Today I played in my first over the board tourney. It's kind of a strange story. There's a local chess school that has some small tournaments on a monthly basis. They are open to the public but of course it's mostly students. Some of the people I know from the informal Wednesday night club play in them sometimes though. I had tried to go to one before and it was cancelled without notice. In fact there was no one in the school that time. Last weekend I showed up for one, and although there were people in the school the tournament was cancelled. This time however a woman who handles many of these things got me signed up for a tournament this weekend. Turns out that this was kind of a side event to an international tournament called "The Asian Dragons". I knew about this tournament but it is more serious FIDE rated event and I didn't even know if it was possible for me to join, but pretty clearly it was not for players at my level. The "Asian Dragons" has people from Japan, Korea, and Malaysia as well as Taiwan (of course due to international politics they have to call themselves Chinese Taipei). There was also a Panamanian and an American playing. Still, this international tournament really isn't very big and doesn't have very many players. Probably about 20 or 30 players total. When I got there, even though my event is very different from the other one they brought us into an auditorium all together. As we were sitting there, my friend told me that there was a rumor Nigel Short was going to be doing some coaching for the Taiwan team. Then a few minutes later in he walked. I was really very surprised to see him. I really believe that he is the first grandmaster I have ever seen in the flesh and he a world championship contender. There was another guy there that turned out to be Ignatius Leong. If you have been following the FIDE election stuff you might remember him as the representative that was in the votes for money scandal with Kasparov awhile ago.
So as I say I was pretty surprised that I got to see these people at this tournament that I expected to just be quite a small time deal.
Anyway, as far as the actual tournament goes, I felt I played reasonably well. Partly I just had to get used to certain things like hitting the clock after every move. There were one or two times when I forgot, but then again so did my opponents. Also, recording my moves was something that took a bit of getting used to. Also, the touch move situation, there was at least one time where I touched a piece and then regretted it. Luckily, my regret wasn't really for a good reason and moving that piece was fine.
As far as opponents go, it was a little confusing. Basically it was mostly kids of varying ages but there were some adults. My friend from the Wednesday club was playing, and a Taiwanese man. There were a couple of other adults playing but I wasn't quite clear on whether they were really playing in the tournament or not. Then there was a tier of teenaged players, and then a tier of younger kids. The younger kids were playing in the same room but seemed to be in a separate division. I played four teenagers and one adult.
The time control was 25 minutes main time with a 10 second delay. This is faster than I am used to as on the internet I usually play 30/30 or 45/45 and recently have played a couple of 90/30. Still, I seemed to have handled it well and was ahead on the clock in all my games except the last one. Even in the last one I wasn't behind much.
As far as results go I broke exactly even 2 wins, 2 losses, and a draw. Really, I was perfectly happy with that result. Being my first tournament I really saw it as a learning experience. I had to be told some basic stuff, like how to resign. This is a bit more significant than you might expect because of the language barrier and my first game was a bit awkward at the end because of this. I was also told that I probably resigned that one a bit early. Basically I was a piece down and he had an attack going, but still it is rapid play so it might have been worth hanging on for awhile.
So I ended up in 8th place out of 18 players. I ended up getting a third place trophy though because even though we played together some of the players were considered to be in a different section and were awarded prizes separately, so even though I was in the middle, I was third in the "open" division.
On the whole I had a lot of fun and definitely feel that I would like to do it again. There are not a lot of opportunities, but who knows, maybe this time next year I will be playing in the Asian Dragons main tournament.
I will post the games later although 2 of them are not complete due to having to give up recording as my time dwindled.