Happiness in Bullet

….is flagging your opponent, and having the mate in 3 at the same time.

Okay, so bullet isn’t so realistic, and I played my first few games dropping pieces silly, but it’s nice to get that win in.

Chess is “off the chain” this month.  For once there will be a month where there is a chess tournament every day of the week, Monday through Friday, and the chess festival on 5-6 of September in Denver.  You could literally play in chess tournaments for 12 days straight!

A Cute Little Blitz Game

…on FICS.

I’ve stopped trying to not lose on time while playing blitz, not worried about rating there so much.

In this game, I intentionally sacked that pawn because it looked interesting.  The finish would have been 23.Qd1 QxQ, 24.KxQ Nxb4.

At the moment, my new schedule that starts on Tuesday is 3:30pm – midnight, real bummer since I don’t want to lose out on my chess nights going forward, particularly Tuesday’s (which still doesn’t seem to be too much to ask by me, but apparently is).

A 600 Point Advantage, Plus the White Pieces

….makes for a quick game, most of the time.

After losing in Round 1, and taking a bye in Round 2, here is the Round 3 game.

I made an opening mistake by not playing 4.d4 instead of 4.Nf3, but still finished with 52 minutes remaining on my clock.

Imre, rated 1921, “accidentally” lost to this kid the week before, was up three pawns yet apparently missed a mate-in-one against him, which the kid played.  Of course, that’s the danger of not winning quickly in the middlegame, and letting your opponent hang around.

Missed Win

Round 1

I played this game against Expert Paul A. who was looking to get 2100 and cement in a new 1900 floor for himself.  Hopefully, Paul doesn’t squander it now by playing some dual-rated Action game like he did last time.

8…Bd4?  This move loses, but I didn’t bother to refute it OTB; my positional problems are now solved in any event.  8…Na6 was really nice for him, then I play 9.0-0 anyway.

24.b5?!  Alex likes 24.BxNh5! here, and after …NxBh5, 25.Bd4 or Be3, you can even afford to let Black’s queen chase the king to f1 and win the h2 pawn, since Black’s extra pawn in the center is only a hindrance and White’s a-pawn will surely promote at some point.

25.f3?  A Blunder.  25.Be3 is still on track for the win.

34.fxg.  34.Ba6 is refuted by …bxB and then …Nd7.

48…Nb4??  49.Bb6 wins easily, and I had seen this idea in other lines, but not now, demoralized in time-pressure and seeing that he would pick up that c6 pawn with this knight, I decided to play on and not try to flag rather than to look for the best move in each position, so it cost me here, and I was almost certainly under a minute when I made this move.

52.Kg2?  A weakness of mine, not recognizing a “fast pawn”. White is losing after this.  Paul pointed out after the game that this simply gave him too much space.  Indeed, it forced me to push my f-pawn later as his knight got close enough in the center to hit it from d4.

Pikes Peak Open 2015

Round 1

My opponent said he was rated around 1265 (the USCF server seems to go down after midnight).

Round 2

The first two rounds were G/90, so I whizzed through part of this game too quickly.  I knew that he was going to answer 9.g4? with …Qa5 after I had made my move, and I should have played 9.Kb1.  My Be2 move was lame as well, since as you can see his ‘bolt from the blue’ would not have worked had I initially moved it to d3 (Bd3).

I also regretted not playing 6.g4 instead of 6.Qd2.

I knew that 13.BxNa6 was winning his pawn before he even walked down this road, but decided to try to control the game, never suspecting his bishop was developing to g4 with sac!

I blundered at the end, but he said that even after 26.Nxf7, he would have the same response in 26…RxBe3+!, and I don’t believe that 26.Qh3 was going anywhere, so simply lost.  When I took his bishop, I did see his Nxe4-c3+, but missed that he was forking my rook.  How lazy!  He probably would have won with that pawn, anyway.

Round 3

If you thought that this was the strangest game ever, and that his accepting my draw offer was strange (he spent around 20 minutes on it), what was stranger is that we played it out in the post-mortem all the way down to my knight vs his two pawns and I drew it.  Craziest post-mortem draw I’ve ever seen!  Mutual king-hunt where I kept offering a piece to force a draw.

I didn’t learn his rating until I got home.  If I had realized my opponent was so much lower-rated, I would have played it more conservatively and given him a chance to go wrong on the attack.

Actually, I missed this OTB, but it seems winning for Black after 31.Ke2 Qg2+, 32.Rf2 Qg4+, 33.Nf3 NxN, 34.RxN Nxe5, 35.Qf1 g5, 36.Qh3 QxR, 37.QxQ NxQ, 38.KxN g4 – saw that the queen is covering d4 while going over the game at home.  The passed pawn duo can’t be chased, and the Black king can walk in to gobble the pawns which are on light-squares.

Round 4

Round 5

38.f3?!  Here, I got nervous and began playing all of my bad moves at a very rapid pace, often instantly after his move, as was the case here.  38.Ke4 wins quickly, as all of the light entry squares are covered by the knight.  For instance, 38.Ke4 Kc6, 39.Kf5 Bb6, 40.Kg6 Bf8, 41.Kf7 and the f6 pawn falls.

