This week and the next, our club is having a six round quick-chess tournament. Here are the first three rounds:
I set my clock wrong for the first two rounds, I set it to G/25, d/5, it was supposed to be G/24, increment 5. I set it correctly for round 3.
I only spent 10 minutes on this game, but for example, I played 2.Nb8-d6, then put it on c6 without releasing my hand. This was foreshadowing, as at age 50, it serves me better now if I go for a jog on the day before or the day of. My mental endurance without fitness isn’t as good now, but the positive of that is that if I do work out, my mind seems as sharp as ever, if not sharper than ever.
I was up a rook for two pawns, and I think I even saw putting my rook on the a-file and winning another pawn, but I had around 4 min. 56 seconds, and suddenly had this blah feeling, like with the clock and my energy level, I still may only draw this, which is what happened.
I had a major hallucination in this game, and AFAIK this has never happened to me before to such an extreme extent. For example, I never do this in online blitz, but OTB at quicker time-controls, it’s like I’m trying to bend time with my mind to compress the game within the time limits. If I played quick-chess like three days a week, man it would be such second nature that it would be essentially a real game for me.
10…Nc4. I didn’t play 10…d6 because 11.a4 appears to win a pawn, but actually now I think 10….d6, 11.a4 c6 doesn’t drop a pawn 12.dxc6 and now either knight can capture on c6. Even now I can see that if I played quick-chess OTB a lot, my speed of calculating would improve and become stronger and my regular rating would shoot up as a result. Somehow, online chess doesn’t have this same effect on me, possibly because I don’t feel as accountable when I am playing online chess.
Okay, so brace yourself because here goes my hallucination now. 11…d6 Naturally, I would have played 11…Nb6 except that I hallucinated that my bishop was on f5! Never mind that exBf5 would be the result of that. So, I sacked my c-pawn intentionally, with the game move, calculating 12.Qe2 Bb7 (yes, that bishop is on b7 for real, and also on f5 in my mind!),13.Qxc4 Nxd5, 14.exNd5 BxBc2. Three games in such a short space of time, it’s almost like the fighter who is knocked-out on his feet (you can see it in their eyes), but still fighting anyway.
So, when Mark played 14.Nd2 I noticed that I had hallucinated that my bishop was also on f5, and my first reaction was “I wonder what (mutual) hallucination that he was suffering under, as he could have simply taken on c4 with his queen.” I never asked him about this move though, we only considered the late middlegame and endgame.
After 14.Nd2, I played …f5, as he can no longer go Nf3-g5-e6, but even looking at this position for a moment, I want to now play …c6 here, which is the better move.
18…gxf5. Here, I had 18…d5!, as Houdini pointed out, defending the c4 pawn, and advancing in the center, sacking my f5-pawn, essentially, instead of my c4 pawn. This also opens the f-file for Black, which I would have been delighted to see in the game!
19.Qxc4 I was happy that he took on c4 with the queen, which was a mistake, but apparently I wasn’t supposed to trade queens either, but I can see the real reason why for that is that it develops his knight, which became the huge SNAFU for me in the game.
26.Nb7 This move escaped my attention entirely, so I had a long think here. Incidentally, my last move 26…Rad8 was a blunder, and I should have defended d5 with …Ng6-e7, but missed this possibility entirely. Naturally, I was a tempo short of being able to play …Be6-f7.
28.Nd7 I was happy to see this as I sort of “tricked” him into not taking on d5 and being two pawns up, which he said after the game he should have done.
Mark called my flag to end the game. Apparently, I had flagged a move or two prior, so I know what happened. I looked at the clock and punched it, and I was happy that I had done it in time, but apparently a split second after I turned my head, still thinking it said 1 second, it must have ticked down to zero, as if it had taken an extra few milliseconds for my clock punch to register.
The way my quick-chess games went, in the result-sense, was kind of silly. I would have won round 2 in a much-slower time format (but I also realized that he had made silly blunders as well, such as …Bxa4 when …Bb3 and he was better, and then he missed my Ba3 skewer), and round 3 would have went on much longer as well. However, it bears repeating that I could build on this, if I played this quickly regularly, however I would also need to be in fine physical shape, more like an athlete as chess-players like to call themselves nowadays and I can finally begin to see why. Timur has run an ultra-marathon, and Nakamura is going to run a marathon soon (26.2 miles) – he says his brother and mother run half-marathons. These guys really are athletes, after all!