IronMan Open

Round 1

27…Nd4,  This is a mistake because I can trade on d4, then play Rh2.  I did see this idea, but wasn’t sure if I should commit a rook(s) to the h-file just yet.

29…Be3?!  Played quickly (in my time-pressure), and I instantly sensed it was a mistake, but didn’t see a refutation until right after I move.  30.Qb4! is a no-brainer move, unless you see it a moment too late that is.  I thought I had blown my chance here, but I would get more chances to come.

32…Qh6+?  Josh said “Wow!” as soon as I replied with the unexpected 33.Rh2.

40.Qd3?!  Funny that this would be a natural time-control move.  Here I debated between improving, and then trading my queen, versus playing f4, followed by Nh3-g5, pressuring h7 with the rook and knight, and eyeing Ne6.  f4, I also observed, traps the bishop onto e3.

40…Kg7?! Protecting the g7 pawn.  Now the king is a target for Nh3-g5-e6+ and Rh7 in that line.

41.Qe4?  A groveling invitation to trade queens.  Soon, the queen will be a target, f4 never happens, and the Be3 thereby also gets out of the trap.

42…Re7  Completely missed this move.

43…Bh6 and missed this move as well.

44.Qxd?? I realized this move may and probably loses, but was in acute time pressure, less than half a minute left.  44.Ng1 is the only move that holds the position, but not so easy to find in time-pressure.

I gave up on my “chess-dreams”/plans too easily in this game.  Time-pressure was a big factor.

Round 2

21…c5?  The complexity level given by Stockfish is 1.14/1.19.  I’ve never seen it that high before.  So, I did seriously contemplate the best line, 21…QxQ, 22.RxQ Bd6, 23.Nd5, but cut it off around here because it’s difficult to visualize the further branching lines in this position as there are so many possible discovery attacks for White, that I didn’t want to try to handle it OTB, and then just blundered instead.

24.Bf4  White can win a pawn with 24.Bxc5!, which I missed.  I only expected the move he played.

33…g4.  I did consider that 33…Rd8 plan looked strong, but I went for this other plan instead.

40…Rxd3??  I suspected that this was a make-or-break move, that the only move had to be either this one or 40…Rd2!, but had no true idea at that moment how true that observation would be.  He was down to 3 minutes, and I to less, and again it’s the dreaded 40th move with no second time-control, and we were both quite tired, I presume for him as well, by this point.

A more well-played game than I had realized it was OTB.




I Drew It!

Round 4

Me and Alex have this little joke where if someone beats a higher-rated player they can say “I did it!” even if they’ll only beat that other player once ever.  Well, in this case, I didn’t do it, but drew it.  It was a great game that’ll be interesting to go over, since much was missed and possible but not played.

I believe that both of us played well for most of the game.  Daniel thought his …a5 move was a blunder, and he showed me a win that I missed, but overall it was quite interesting.  I got down to two minutes to Daniel’s 17 minutes when I offered a draw and he accepted.

27.Qc3+  Here, I was looking for a flashy move, but the simply 27.Ne4-f2 is already winning.  Both his a and f pawns would be “hanging”, and the knight makes a great kingside defender in ensuing complications.

It’s interesting that if I play 27.Ne4-f2, and he responds 27…Rf6, I felt right now that best would still not to be to take the a-pawn and Stockfish agrees.  In fact, I was looking at this follow-up g4 move a lot OTB.  28.g4 hxg, 29.Nxg4 Rg6 (I had seen this sequence OTB in some variation, and I found this whole line quickly by myself right now) 30.Qc3+ Kf7, 31.f5 easy win (31….Qxf, 32.Rf1 skewers).  It’s funny that I was trying to make this idea of g4 and Nxg4 work OTB, but I wanted something “less complicated”, which didn’t happen because I missed the simple wins anyhow.  I was worried about his two hitters on Ng4 OTB, but once I set this position up, the f5 block was easy to see in the line above.

29.Bxf5 was one of the “easy wins”  that I missed.  Another easy win was 23.Nc3-e2-g3 maneuver, easily picking up the f-pawn.  This is one of those things that in the calm of your own home, the next day, is readily apparent.  Any sort of two-move piece maneuver in time-pressure can seem stressful to look for OTB, which is probably why I only found this one-move rook maneuver 23.Rfe1 OTB.  Or maybe I am just stressed OTB, which is why I look for the crazy blitzkrieg instead of the calm/simple?

30.Bg2?  Again, at a natural time-control with no more time to optimize, I decided to go into my shell or “porcupine” mode as me and Alex call it.  There was no reason not to play the other move that I was looking at 30.Re3 h6, 31.Nf3 Ng6, 32.Rde1 Rf8, 33.Qd2 Qe8 (I let Stockfish play Black’s moves).  Stockfish gives this position (which is obviously better for White) at +1.5 roughly, but I can see that if I can move my queen to h4 here, trade knights on h4, then e7 has no knight defender (my own plan, Stockfish just shows a bunch of moves and no real plan here).

34.Nf3  Time-pressure panic.  I wanted to play 34.Nc6 (which I also liked because it controls d4 square) Rd7, but was worried about his Nxf4 tactic after 35.Bd5 (which is what I wanted to play here), but you can see that in the calm of battle Kh1 can simply be played.

