Finally got around to doing the grand finale.
Round 4 overall went pretty well. Don, Tim, and I won, while Ivan drew. All of us were guaranteed at least an even score, and Don and I had good chances to place in the top 3 in our respective sections.
Game 5, I was going for the “all-kill”, winning all 5 games. A mere 1680 who hadn’t played any serious game in 4 months had a chance to prove clear superiority versus players up to 100 points stronger! To be honest, I’m still giddy thinking about it.
Even with loss, I’d tie for 3rd and get the most of the entry fee back in winnings. A draw would mean a tie for 1st, and a win would be clear 1st! Since the average rating of my opponents was so high, I would have the advantage in any tiebreak situation. So, to be honest, I was not too concerned about getting the win. Perhaps I was a bit too relaxed; overall, the play was rather sloppy.
There was a bit of unintentional BM on my part as well towards the end, although it was after the game was decided…
My opponent shook hands and congratulated me on winning the section. This was it. Victory! Well, sort of. Victory enough. I wasn’t even disappointed about not going 5-0.
My comrades congratulated me, and even strangers complimented me on my tenacity. One guy mentioned people stopped watching the game at one point because they figured it was over (I was too involved to notice who was watching). And it seems like some people assumed the comeback was due to tough defense. To be honest, people were giving me too much credit; the draw was because of my opponent’s poor endgame decision. Nonetheless, I suppose there is something to the idea that at least I held out long enough for the mistake to happen.
The draw meant, however, a tie for first, as another player earned 4.5 points as well. While we would split the 1st and 2nd place money, earning $600 each, the tiebreaker meant I would win the champion’s plaque. He actually offered to play an all-or-nothing game for the money ($1200 or nothing!) I laughed and told him I’d play for the plaque only. I knew I was not playing as well that day and did not have faith in the result. Even if I were confident, $600 is too much to risk the result of what would be, at best, a coin flip. (We didn’t play.)
Don won his last game as well, earning 2nd place in the unrated section. Unfortunately, Ivan and Tim lost their last games, but at least pulled out an even score overall. It was awesome having people around for moral support and some other games and results to have a vested interest in besides my own. Even my rivals in the class B section were at least cordial, if not downright friendly, and I hope to see some of these people in the Houston Chess Club in the future.
As a side note, this result also means my first 1st category norm! In fact, the only class B player to earn that norm. OK, I am done bragging about this event. Time to look towards the future.