Overcoming the Clock: Tatev in the Southern California Candidates
By Vanessa West   
July 4, 2015
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Tatev Abrahamyan, after competing in a slew of national and international championships (The Women's World Championship, The U.S. Women's Championship, and The Women's World Team Championship), returned home to win clear first in the Candidates Tournament for the Southern California State Championship with 3.5 points out of 4. 

Tatev's main focus throughout the tournament was staying out of time trouble. During the Women's World Team Championship in China, Tatev discussed the matter in detail with the team coach, GM Yury Shulman. 

Yury suggested determining an ideal time management plan and then comparing that to her previous games: "Start at move 40 and work backwards every 5 moves, listing the amount of time you'd feel comfortable with at each point." 

"Thinking about the game this way, I realized that I'm in time trouble before the game starts," Tatev explained. "Yury pointed out that I spend the most time on moves 15-20. So, I decided that I was going to really make the effort to move faster on move 15, as soon as I emerge from the opening. I wanted to really focus on leaving time for the critical moments later in the game."

During games, when Tatev reached had a move in mind that she'd usually spend more time on, she would ask herself: "Am I really going to come up with something different or am I just going to play the same move 10 minutes later?"

Ultimately, Tatev was successful in her goal, and it led to a much more relaxing tournament for her. Instead of worrying about her own clock, she could watch its effect on her opponents: "My opponents would get low on time, and I could feel the pressure on them."

According to Tatev, the key to strong time management is: "It takes a lot of conscious effort.”

Tatev's most interesting game from the event was her victory over Timothy Taylor, an International Master known for his attacking style: 


NM Ilia Serpik won clear 2nd, also qualifying for the State Championship. Meanwhile IM Timothy Taylor and FM Alexander Kretchetov tied for 3rd. The two competed in a head-to-head playoff, which FM Kretchetov won, clinching the final qualification spot. 

The Southern California State Championship will take place on July 9-12 in Beverly Hills. Here is the official list of competitors: 

IM Jack Peters
IM Keaton Kiewra
IM John Bryant
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan
FM Michael Brown
FM Konstantin Kavutskiy
FM Alexander Kretchetov
NM Ilya Serpik 

Stay tuned for updates as the event nears!