Flagged

Round 4

Flagged in a winning position.  Once I get my queen back onto the g1-a7 diagonal, I can play Bxa5…RxB, Qb6 double-attacking Be6 and Ra5, but I was looking at prettier wins where I can mate by walking out of perpetual, but wasn’t sure OTB.

As soon as I had played 46.Qd1 he called my flag.  An expensive mistake as Pete won $52 and now has no business complaining about $10 entry fees for CSCC G/90, 30/Inc tournaments!  :-D

Bobbie Brown Memorial

I played in this tournament in Fountain, on Saturday, which is only a five-minute walk from my house.  The tournament is name after Dean Brown’s mother, Roberta “Bobbie” Brown – of course this seemed apropos for my father as well, on the Memorial Day weekend.  It’s a shame that I was so out of it and couldn’t concentrate hardly at all by the end of the last round, without having had a real lunch.

Round 2

23…Qd6??  23.Qg7? Also loses because after trades, the g and h pawns beat the passed e-pawn and White can stop it.  23…Qe7 Black is -+.

Round 3

Round 4

This game was financially significant as a draw would have been worth $25 and a win $100.  I kept eating one of the peanut-butter cookies at the back, but it would give me sugar-energy for a minute followed by that blank-thought feeling.

After 9.e5, I considered three moves,  …dxe, ….Nxe, and the cheeky …Ng4 which I chose.  My buddy Alexander Freeman liked ….d5, which I still don’t like.

11….Re8?? This is where I was fading physically, could hardly concentrate.  This move is bad for two reasons.  For one, I didn’t even “see” 12.Qb3, and for another, my 9….Ng4 move had essentially lost a tempo so that 11….BxNd2 had become a requirement here, to slow down White’s attack and also diminish it.

14…Nxd4?? My hunch told me this was bad, but being so out of it I played it anyway as I didn’t “see” anything (but wasn’t “seeing” much by this point).  14…Bg4 would have been far more purposeful, developing the bishop, connecting the rooks on the back-rank, and putting some pressure on the Nf3 attacking piece.

15…Nxf7.  In the  post-mortem, I found 15…Kh8, 16.NxN dxN (he would have played this much), 17.Qb5 winning a piece.

The game could continue 19…Kh7, 20.NxQ RxN, 21.Qxe Bb6, 22.Bb2 Rg8, 23.Rad1 Bh3, 24.Rfe1 Rae8, 25.Qh5 Be6, 26.RxBe6 RxR, 27.Qf5+ wins the Re6.

A One-Trick Pony

Round 3 Tuesday

In last Tuesday’s game, I felt that I got one trick in against Mark, since ….f5 is not a playable move in the KG as a rule and one is best advised to refute it immediately.  Curiously enough, I also trounced Mark in his post-mortem attempts to hold this opening before explaining to him that he should play solid to hold the extra-pawn with …Bg4, …Nbd7, …c6, ….Qc7, which is just something I made up on the spot that looks as sound as you are going to get against the King’s Gambit Accepted.  Incidentally, the game did continue on, but I lost the ability to follow the score-sheet, and we both played rather sloppily from here on along the increment.

Round 3 Wednesday

Since this game, Sarah’s rating has gone up to 1646 and mine has dropped to 1837.

Endgame Mistake

Round 2

11…Nc2?  11.Ndb5!

25.Qxa1?  25.Nxb1!? Bxc6, 26.bxB Qxc6, 27.Rc1 Qe6, 28.Bc4 is unclear.

25.c7!? NxNc2, 28.QxNc2 Rbc8, 29.BxRc8 RxRc8, 30.RxBd5 is another possibilty.

25…Bb3!

33.Bxc6??  I thought that I was equal after 33.Nxc6! Bc7 ( 33…Bxa4??, 34.Nxa7 Bc5, 35.BxB cxB, 36.c5 Bd5, 37.Nb5 is winning for White), but it seemed he had had answer for everything up to this point, so believed him in my time-pressure.  Objectively, it’s a draw with chances for both sides, but I strongly suspect that he would have played the blunder in a desire to be right.  Perhaps my biggest sin was playing this endgame on the increment, which explains the mistake.

No Defense

Round 2

I made the same type of mistake in this game as in my last loss against Aleksandr.  Once I sensed I was getting low on time, I played 22….h5? based on the looks of the position, and missed that he was getting 23.Nc3 in “a la tempo” or, as a free tempo.  So, I should have played 22…Rad8 first, and if he plays 23.Nc3, then I will not play ….h5.  It makes me think of the Monty Python skit “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquistition!”

24…Kh8 looks bad, but if 24…Bh6, he has 25.Bg5 Rf7, and he played 26.Bh4! post-mortem here, and won with Ng5+ trading knight for bishop, where it surprised me how devastating the bishop-pair was here when one would think this should be a “knight position”.  Quick note is that if I push …d5 at any point, he can give me four pawn islands and easily won post-mortem that way as well.  He can also play 26.a4 here, and if …Bf5, then he could play 27.Nc3 or simply 27.a5, and my pieces are all still jumbled up, where it will be difficult to defend against his rook pair as in the game.

