Its been a wild last few months! I'm still in China, specifically the city of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. I had actually gotten to play a good amount of chess games with some other westerners that live in my dorm. There were three college students during summer term who had played club chess to some extent. Two of them would be in about the 1400 range and another in about the 1500-1600 range. I went a combined 10-3 against them in long, casual games.
I finally came across a local group of players though. I'm not sure if they are directly affiliated with the Chengdu Chess Club but I know several of the players are regulars there. They were playing outside of a small noodle shop about half a mile from my dorms. I showed interest and one of the younger boys asked me if I knew how to play. I said yes and that I enjoyed playing. I was disregarded by the older players as they were concentrating on their games. The boy told me about a casual tournament at People's Park and I said I'd like to check it out.
It was more like the Reno Chess Club Swiss tourneys but it was outside in the blistering heat! It was all for fun but there weren't any push overs. I think I was the weakest player there in fact. I got crushed in my first two games and was able to take advantage of a blunder in my third game to keep from castling queenside (0-0-0) = )
In the first game I had white and I got abused in a French Tarrasch by a player who was probably expert or higher, I couldn't ask much chess lingo as he spoke no English and my Chinese doesn't have that type of vocabulary yet. The second game I got crushed in a Queen's Indian Defense by a very strong player (no idea what to say for rating strength). The third game my ego was a little bruised and I faced off with a 9 year-old boy. He actually knew enough English to hold a pretty good conversation. Where are you from, what music do you like and so forth. He has a FIDE rating which he claimed 1849, I believe his name was Wang Peng, but not totally sure.
Anyways I was able to play my line in the dragon and he made some moves which are standard in other Dragon lines, that just don't work against the line I play and I got him into trouble quickly, and then he started making bad moves. 1 of 3 ain't good but I played above my head all day!