My 2017 Recap

Oh man, 2017 is almost over!? I remember New Year’s Eve of 2016 like it was yesterday. There is still one more tournament to go this year, but now is as good a time as any to reflect what happened and play around with the statistics.

I increased my USCF rating from 2434 to 2508 and increased my FIDE rating from 2314 to 2405. More importantly, I got my final IM Norm and became an IM! 2017 was neither my most successful (2014 gets that honor) nor my most turbulent year (that was the one and only 2016). In general, I feel that my volatility had increased without costing me much. Time for the stats!

                                                                  GAME STATS

Win Draw Loss Total
White 45 19 10 74
Black 29 24 14 67
Total 71 42 23 141


                                                                 RATING STATS  

Win Draw Loss Overall Average Performance Rating
White 2196 2480 2474 2306 2485
Black 2282 2413 2487 2372 2451

Compared to 2016, there is improvement! It’s unusual that my opponents’ average rating is so much higher when I’m black then when I’m white. I honestly have no idea why this is true…

Average game length: 43 moves. That’s fairly normal (for me at least).

Shortest “game”: 9 moves. You can probably guess the result…

Longest game: 91 moves. That’s what happens when you spend over 35 moves trying to win rook + knight vs. rook. For those of you who are wondering, this game ranks as 8th longest game of all time. I did not finish keeping score (in mutual time trouble) in the game that was for sure my longest – I can only estimate that it was about 120 moves. My longest fully recorded game is 103 moves.

Highest scalp: GM Alex Shimanov (2718 USCF, 2650 FIDE). I covered the game in my article on the Philadelphia Open.

Worst defeat: Duncan Sheppard (2144 USCF, 1785 FIDE). That game was painful. Really painful.

Longest winning streak: 5 games. That was in my eventful tournament in Charlotte…

Longest losing streak: 2 games (only twice!!!).

Longest undefeated streak: 21 games. From the period of September until November, I somehow managed not to lose a game.

Favorite move: I think it’s still my move against Brandon Jacobson which I covered before in this article.

Worst blunder: I actually didn’t blunder any queens this year, though I did benefit from my opponents’ queen blunders! I did actually blunder a rook in one game, but it was in a completely lost position anyway…

Hevia Blunder

Black to move

Here I played 65… Kf8?? and after 66.Bd6+ Ke8 67.Re7+ I noticed that my rook on a3 was hanging! I resigned immediately.

Worst fail: Come on! Not cool!

Most embarrassing moment: OK, that’s hard to choose from…

One high candidate is my round 2 game from the US Amateur Team East. I was completely winning, my team was up 2-0, and I had just turned down a draw offer a couple moves earlier. I soon found myself near-busted and managed to scrape my way to a draw. This was embarrassing, though there was some “glory” because I had “worked hard until 1:30 am to ensure my team victory”…

Another candidate is my first round game in the US Masters, where I did my best to lose to a 2000 with white. I’ll give you a sample position…

Kevin Li

Black to move

I was white. Yuck!! Somehow, I managed to swindle my way to victory in this game! But the possibility that I had gone all the way to North Carolina to play a 9-round tournament in the hope of getting a GM Norm only to lose to a 2000 in the first round was humiliating.

Most painful loss: From a pain point of view, this one is my last round game against GM Ruifeng Li at the Philadelphia Open. Had I won that game, I would have crossed the 2400 rating barrier, gotten my IM title, and gotten a GM Norm. I’ve had more depressing losses, but in the long run, this one hurts the most.

Most important game: My win against Raven Sturt, after which I became an IM. OK, I had two other shots, but this one was successful.

Meanest swindle: I actually haven’t pulled off any sick swindles this year – aka no winning any -10 positions. Therefore, I will leave this one blank.

Weirdest game: When it comes to weird games, 2017 has actually been pretty quiet. There was one little game that should be described as “unorthodox”…

Brandon Weirdo Position

Black to move

I did, however, have one bizarre day, December 10th. I was playing in the Marshall Chess Club Championship, and my morning game looked like this:


Black to move

And my evening game looked like this:


White to move

We see these kinds of typical positions every day…

My New Year’s Resolutions

What? I’m supposed to make New Year’s Resolutions!? About chess!? No way…


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