Saturday, 4 January 2020

A Russian Story- Part 4

The ‘F’ Word

A lifetime 'relationship' with chess...
„Why are your hands trembling?”, my roommate asked. It reminded me of a somewhat similar conversation some weeks before.

While being at the European Blitz and Rapid Championships in Monaco, someone asked me how I could be so calm when playing on the top boards. I remember answering with a satisfied smile that there were no reasons to be nervous as long as I was not spending a cent out of my pocket, I could only gain- either experience or both money and experience... Moscow didn’t feel even like a fake smile.

Still, the ‚trembling hands’ managed to win the 1st game of the last day in a really nice style vs Muzychuk Mariya.

Breathing became harder and harder...

The first loss of the tournament followed. Funnily enough, it came while playing against a friend. I made a very difficult to understand move at some point. It was so bad, I had absolutely no chances after... I was very disappointed, very... The only consolation was the fact that I was still on the 3rd place and I would have white in the last 2 games, as they had to level me the colors.
The first white was a quick draw. Thought it was wise to ensure myself a prize and also have some time to rest before the last, decisive round.

In the end, I might have had too much time... It is still difficult to dig in all the „why-s” and „if-s”. I was never before so close to such an outstanding result, but all must happen for the 1st time, right?
Got white indeed against Pogonina, an opponent I have already played against before. She had half point less than me. I played badly, she played well, I lost...

It is difficult to describe how I felt afterwards, when realizing a win would guarantee me a tie for the 1st place and a tie break which even if lost would leave me on the 2nd place, with 30k in my pocket...
I guess it is enough to say that a sleepless night followed, one where every decision was analyzed and doubted.

In the spirit of my trip’s motto, I think I will keep the conclusions to myself this time.

Time to move on now.

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