38.Re1-d1  The computer likes this move, but for a human it’s much easier to understand that winning is the simple.  38.Bh3, when you can gang up on the f-pawn with 39.Re5 (saw this move OTB, but it was difficult to plan in time-pressure, wasn’t sure which idea was best), 40.Nh4.  If he defends f-pawn by retreating the knight, you can sac on f5 if it pins the pawn to his king because then you have g4 to win it back.  It’s probably going to happen and be crushing or you just win the f-pawn outright if Black avoids this by putting his Kh8.

39.Ne5?  A time-pressure blunder, which is how I said it right after the game.  Again, just gang-up on the f-pawn and it’s all over at the human level.  39.Ne5 is one of those moves best described as “not flagging”, as I was under half a minute when it was played.  An instant blunder with no real purpose behind it.  I thought I could get my Rd7, but 39…Nd4 (completely obvious reply) simply blocks the file.  I had seen this, and yet not seen this with my hope-chess continuation.  This shows how the need to play a blitz move can affect calculation ability.









Goofy Game

Round 3

I was going to play 23…Qc4, but he played quickly here, and I wasn’t spending much of my clock time (15 minutes for the entire game on my clock), so got lazy and played 23…RxBc3??  I quickly saw that it was a blunder, but wasn’t too worried about it, since it simply made the game more interesting.

If he had played on, I was planning on mating with bishop and knight.


Thursday’s Draw

Round 3

This move 5.c3 looks coached/prepared, else it was accidental, but I have never seen this system before.  It’s actually not a terrible move, may be okay, but I have an antidote for it now, but it’s quite elaborate I must say.

In the game, I decided not to take any risks, perhaps because she threw me off guard so early, and I am playing with the Black pieces anyway.  As Black, the game has to be _your_ work of art, not White’s, so it would be time-consuming to want to play it best OTB, although I still should have.  Their coach reads my blog from time to time, so I can’t give too much away here.

Chess Master Drops A Rook!

Bet that got your attention!  Okay, so it wasn’t my game.  Master Josh B. dropped a rook against Alexander, from Russia (who will perhaps make Expert now with this draw), and still managed to draw the game!  Josh was up two pawns, and should have won a third pawn, but instead decided to win an exchange, which actually hung a rook.  However, ChessMaster Josh B. rebounded and drew with king+rook+3 pawns against king+rook+bishop+2 pawns.

In my actual game against Scott, he hung a piece right from the git-go, and we both used less than half an hour on our clocks to finish the game.

Round 2

Actually, I’ll probably play Josh as Black this Thursday – projected pairings – so stay tuned.  ;-p  (btw, I’ve never seen him drop anything before last night).

This Week’s Games

Round 1 Tuesdays

In this game, …Kh8 was the blunder, but hard to see.  I have a couple other continuations to this game posted on my Facebook page.

Round 2 Thursdays

I started out slow, or rather my opponent fast, as I saw the Noah’s Ark Trap all along, but botched it twice anyway.  I wasn’t upset as I realized I was getting a large positional advantage in any case, but then Jesse gave me a third chance to put the game away when he played ….Bg4??

2016 Colorado Open

Round 1

In Round 1 tonight, I played Life Master Brian Wall.  I knew that my best chance was to avoid playing an ending on the increment against him, but that is exactly what happened.  I figured that the endgame was “drawn” (meaning +=, right?)  Well, it would have been a good time to adjourn the game, or have another time-control, but I was stuck at making a wild stab at what I should be doing.

I knew that the ending was slipping, and that I wasn’t playing it right, but how it ultimately went down I did not see coming.  This was one of those endings where, apparently you should be doing nothing maybe (moving around your kings or such)?  In any case, I felt I should have kept my king closer to his and not lashed out with my pawns, but it was predicable endgame collapse in acute time-pressure.  I had decided to go for activity that I could not calculate rather than trying to play passively.  Brian even suggested the idea that I could try to set up a pawn-fortress, which I had not considered.

In the post-mortem, I suggested that playing 44…g5?? instead of 44…Kd7 was the loser, and according to Stockfish, I was right.  I felt like it was losing even before I played it, but I felt I needed some kind of active chance instead of playing a possibly unneccesary defensive move.  I felt that …g5 was bad, but just couldn’t see that …Kd7 was so right.  Another place I might have blundered after that, playing with one under minute on my clock as I was later on in such a line.  There is a point where his king will will be on b5, after trading off all but one queenside pawn, as in the game, and the natural move for Black would appear to be to play …e4, but that is completely losing!  You have to play …f4 there instead, so that you can trade off the e-pawn for the f-pawn, and then your king is back in time to defend the g and h pawns, and it’s a draw – g/h pawns for both sides.

I was chatting with Pete on Facebook Thursday night, and I told him this is why you need a second time-control because in the endgame, you have to spend time to “find the ideas” in the position, and not just time to calculate.  You can be a fast-calculator and spend your time calculating the wrong thing if you don’t find the ideas in a position.  Calculating only stock ideas is not enough, you need to find the fresh ideas in your endgames.

There were a couple of Experts who suggested in the post-mortem that 46…a5 instead of 46….axb was winning for Black, as in “Yeah, how could you not see that that this winning?” sort of demeanor, but me and Brian Wall weren’t sold, and he eventually found the way to win.  I suggested that instead of looking at it in the game variation, that I would have only considered it (I saw  46…a5??, OTB), had I played 44…Kd7.  In that line, it is still a win for White, but it takes a tablebase close to 50 moves to demonstrate the win, and even the engine of Stockfish couldn’t solve it.

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5