“He who analyses blitz is stupid”
GM Rashid Nezhmetdinov
A score of 4 out of 5 with two rounds to go normally pairs you against a strong opponent. The game did not look like that. It was more of an exchange of errors in the middle game. My student’s opponent was rated 400 points lower at the beginning of the tournament; still having 4 wins should have been an indication he was not going to be a push over.
Play the same regardless of the opposition
I have mentioned this aspect for game 4 and in that one it went hand in hand with overestimating his opposition. In this game it went the other way and my student underestimated his opponent. They played a French Exchange, a bit of a surprising choice for White. This opening choice is not really one I would go for at this point in the tournament. The chances to play for a win are much diminished because of the character of the position. This was true in this game too. The result was decided by some simple tactics.
Don’t tempt faith too many times
Here it was: the big game with a finish on the podium on the line. Forgotten were the errors from before. When you are young, it is human to believe this is one of the many chances you will get. The opening was very well played on both sides. It was followed by a middle game where I believe White stood better and had at least a draw, followed by a possible win. Then everything collapsed like a house of cards. The opponent could not blunder to return the favour. This was the moment when White needed to earn his final placing in the final.
A number of players would be happy with this result. We could not be. The inconsistencies in the games and the moments of little to no concentration were too much for the expectations. This kid had spent a lot of time preparing for the tournament. He got exposed in the areas we did not expect. It should be back to the drawing board and plan to correct what went wrong. It remains to be seen if the summer vacation would be able to mend some of the wounds. The others should still be there to fuel the desire to get back for another shot next year.