Round 1

My opponent in this game was provisionally rated at 826 after 9 games, but for example his rating was 586 after 5 games, and he said he is mid 1500’s online.  I was winning at times, but his strength was on defense and not giving me any of the easy wins I’ve become accustomed to at such ratings.  In fact, my desire to find the easy win and knowingly pass up on a winning endgame was just one of my follies.  He’s provisionally rated, so any result from this game shouldn’t affect my rating much, only his rating.

10…Nf8.  10…Ne4 could be immediately played here, and Black has equalized about as much as one could reasonably expect.

11…Bd7  I played the first ten moves on the increment, but here I spent 20 minutes gathering my thoughts on what I wanted to do with the position.  I found that it took me about half an hour actually to clear the cobwebs from the championship blitz tournament the night before – where I went 3/10.  Blitz does help me to make decisions faster, but it hurts my OTB thinking process drastically; how I think and visualize lines in my head, etc.

19…g5?!  White has drifted into this -+ position, but now I see a winning line, but decide to bypass the free pawn and clamp down for even more.  I saw that the simple 19…Re6, 20.Qg5 QxQ, 21.hxQ Rg6 (…Rh6, 22.Be2 – probably more accurate than 22.g3) would win a pawn, but I decided to be a little brash and arrogant here and hunt for more.

20…Bxg3.  Impatience, miscalculation, defiance.  Unless there is a better defense, 20…Qh6, 21.Kh2 g4, 22.h4 Qxh4+ should be a simple win for Black.

20.Re2!  If 20…Bg4, 21.Qe1! relieves quite a bit of tension for White.

25…f5?  My “arrogant” plan was in case I only got three pawns for the piece to create a “pawn-wave” as is Master Brian Wall’s famous moniker, and here I was caught busy with both how to implement this plan and moving too quickly on the clock to see that Black has a simple -+ position after 25…Bc4 followed by 26…Be6 winning the exchange.  But now, in the game, I spot this too late, as ….f5 gave White this checking resource to get out of it.

29…Rf8?  29…Qg6 looks much more accurate, but White just as surprisingly backs off from an attack with 31.Qh5-d1.

32…h5.  Here I was goading White to sac the exchange on c4, as I did not want to get into a passive position on the queenside after 32…Be6.

34.Qe2.  I was quite worried that White would play 34.Qc2 and take on c4 with the bishop instead, so was relieved to see this idea of taking with the queen, OTB.

36….QxQ.  I considered playing 36…Qd5, but was worried about what might happen, with potentially surrendering an attack to Black.  Expert Paul A. liked 36…Qd5 and if 37.Qa6 with idea of 38.Bc4, Black can back off with …Qd7, but this looks like opening a Pandora’s Box to me, which I was not keen on doing against such a lower-rated player.

42.Kh2!  I was so confident of victory here that I had squandered precious minutes for no reason, as if to gloat over what I expected to happen next.  After he defended his position so nicely, I didn’t have the clock as a resource to try all over again either.

I proposed a draw as I did not see the point in venturing on without a second time-control, and he had practically demonstrated already that he was playing for a draw on his part.  Also, I was down to 1:59 at games end to his 13 minutes, and his resolved to defend, body language, seemed very strong to me OTB.  He’s not a kid, he’s in the Air Force.

Observers thought that I could play on with 53…a5, but I spent a good hour and a half with Paul A going over this ending, and it swung back and forth over the course of different tries win-lose-draw.  In one line, White was simply up the bishop pair and yet losing to the king and pawn ending.  In another try/line, the White rook got stuck on a8 with a pawn on a7 and the bishop and b8 protecting it, which was an easy win for White.  We went back and forth over this, and Paul is excellent with king positioning, knowing when and where to position his king, and usually looks to make a king move first.  There were all kinds of crazy results and resources which we found in this type of a “shootout”, but you are taking on a lot of liability to play on in this sort of position, and unfortunately Paul’s skill seemed to favor Black and my skills seemed to favor White, unlike in the game.

The only strange occurance which happened in this game is when he played 13.a3, and then I didn’t notice it for maybe five or eight minutes, was rather zoned out still from the night before.  Also, I work weekdays now until early to mid August.  I asked him if it was my move, he said nothing, then I said I thought it was his moved and he responded that he was surprised to hear that, so I hit his clock, but then he showed me a3 after I asked him for his last move, and then I hit the clock again.  I was feeling sort of out of it, and Shirley the TD happened to be watching all of this, so this is the explanation of what happened, but my opponent was okay with it in any event.

