I spend a lot of clock-time deciding which move will give me most artistic leeway, particularly in the opening where raw calculation goes out the window, and it’s more a question of positional or artistic feel.
Against lower-rated players, this coefficient becomes cranked up all the more because it is a chance to challenge one’s self. Of course, passive play could get the job done, but that’s not the way to improve so as to win against stronger players, and it also leads to a lot of assumptions about what an opponent is or isn’t capable of.
I played little Jason in this game, who had just beaten Dean, sitting behind me in the background of this picture, in the previous round. In this picture, I am deciding what I want to do with this game, and it leads to the decision to play …Bg6, which was essentially the deciding move in the game because then Jason’s young eyes lit up big, and he played f4 instantly in reply.
I saw their game for a split second and it had appeared as if Jason had hung two knights in a position which lead to checkmate against Dean. So, I was not about to let anything just “happen” to me in this game without a real “street-fight”.
Thursday, Round 2
Well, I guess it helps to know that I was winning in this one. With 36 seconds remaining to play a knight ending, he completely ignored my offer like it was a joke, and that is how I played it. I should have avoided making the offer and the time-trouble.
After the game, I was naturally upset at myself for simply not marching my king to the middle of the board in a position Fruit evaluates as 0.0. I played b4, but then the knight has to stay on b8, that is the point of the position. I knew this after the game, but in time-pressure it’s difficult to remember the point of a position, let alone find a realistic plan.
…is a sure recipe for disaster.
I played 21..b5?? with the intention of preventing 22.e4, but only after he played 22.Rh1 did I notice that 22…Rf7 fails to 28.Qxg6! I saw it before I played …Rf7 (my plan was to correctly play ..Rg7, but it’s a move too late) but my position was lost anyway and so I played the move just to see, but it was obvious from his body language. Actually, I think I saw it before he did, but my body language didn’t give anything away because I knew there was nothing I could do.
The game was interesting in how he slowly outplayed me, and even Fruit is of little use because it seems to underestimate his attack as well. The computer things the ..Rg7 defense played in time is only -.5, but around 20 moves later Black can get mated, so maybe if you are a computer you may or may not be able to defend, but he had all of the chances because of the time advantage and position.
This game was so nuanced, which is what makes Paul such a tough opponent to play against. After I played ..Nf6-d7, I realized that I should have played …h6 first, for example, when I noticed that he was probably going to play Qa4-c2, which is what he did. Lots of examples like this, and obviously Black has the more difficult task, but it’s difficult to sort of be able to choose the right move “in advance” because of the time control. It’s more like a FICS game with tons of blunder-checking (until the time-scramble, of course).
About this game, first I’d like to say that Katar has inspired me to play this sort of pawn sac. It was a White gambit opening, and I turned it into a gambit by Black, which Fruit loves.
It felt more like a LaBourdannais-McDonnell game than one between the two of us, at our modes ratings. Her coach requires his pupils to play gambits.
What is it about gambits that can bring out the best in us? Here is a soundtrack for this game:
For the first time ever, I kept a neat, easily legible scoresheet. On the board, however, it was a different story. My “game” was going down like the titanic, as I began misfiring all over the place. My only other game against Jordan was a loss as Black, and my confidence was picking right off where it left off from last week, finding a way to lose from a won position.
I missed all kinds of shots, and saw most of them after the game. My play was going down in a heap of flames. Too tight to find the mate in two, not taking the obvious piece win on e7, blundering, getting a lucky mate with one minute on my clock. There was really no end to the amount of fortuitous bounces which went my way in this game. I was actually losing and drawing at points. My play? Madness. The result of the game? Another miracle.
I had 2 min 13 seconds at the end of the game, but wasn’t spending any time on those poor moves at the end, they were all instant moves. I had planned 32.Qe2, but he played the passive 31.h6 and I felt I needed to “take advantage” of this by playing an active move, even though I had decided not to play 32.Bb6, I forgot about 32.Qe2 all of a sudden, probably because it seemed more passive. After the game, I noticed after the natural 33.Qc2 that the knight is not even dropping. So I blundered this game away, and $20 clear second as well, just on nerves alone.
In other news, my buddy Alex got kicked out of his place and is staying with me as of last night, and I took today off. I wasn’t tired, just too much nervous exhaustion after staying up with him almost all night studying chess positions.
I should have blitzed out the win from this game, I was able to blitz wins in all lines instantly when we looked at it, but maybe between job, Wednesday’s game, no nap before this game, no vitamin B all day, just coffee during the game, too stressed out in some way, and it only takes being a little off to mess up one’s result. Plus, yes, I didn’t want to play because I was too happy after finding my rating point jump right before the game started. It’s tough to get all p*ss and vinegar again after finding out something positive like that. Too much extraneous stuff to digest right before the game.
My clock management is so poor that my game requires excellent nerves to compensate for this. I need to play quicker. I also need to play my opponent’s clock, even if my opponent only takes 25 min. to play the game. My opponent gave me the fast/poor play for gratis, without me forcing him into it. I benefitted from his quick play far more than it hurt me, but I should be forcing this more from opponents, not relying on them giving me fast/weak play. I should be trying to end games early, even if they go 90 moves, and save time as a rule for endgames, not this coffee-house stuff.