2009 US Championship Summary&Recap Part III
May 22, 2009 • General
Good morning to everyone from nice sunny and hot White Plains, New York. I apologize to everyone that I was not able to blog yesterday, but I spent much of the afternoon and evening in New York City, and I completely crashed when I got home around 10 PM from exhaustion.
In this, the third and final installment of my experiences from the US Championship, I will recap the rest of the tournament from after I won round 9 to the closing ceremony. In the last blog, I left off after I won my game against GM Josh Friedel. Throughout this game, I had my eye on the Hess-Akobian game for obvious reasons. Unlike two of his other games in the tournament, I was pleased to see that Varuzhan found a way to avoid a losing position after 15 moves with Black for a change. I was especially optimistic about the game when I saw queens come off early as this would appear to very much play to his style. At the same time, it also meant that he’d avoid getting blown off the board like he did against Gata and me.
After my game finished, I went downstairs to the commentary room and gave a few comments relatively brief comments to Emil Sutovsky,Jennifer Shahade and Macauley Peterson. I do not know if the audio broadcast was archived or not, but it was hard for me to really be anything but slightly dazed due to the incredibly anti-climatic nature of the final game I played. In 2005 when I won, I had to grind a very complicated endgame against GM Ildar Ibragimov which went well into the fifth hour. This time around, with a short three hour game requiring very little effort it was hard to say much of anything. After I left the commentary room, I went outside and made a brief call to my parents before Kris&I went off to get some lunch at Culpepper’s. About five or six minutes after we ordered food, I got several messages from people on my crackberry hearing that the game Hess-Akobian was drawn. In retrospect, I’m a little surprised I didn’t start screaming at the top of my lungs considering how much this victory meant to me. After I gulfed down my food, I ran back to the club for the final interview which I believe is on the actual website of the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Kris and I headed back to our hotel briefly just to see Kobe and company dominate the Rockets completely in game seven. After this we just chilled out and kicked back having accomplished our goal. I also tried to work on a speech while getting numerous messages and emails, etc from people. However, this proved to be a futile exercise as I just simply could not focus due to the massive amount of communication. Thank you for turning my life upside down, research in motion! After this, we headed back to the site hotel, The Chase Park Plaza for the ceremony while putting down our windows and blasting the brilliant song Last of Wilds. I have to say that not having a care in the world and being on such an emotional high is really what competition is all about.
The closing ceremony itself was held on the top floor of the ritzy Chase Park Plaza, although I forgot the name of the exact room and rooftop patio. Overall, it was very well done with alcohol (what a surprise) and plenty of h’orderves. When I first got up there, I had a feeling I’d get more than simply the big check like I had before and my intuition proved to be correct as they had a special jacket for the winner. There were many speeches including mine which were fun to listen to, although my speech got completely thrown off when my father inadvertently called me while I was actually talking. I must say that it is very hard to maintain your train of thought when you have a blackberry in your pocket vibrating. However, I somehow stumbled and bumbled through it and seemed to do a good enough job, so I won’t complain. After this we were treated to opera singing from Emil Sutovsky which, although, is not my type of music was nevertheless quite good. There really is nothing more to report after this other than accepting numerous congratulations enjoying myself and just realizing what a true pleasure it is to be at a chess tournament where every participant was treated as though chess is a sport and something worth being recognized. So with that, I bring to a close my report on the US Championship. It was a truly phenomenal event and probably the smoothest, stress free event which I have had the fortune to participate in.