I didn’t have any caffeine right before nor during the game, so that I could go home and go to sleep afterwards, but that didn’t happen of course, once I was invited to the bar.  Alex left the bar early in order to go straight home and go to bed, said he was feeling tired, and I have not heard from him since.  :-(

Dropped My Queen

I am not going to show the game-score this time, but rather the final post-game analysis of this line.  Daniel found a lot of it, I found some of it, and Alex F. found the finish.

Round 4

In the actual game, I played 24…QxNe5?? and resigned.

This is one of my worst blunders ever, and most likely is the worse blunder I’ve ever played OTB.  I hadn’t eaten much that day, and when Daniel moved his hand to play the move, I didn’t even see it until he took my queen.  I looked up and began to offer my hand before looking at the position for a few more seconds.  The moment he took my queen, I felt like I could pass out, as I got very light-headed when trying to look at his side of the board.  I still had my belt on way too tight, but sometimes that sort of thing can happen anyway, lack of blood to the head in a complicated situation, albeit with over five minutes still remaining on my clock in this situation.

OTB, I was looking at 24…Rd7, but got caught looking at only my side of the board.  It’s a losing position in any event.

15…h5?  I should play 15….Nd7 on either this move or the next move with the idea of …f5 in mind.

16…cxb4??  16…Nd7.

On Tuesday, I played in a blitz event 5 min, no delay, and went 5/9.  After that, I played around 20 games of bughouse, which I’d say is not so good for regular chess on account of I hardly need a plan in bughouse, whereas in a live regular game one needs to think in terms of plans and not moves.  Perhaps bughouse is just easy plans and you tend to do whatever, but I felt it made me think less about plans in the regular-rated OTB game above.

The Long Draw

Round 3

Dean has never beaten me, so that a draw as Black is the next highest achievement.

The endgame was rather interesting.  Instead of trading queens, I should have been looking to get in the move Rb1, even at the cost of the d4 pawn, something I didn’t know during the game, due to the strength of that passer and even what it can do before it finally promotes.

I thought that I missed a win as I was playing 32.dxBe5 as it struck me during the move that I should be playing 32.Nxe6, although even there, 32….Rb4 is probably holding the draw.

Later I seem to be missing the win by a single tempo, for Paul A. showed that if I could have gotten in g4, keeping his Kf5 from happening, it would be a structural win, but all I can see now is that I was a single tempo short with my king in all of these lines.

This game was a well deserved draw for Dean, and it’s apparent that I am more comfortable as an e4 player with king-hunts than a-pawn conversions.  22.Be2, rather than 22.a4 first, was likely more accurate, as well as perhaps taking on a6 with the knight – I was worried that opposite-colored bishops draw, but it’s possibly way too early to determine that here.

This Week’s Calamity

Okay, so the real bad luck this week started when I was finishing my five-mile weekly jog, and just before I made it home, I kicked this one sidewalk slab, which is raised an inch higher than the other slab of sidewalk, and threw out my right achilles tendon.  There was a loud “pop”, and I felt my achilles give out completely, but there was no sudden pain.  The good news is that only sprained it, but I didn’t know this at the time, and it has been swoll up the past few days.  Actually, I skipped two days of work because of it. although I am feeling much more fine now compared to the past couple days.

Anyway, right after this happened I left to play rounds 3 and 4 four, the final ones, on Tuesday.

Round 3

The very end of this isn’t exact, since she didn’t box out my king this much, but it’s just as decisive for illustration purposes.  Honestly, I had the feeling that once the queens come off that my odds of winning would be quite high, and based on what happened in that equal-ish ending, you can probably see what I am getting at (for whomever is reading this note).

Round 4

This game, I lost the scoresheet, and so recreated it here.  The positions are right, but perhaps a move order is off, such as when …a6, a4 was played.  It’s an abysmal game as White, but it was played within ten minutes of finishing my Round 3 game, and I was completely exhausted.  This is one of the drawbacks of G/30, having another G/30 immediately after, and in chess fatigue terms, ten minutes is the next closest thing to immediate.  The other thing that I find a bit distasteful is that we have two rounds in two hours, and then hang around gabbing together for the next four hours, when we could have spent some of that time on actually playing our games.

