There were 9 students this week in the Master Camp, and, as in the third week, they were divided between the two coaches, Sergey and Hana, for their study groups. There were several new students this week and a wide range of levels, from Chris and Greg, who are just starting to study chess at this level, to the older and more experienced Alan, who was the rating favorite this week. In the end, no one could compete with Alan, who won both the rated and the blitz tournaments. Though he only won by half a point in each tournament, the level of his play was clearly the strongest. The small margin by which he won can be attributed to his seriousness over the board, which often led to time pressure. Josh took second place in the rated tournament with 4 out of 5 points, confirming his reputation as a capable but inconsistent player. This week, fate was on his side, and he displayed strong play, including an honorable 4th place finish in the blitz tournament. With 3.5 points, the ever-active Philip took 3rd place in the rated tournament. Though he is a very capable chess player, his inability to concentrate for extended periods of time continues to be his biggest weakness. Thus results in serious, irreparable blunders in his games as well as keeping him from fully absorbing the lessons. It is possibly just a matter of time before he grows out of this weakness. The Webster brothers, Don and David, were visibly tired after their first week at the camp. Though they were able to keep up their energy in the blitz games (placing 2nd and 3rd respectively), their fatigue showed itself in the longer rated games. Even the experienced Don, one of the winners of the last tournament, committed many serious blunders in his games. The newcomer Chris made a good impression this week. His opening repertoire may be non-standard, but he was able to put up a fight against the tournament favorites. His pre-tournament rating was the lowest, but he played at a level well above this. The other three students, Nikita, Greg, and Daniel, tried, but without great success. They were able to play well in short bursts but were unable to maintain consistent strong play. One should note, however, that Greg managed to take 5th place in the blitz tournament.
Because there was an odd number of students this week, in each round of the tournament one student received a bye and played Hana in a training game. Before each of these games, students spent time preparing against Hana’s openings. This is a useful exercise because it allowed for more individual focus on each student’s own opening repertoire. But, against Hana, it did little to help, as she took each game seriously and did not allow her opponents any chances.
This week also saw a new exercise: after each tournament game, the players had to jointly analyze what was just played, exchanging opinions and revealing their own plans and errors from the game. This proved to be very useful and will be continued in the future.
Because the students were divided into two groups this week, there were two winners in the other competitions. Don won the problem solving competition in the older group and Greg in the younger. The awards for best game analysis went to Nikita and David.
In the sports competition, no one could match Alan in the older group or Daniel in the younger group.
All of the winners of the chess competitions were awarded chess books and the sports winners won sports-related prizes.
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