Week # 6 saw participants of different levels. Two of them, Erik and Aharon stood out from the other players (by their ratings). So a decision was made to divide the students into separate groups. For the tournament part of the program, they played every day against a second trainer, Evan Rosenberg (rated 2278), in a simultaneous exhibition with a normal time control – 60 minutes + 5 seconds for each move. Since the number of students in the other group was odd, we transferred the strongest player (Merrick) to the higher group as well.
Merrick is very young (7 years old) but a very gifted player who showed his talent in one of the previous weeks. It must be noted that the simul proved to be a success and all games were truly intense. Evan tried to play his best and this made the exhibition a great training experience for our students. Also, the exhibition proved a good experience for Evan, too, since the time control was demanding while the opponents were tough cookies who did not make gross mistakes. Merrick turned out to be a little weaker than others. Because of his age, he does not yet have enough knowledge of openings to cope with a master and therefore he ran into trouble at the beginning of each game. Thereafter, he fought, trying to rectify the situation, but in vain. Having lost all five games he got really upset, which testifies to his true sportsmanlike character. Erik also lost all five games. However, his games were different. Erik is already quite an experienced player who has his own opening repertoire and who does not make gross mistakes. In four of his games he had an advantage. In two of these games his advantage was decisive. However, his major problem – time trouble - destroyed everything he achieved by his good play. Yet he can be satisfied with the quality of his play despite the bad results. Finally the last participant, Aharon, was the only one who scored. Only in the first game not yet being adjusted, did he lose without a fight. In the rest of the games he played on equal terms. He lost two of these games after not using his winning chances in one of them. One game was drawn by repetition while in the last round Aharon refuted Evan’s unsound play in the opening without hesitation. It must be noted that Aharon made a lot of progress during the last year which is not surprising taking into account his diligence and love for the game.
The round robin tournament unexpectedly ended in a convincing victory for the youngest participant – Justin - who scored 4.5 points out of 5 and was a point ahead of the second prize winner. He plays pretty well, but too fast, which sometimes leads to gross mistakes. In this tournament, his opponents could not take advantage of this circumstance. However, if Justin plays the same way in a stronger tournament, this approach won’t work. Surprisingly, second place was captured by Michal Aksen who had one of the lowest ratings. However, in the majority of his games he played confidently and his success is well-deserved. The only lapse of his happened in his game with Justin in which he offered a draw in a position with a great advantage. But, to be fair, one has to mention that Justin had a great advantage in the opening. Third place was captured by Daniel, who started the tournament with three wins but lost to the first and second place winners. Piush captured the 4th place. Judging from the blitz tournament, he is a capable player. However, at some moments he cannot withstand the pressure and makes bad mistakes. Also, he plays too fast, which prevents him from penetrating into the game and making the right decision. Josh, who extended his unlucky streak into the third week, got fifth place. He fought in every game, but in vain. The only exception was his game with Piush, in which he played confidently from beginning to end. Greg was just a bit inferior to other players. This goes for all of his games, which where unresolved almost to the very end. However, he put effort into his games, fought to the very end, and was rewarded by a half point in his game with Josh, which he could have lost as well. All in all, the tournament went well with a serious approach demonstrated by all of the participants. After each game the players analyzed it together sharing their ideas and impressions with each other. It was not just a formal procedure, but a serious, mature endeavor.
The blitz tournament was conducted in two groups as well. The strongest one consisted of four people: the three higher rated students + Coach Evan. The latter’s victory was convincing. However, he lost points against all the other players, including Merrick. Aharon captured second place, and Erik finished third. The last one was Merrick, who, however, drew Evan and scored wins against Erik and Aharon. In the second group three players were in the lead for quite a while: Piush, Justin, and Josh. However, closer to the end Josh fell behind while Piush and Justin shared first place. By tie-break, Piush turned out to be the winner. Josh was third. Michael and Greg shared the 4th and 5th places while Daniel, who did not play all the games, ended last.
An interesting competition occurred in the younger group in a problem solving contest. Only on the last day Justin was able to overtake Michael by one point. In the older group Aharon was unmatched. In sports Erik was the best in the older group, and Josh in the younger.
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