Mr. Burke here again.
All I can say is – wow.
In an epic battle that lasted 99 moves and 5 hours and 30 minutes, John Michael played Albert Lu, the #2 seed (out of 121) in his section, to a draw. It truly was an incredible game. There was a little bit of everything in this game: time pressure for both players, interesting tactics, and a long endgame where John Michael had a rook and 2 pawns against Albert’s 2 bishops and 2 pawns. Albert had all the winning chances, and John Michael had to fend off Albert for about 50 moves in a very tricky endgame where one slight mistake could have cost him the game. John Michael showed me the game when we got back to the hotel room, and it was remarkable. To withstand that sort of pressure against the #2 player in his section is quite a feat. John Michael was tired but happy after the game was finished. Out of 550 or so games that take place in each round, his was the last one to finish! Great to see him get on the board with half a point – he earned it! It is always good to get your first points on the board in the tournament.
It was a little different entering the tournament hall for Round 2. Parents were not able to enter the hall to seat their children at their boards. Not a big deal for us, as we arrived 30 minutes early at the hall, and John Michael had no issues getting in and finding his board. Some other folks were not so lucky. There was a huge logjam at the door starting at about 15 minutes before the round, as there was no notification given to the delegations that players would have to enter without parents. Lot of confusion as parents were being turned away. Definitely going to have to get there very early before each round to avoid any issues.
Tomorrow (Sunday) will be the most grueling day of the tournament. It is the only day where there are 2 games. Round 3 is at 10:00 AM Caldas Novas time, and Round 4 is at 5:00 PM. Going to be a long and late day! No games on Monday, so we can sleep in as late as we want. Will report back tomorrow night with results from Round 3 and 4.
Thank you for all your emails – I have read them all, but haven’t had too much of a chance to reply. Will reply to everyone when we get back.