like this. Black has no win. He has to settle for a draw.} f3 41. Rxc6 $11) 38. Kd1 Re7 $1 {The following Rook Endgame is very problematic for him. This is mostly a matter of calculation now; not positional understanding as much.} 39. Nc4 (39. Nxf3+ Bxf3+ 40. Rxf3 Kg4 41. Rf2 f3 $19 {White cannot challenge the e-file. His king is not in time to stop my f-pawn. Black should be winning.}) 39... Bd5 40. Nd2 Kg4 {I was starting to get low on time here. I have played very well up to here, but I started to make some inaccuracies around this part of the game.} 41. b3 Kh3 42. Nf1 Bc6 43. Nd2 Re6 $2 {My rook was ideally placed on e7. The reason it is not as well placed here is based on the following variation:} 44. a4 (44. Nxf3 $1 Bxf3+ 45. Rxf3+ Kg4 46. Rf1 f3 47. Rg1+ Kf4 48. Rg7 f2 49. Kd2 $3 {This is quite a brilliant defense. He cannot threaten my b7-pawn with my rook on e7. This is the difference! It is very hard to find such a defense during the game.} f1=N+ $5 {This is my only attempt to win, but it is not enough.} 50. Kc3 Rc6+ 51. Kb4 Rb6+ 52. Ka4 $11) 44... a5 45. Nc4 $5 {This is a good practical try. It is not easy for me to calculate things with little time on my clock. I felt as I should keep things under control. I was low on time, so I knew it is not the right time to force things.} (45. Nxf3 $1 {This was his last chance to find this defense. He had some other drawing chances later though.} Bxf3+ 46. Rxf3+ Kg4 47. Rf1 f3 48. Rg1+ Kf4 49. Rg7 f2 50. Kd2 $3 f1=N+ 51. Kc1 Nxh2 52. Rxb7 $11) 45... Bd5 46. Nb2 $1 {I did not see this idea being low on time.} (46. Nxa5 $4 Re2 $1 { This was my idea.} 47. Rxe2 fxe2+ 48. Kxe2 Kg2 $19) 46... Be4 47. Kd2 Rd6+ $6 { This was a miscalculation on my end. I had about a minute on my clock. I was playing off the increment. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. if I had more time, I think I would have been able to calculate better.} (47... Rg6 $1 48. Nd3 Bxd3 (48... Rd6 $1 {This is the point. I think he is in zugzwang!} 49. Kc3 Bxd3 50. cxd3 Kg4 $17 {Black's passed f-pawns are clearly stronger than White's passed d-pawn. It is hard to say if this is enough to win. This does not matter. All I need to know in a practical game, is that I have good winning chances. I cannot ask for more. There is no point is going deeper. That burns too much time off your clock for more important moves.}) 49. Rxf3+ Kg2 50. Rxf4 {I thought he was holding here. This is correct, but I overlooked an important Candidate besides Bxd3}) 48. Ke1 Rg6 49. Kf1 Rg2 {This is a critical moment. He should have spend much more time. He wanted to play for my time pressure instead. He should have stopped to think. He did not bother to look for his options and calculate. This was not a very mature decision by his part. You need to calculate well, no matter your opponent's time situation. He might have got exicted and assumed he is making an easy draw. He should have double checked things.} 50. Nd3 $6 (50. Nc4 $1 {This is now an easy draw for him.} Kxh2 51. Nd2 $1 Kh1 52. Nxf3 Rxf2+ 53. Kxf2 Bxc2 54. Nd2 Bd1 55. Ke1 Bh5 56. Kf2 $11 {It is not easy to calculate such a long variation. Such calculation requires a lot of thought. He did not feel the need to think. He should spend more time as it is a critical moment. He probably did not feel this during the game. He only spent 23 sec on 50.Nd3.}) 50... Kxh2 51. Ne1 $4 { He only spend about a minute here. He needed to spend much more time to calculate things accurately.} (51. Nxf4 $1 {This is still a draw, but it is far from simple.} Kh1 52. Ke1 $1 Rg4 53. Nh3 {This looks bad, but somehow White is holding. White's fortress cannot be broken.} Bc6 54. Kd2 $11) 51... Rxf2+ 52. Kxf2 Kh3 {He is losing now, but he did not have to make it easy for me. He made a bad miscalculation here.} 53. Nd3 $2 (53. c3 $5 Kg4 54. b4 b6 55. b5 (55. bxa5 bxa5 56. c4 Bc6 $1 57. c5 Be4 $1 {This position is a mutual zugzwang! He has no good moves!} (57... Bxa4 $4 58. Nxf3 $1 Kf5 59. c6 $1 Bxc6 60. Nd4+ Ke4 61. Nxc6 a4 62. Nb4 $11) 58. c6 Bxc6 $19) 55... Bd5 56. Nc2 Kf5 $1 {Black can invade with his King by the means of Ke4-Kd3.}) 53... Bxd3 54. cxd3 Kg4 55. d4 b6 $1 {White finds himself in zugwang.} 56. d5 Kf5 57. d6 Ke6 58. d7 Kxd7 59. Kxf3 Kc6 60. Kxf4 Kc5 61. Ke5 Kb4 62. Kd5 Kxb3 63. Kc6 Kxa4 64. Kxb6 Kb4 {This was a pretty well played endgame from me. My calculation and understanding helped me win this endgame. It is often a lot more annoying to prevent your opponent's ideas rather than trying to just play for your ideas. Chess is a lot about making it hard for your opponent. You are half the game. Your Opponent is the other half. You may be feeling well, but it is often better to make your opponent feel bad. Such moves like e5! and Be4! are examples of this. I did not have one clear plan. It was simply about finding ways to improve my position mostly. I am very happy with this game!} 0-1 [/pgn]