30….Bh6??  Loses, but a slow loss appears as 30…Bf8 (which I did consider), but then that other rook is still getting to a6 and I will lose the pawn on c5 or d6 at some point, and then I have weak pawn islands on same rank.

This is how Paul A. wins his games, it’s very technical.  He says that I am great with time, but have terrible instincts when I don’t have enough time to spend on a move.  I will say that defense is more exhausting than attack.

Round 1 Games

Round 1 Tuesday

In this game, I avoided attacks and sacs early on, tried to get my “sea legs”, and could have probably played lots of improvements.  I also made quite a few mistakes.  However, once he got a good position and initiative, he didn’t quite know what to do with it, and I easily took advantage of that – even with only two minutes on my clock, didn’t matter with the increment.

Round 1 Wednesday

17…Rd3!  I played this move so that if 18.Qc1, then …Rae8, and White cannot place the Nb3-c1 to defend e2 because the queen would be on c1.  After 18.Qc2, there is a windmill tactic winning both White’s f3 and h3 pawns.

I believe the only Round 1 upset in either tournament was Will Wolf’s drawing of Anthea, but he is also very under-rated (nevertheless, I I had no trouble against him in a couple of skittles games, but he has a very mature feel for standard openings – his Latvian gambit appeared to be a terrible choice against me in skittles).

Round 5 Loss

Round 5

This game felt like a needless, disappointing loss.

10.Bg5?  I knew this was a bad move as soon as I saw it, but I let my guard down.  Incidentally, before this point, he had been doing “long thinks” such as 30+ minute move, and I was ten minutes ahead on the clock.  Finally, since we were sitting under this air-conditioning vent, I put on my jacket and tried to convince myself I could play that way (I play much better when it’s cold) because I was sort of “froze out” already at the board.  When he resumed moving, we played this moves quickly, I saw Bg5, then immediately thought …g6?, and I believe I did note the correct move, 10…gxf6, but didn’t play it because I missed the forthcoming tactic at this point.  I had this unusual conversation with myself trying to convince myself to think and not just move, but I guess I lost the argument and should have taken off my jacket on my move to focus better!  …g6 would have been correct (winning the f-pawn with my queen) had there not been this tactic.  When he played 11.Re1+ using not much time and making this move in this really fast, confident manner, which is how he makes his moves, I spent about 15 seconds before playing 11…Be6??, and then thought to myself as I was removing my hand from the piece “Why hadn’t I looked at 12.RxB?”, and then noticed his winning tactic as I finished pulling my hand away.  About five seconds later that rook on e6 disappeared and I instantly uttered “Sh*t! I was hoping you wouldn’t play that.”, rather disgusted with myself.  Then I took off my jacket to focus again but it was almost too late by this point, as I decided to play on.

20…Bb6?  It’s all over at this point.  I should have played 20…h5!, putting the question to his knight.

20.Qc1!  I was impressed with this move of his more than any other.  I expected 20.Qd2, but this move also stops me from playing 20…b5 (21.Qxc4).  Actually, it’s irrelevant because he’s just winning on the kingside now in any event, but I can appreciate his positional thoughtfullness here, as 20….b5 would at least be better than taking his pawn.

20….Nxd4??  The defensive task from a poor position had eaten away at my clock much more than it would have had I had a position with more legitimate chances.  BTW, 20…Bxd4 is obviously a much better move, however, winning this pawn is a bad idea except in the world of practical changes.  Some sort of maneuvering/waiting move here would be best, but it was really too late once I missed playing 20…h5, which I considered but didn’t appreciate all of the danger just then.

My Rating is up to 1844 now, and I split first place with Aleksandr, the Russian.

This game was bitter-sweet, as I had a good overall result, but felt out of it on Wednesday, probably because I hadn’t been tot he bar so long and was still recovering.   I was not psyched up at all for this game, and thought before the game and during the game that I could have a mental lapse, and that is exactly what took place.  I was not my normal self where I am paranoid and look for threats, nor really motivated, was in this lackluster mood after the opening instead.   I had considered playing Kasparov’s 5….Be7, but had told my buddies last week that I would play for a win as Black.  So, intellectually I may have still been motivated, but physically and spiritually lost my motivation after I felt some relief knowing I had survived the opening.  His manner of play, going from big thinks to an almost blitz-like series of moves, played confidently, also had an effect as I sort of glibly tried to play my moves back just as quickly, though without sufficient preparation behind them, as if it were a game on FICS.   I’ve had this throat infection today, so not sure if I was already coming down with a little bit of something during this game, but definitely was after another late night at the bar with Alex and Paul.  Magnus wins sick though!  hehe.