USATE uses a reasonably byzantine system for figuring out who plays whom in a given round. It’s called Accelerated Pairings. Organizers use this system when there are too many players in an event and the likelihood exists that multiple teams will achieve a perfect score. (Imagine if the 64-team NCAA basketball tournament only had four rounds. You’d still have four undefeated teams remaining at the end and no clear winner.) The system is incredibly hard to explain but the basic concept is that you take strong teams who’ve lost a round and pair them against weak teams who still have a perfect score. Most of the time that strong team is going to win and help you reduce the number of perfect scores.
Point being, our team played stronger opponents in rounds one and two than we would have using a normal pairing system. In round three, they stop using accelerated pairings. The result for us was a significantly lower rated opponent. Team name: Really, really, really. (Really.) Young guys, which is often trouble. I managed to win in under 30 moves though, playing the white side of an offbeat Caro Kann line.
One of the major keys to success in a long chess tournament is sleep. Winning (or losing) a short game provides a valuable opportunity for us oldtimers to take a nap. Another key: eating well. No fast food. Vegetables, chicken, fruit, pasta in moderation. A nervous stomach full of McDonald’s fatty junk is a recipe for disaster. Parsippany has some options in this regard. Sadly, the little hole-in-the-wall Italian joint I usually visit is now under new management and no longer up to snuff. Today I just grabbed lunch at the cavernous Minado sushi buffet. Minado always amuses me because the entire staff is clearly Latin and their knife skills are sorely lacking. They should spend an hour before every shift learning to make sushi in the right shapes and sizes. Maybe they spend their training time focusing on cleanliness and not cutting off their fingers, so for that I must be grateful.