Chess Fail, Part II

This was the first two rounds of a four round tournament over two weeks, G/30, d/10.  For a game that lasts only an hour, I’m not going to spend time annotating the game, since I’ve already spent far more time going over the game than I actually did playing it.

Round 1

Round 2

27…Nf6?  27…e4 wins.  I was worried about ghost threats on g6 after a future Nh4 or h4-h5.

31…Nf6-d7?  31…f4 wins, as Alex pointed out after the game, but I never saw it in time-pressure.

33…RxNf5  Needless complication.  I should be more comfortable defending for the win, even in time-trouble, down a pawn for a piece.

34…RxRf5  Again, 34…Qg5 is easily winning, as Master Josh Bloomer pointed out immediately when he saw the position, as g4 would then come in with a counter-pin against her own king, and a future Kg1 breaking the pin could be met by …Qg6 breaking the pin for Black – Touche!

Shirley offered a draw with 34 seconds on my clock.  I didn’t want to lose on time, and felt that after 36…Qe5, 36.QxRf5+ (she was thinking of keeping up the pin with Qc2, which I immediately told her would have been good for Black) QxQ, 37.gxQf5 appeared to be a fortress type of draw.  Master Josh took one look at the position, saying Black should be winning, and played 37…Ne5, followed by 38….Nxc4, 39.bxNc4 b3 winning, and won against any attempt I made to rebuff this, at lightening speed.

Chess Fail, Part I

The only thing beautiful about this game was the score.  lol.

Round 2

We both played very well in parts, and horribly in other parts, but neither of us got the job done, and he definitely should have won.
12…Ne8?  I wanted to play 12…Nh4, which Expert Paul Anderson also found after the game, except that he easily came up with the analysis for it of 13.Nxe5? Qxe5, 14.d4 Nxd4, 15.cxNd4 Bxd4, and Black is a pawn on top -+.

20…Qf6??  Here I got tired and finally decided to move first and analyze later, resulting in this hideous blunder.  Paul says my instincts are bad, and this game is proof of that – I need time and energy to negate my poor instincts or feelings.

21.Rad1.  I was relieved to see him play this move, which is still strong, and not the more immediately crushing 21.e5!?, but 21.d5! is even more crushing because it simply wins a piece, as Paul pointed out.  Instead, 20…d5, 21. e5 g5! looks far more interesting a setup for Black.  Alas, every time he gave me a chance, I found a way to fall on my sword.

21…Ng5?!  Black’s position is desperate, 21…d5 may have been the better try here.  Now, after 22.e5 Qg6 it is a little unclear, but 22.d5 BxBe3, 23.RxBe3 Rfe8, 24.f3 is a clear advantage for White.

29…Re8?  I couldn’t get anything right in this game when I had the chance to capitalize on a position/”turn-over”.  I was looking at 29…Qf5! but didn’t play it, and it wouldn’t be the last time in this game that I did such a thing.

42…f6?  Up to this point, I’ve easily outplayed him in the endgame, but here I falter badly.  I was concerned for the last few moves that he could force a rook trade on the d-file, and that it may wind up to be a losing ending for Black, although here after 43.Kd5 Rd8 it doesn’t work because I will end up taking on f6.

43…fxe4??  I spent a couple minutes looking at 43…Kxe4!!, but then decided against it and played 43..fxe4 with no analysis.  After the game, Paul A. found forced wins with 43….Kxe4, 44.Bf4 (or Bf2 or Bg1) Rc3, appearing to win the c5 pawn, but instead Black will play 45…Rc2+, crushing White’s king position, and leaving the c5 pawn alone for far more decisive goals.

44.Rd1! Instantly played, and I knew within seconds that it would be winning.  Still, so why don’t I play 44…Bxc! and at least try to get something positive going on after 45.RxR exR, 46.Kxe Bd6

After this, the position was a joke win for him, and I almost resigned instead of getting another scoresheet, but succeeded in wearing him down in all of his quick moves, before he could take a break.  Right after he played the stalemating move quickly, he reached for his coke/drink, but took his sip/break too late as I called stalemate as soon as he started his sip.


Round 1

I got there late on Wednesday, and wasn’t paired, but Shirley gave up her spot for me so that I would have an opponent, and I played Peter again, who I have this losing record against, but we are pretty evenly matched, IMHO.

I was just under 14 minutes and Peter just under 10 when he accepted my draw that I had proposed after the queen trade.  Expert Paul Anderson had no problem winning Peter’s position for him, in the post-mortem, but Paul is more an endgame Master.