Round 9: I went into the last round with a lot of thoughts. I was tied for first with a bunch of others with 6.5 points. I was paired against a well-known 2599-rated GM named Axel Bachmann and I was Black. I had the option to play for the win vs. a higher rated player, but I did not want to risk losing out on a prize. However, I kinda hoped he wouldn’t offer me a draw in the opening, so I wouldn't be tempted. But he did offer an early draw and I couldn't resist the temptation and accepted it so I would be guaranteed a spot in the blitz playoffs and be able to play for first prize. Looking back, I think I should have played on as I was better.  But I was happy when I discovered that everybody else with 6.5 drew their games! I guess I am not the only one who was scared of losing out on the prizes!  I was in a 9-way tie for first at the end of the round. I was very nervous as I realized I might not get a prize if I lost in the first round of the 16 player blitz knockout playoffs. I decided to play a bunch of blitz games to practice. I was happy I had the support of my friend Anish Vivekananthan. He helped with a lot of practical blitz advice and by rooting me on during the event. In each round of the blitz playoffs, you played two games of blitz against your opponent.  If you were still tied after that, you played an armageddon game.

Blitz Round 1:  I won the first game convincingly vs another IM, but then lost the second game as Black. It then went to armageddon. I was quite nervous, but I felt more comfortable without increment, as that is what I usually play when I play blitz. I got a good position, but then messed it up very badly. Luckily for me, there was no increment and I managed to flag him in a losing position.

Blitz Quaterfinals:  I played Kirill Shevchenko in the quaterfinals. I was not as nervous, as I had already secured a finish in the top 8. I outplayed him in the first game and ended up winning. He defended my attack very well in the second game, which I ended up losing. This led to another armageddon game. It led to a slightly better endgame, which I blundered into a losing position! He missed a mating net idea and blundered his one and only chance. It led to a time scramble where he blundered his rook!  I premoved my way to victory from that point.

Blitz Semifinals:  I had a difficult match vs. GM Aldy Ahmed, the highest rated player in the tournament. I saved two very difficult positions, but then lost in the armageddon game. I should have played more against his style. I got squeezed in all 3 games. I did not try hard enough to complicated the position, which led to my eventual loss.

3rd-place match:  I made a similar sort of mistake in the 3rd place match, which I lost. This time my opponent was a very tactical player and I took him straight to his comfort zone. I lost both of the games, which was a bit disappointing. It was still a great tournament, and I was happy to finish 4th. It was quite an interesting experience and I am looking forward to more of these tournaments!

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