Hello All -
Mr. Burke here with a wrap-up of SuperNationals V from Nashville. Oh, the highs and lows of top level tournament chess. JM started the day with high hopes - he had 4.5 points out of 5 and had a chance to win his section with 2 games to play. Unfortunately those plans didn't materialize. In Round 6 (9:00 AM game) JM played on the big stage again against a player from Illinois rated 1974. The game was another long one, and ended in a draw. JM was very disappointed in that result, as it ended any chance he had to win the tournament. He was at 5 points after 6 rounds, and the two leaders were at 5.5 and 6 points and were paired against each other for Round 7. No matter what happened in the Round 7 game between the leaders, one of the players was going to get to 6.5 points and the most JM could achieve would be 6 points with a win. Round 6 took a lot of steam out of JM, but he still had a chance to finish anywhere from 2nd to 4th with a win in round 7, the final round of the tournament.
Round 7 (2:00 PM game) was another 4 hour game against a player rated 1928 from Maryland. Unfortunately JM ended up with his first loss of the tournament in this game, which resulted in a final score of 5 points out of 7 (4 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw). JM officially finished in 16th place out of 203, after the final standings and tiebreakers were calculated.
All in all, it was a great experience for JM. National championship events are extremely pressure filled - he was under intense stress all weekend and handled it very well. 7 games lasting on average 3-4 hours each in a 3 day time period is rough.
Here is what I will remember about this weekend:
1) I am continually blown away by the effort and focus that JM (and all these kids) exhibits in each tournament. He competes with every fiber of his being and leaves it all out there. He never mails in a game, never gives anything less than his absolute best, never backs down from a challenge, never is intimidated by anything he faces. His effort inspires me to be a better person.
2) JM has the fiercest competitive streak of anyone I know. Anything less than total victory is just not acceptable to JM. How many kids would lose only 1 game out of 7, finish 16th out of 203 in the biggest chess tournament of the year against top players from around the nation, and be totally disgusted and not even care about getting his trophy? JM expects to win every single game he plays and expects to be the best, and that intense drive is something that makes him great and is something that I love to see. There is disappointment right now after a tough tournament loss, but JM will be back on the big stage again. He will learn from this experience and will become a better player because of it. You can take it to the bank - JM will be mixing it up with the best in the country again soon, and he will make it to the top and win a national championship before long. It is in him to do so. It is what he will do.
And yes, he did get his trophy (and it is a pretty big one too!). Will try to get pictures up tomorrow after we get home.
Thanks for following along on our latest chess adventure!