39.Kc4  39.Ke4 is more straight-forward, as the knight is already covering b4, and after say …Kd6, 40.Ba5 the bishop is getting in easily, and his bishop has no targets even if a pawn were to be sacked to facilitate its escape.

41.fxe4?  41.Nf5+ Ke5??, 42.Bc7+ wins, and after 41…Ke6, 42.fxe Ke5, 43.Ke3, the g3 approach square is covered by the Nf5, so 43…c4+, 44.Kd4 Kf3, 45.Bd8 c3, 46.Kxc3 Kxe4, 47.Bxf6 Kf3, 48.Bg7 BxB, 49.NxB Kg3, 50.Nf5+ Kxh3, 51.Nxh6 and Black’s king cannot approach White’s knight via the h4 square, since that is a dead-end, so …Kg3, 52.Kxc5 Kf4, 53.Kd6, and White’s king is cutting of Black’s king just in time to secure the win!

51.Bb7?  After playing this move instantly, I was immediately upset at myself for not playing 51.Bb7 Bb4, but this leads to a bishop and knight winning ending, which is still not likely to win if one does not have the technique down cold.  A better try for a more outright win would be 51.Be5 , as these Black pawns can be clipped off if he doesn’t trade bishops, and if he does trade then the White e6 pawn is the fast one.

July Final Round Games

Tuesday Final Round

Wednesday Final Round

From 1793 to 1820, then back to 1788 all in the same month is a real disappointment.  Even though I shouldn’t be playing for rating points, it shows how performance based that my rating is.

First game of the week, I play well.  Second game of the week (the next day), I meander, miss simple winning shots, make simple game-losing blunders, clearly not the same player.  On Sunday through Wednesday nights, I got only a few hours of sleep for each of those nights, and by Wednesday it clearly shows.

On Wednesday, I stayed an extra hour for the shift bid and got a terrible shift.  Swing Shift 3:30 pm – Midnight with Sunday and Mondays off.  So I will have one more week of days, then two weeks of some other mid-day transition shift for two weeks, and then will go to that permanent swing-shift above which will last for 6-8 months (but in reality usually lasts over a year).

Next month, there won’t be a first round on Wednesdays, and I may only be able to play in the first round on Tuesdays, and then that’s it, rather depressing.   The good news is that I will be playing the Pikes Peak Open this weekend, a five-rounder with first two games at G/90, d/5, and then G/90 Increment 30 after that.  Don’t know what I am going to do about my job, might quit it – I had a gnawing in my stomach this morning at work just thinking about it.  Besides missing chess, I don’t like the third shift, and didn’t even get an easy supervisor, just the worst shift, done it before and the new position is what I was doing before, just on the contract side versus prepay phone service, so the responsibilities would be even greater for same pay.

On the physical side, I am impressed that I focus as well as I do during my chess games, as I have not jogged since my achilles heel popped six weeks ago.  Last Sunday I wrenched my knee on same leg and it has popped out of place many times since then.  Knee will probably be fine in another week or two.  I might be able to jog in another two weeks, but it’s going to be up to my achilles heel, will see how that goes; It’s been healing slowly and well, but it’s an injury with a slow recovery time, usually 4 to 12 months for people who break theirs – mine is okay, it just feels sprained, tight.

As for the games, on move twenty-nine of Wednesday’s game, everyone but me saw that I had 29…Ne2+ winning the exchange.  Funny thing is that I was going to play it and then said to myself “Can’t he just take it, what was I thinking?”, and then analyzed other stuff, and then finally moved my queen just to support the …Ne2+ move, which then of course never happened.  I need to study tactics again, and get more sleep, and manage my time better, but it’s mostly a case of the first two.

Blunders From Equal Positions

Round 3 Tuesday

Time-pressure blunder.  He was down to 1 second on his clock at one point.

Round 4 Wednesday

10.Bxd6.  A better move to keep the tension was 10.Nc3-e2 – thought of this after the game.

23.Rxe3.  23.fxe3 seemed more accurate, but I was in time-pressure here and couldn’t make a good decision.

24…e5?!  There was no hurry to make this move, as he could sit on this position with 24…Kf8, for example.

25…e4.  Probably not a wise decision.  Again, 25…Kf8 is reasonable here.

26…g5.  I could win a pawn now, and saw this relatively quickly analyzing this part of the game for the first time afterward, just now as I plugged in the game-score.  I always like to make the ironic comment “The strongest move is the one that goes unrefuted”, and this is a great example of that as in the coming endgame this is the perfect square for that pawn.

27.b4?  Just a quick move (in time-pressure, sickeningly enough).  27.dxc bxc, 28.RxR RxR, 29.RxR NxR, 30.Bxe4 is winning.  If 27…RxR??, 28.RxR RxR, 29.c7! wins.  I saw this effortlessly now, but was super-nervous OTB due to my standing on the clock, which I used horribly in this game, but still had enough time to find this move, certainly.

29.d6? White should have fair winning chances with 24.Rd4 Rxd5, 25.RxR RxR, 26.RxR NxR, 27.Bxe4 Nf4, 28.Bxb7 Nxh3+, 29.Kf1.

31.Bxe4.  My intuition told me that 31.Rxe4 was correct, but I didn’t know why.  As it turns out, I needed to keep a pair of rooks on the board and should be fine, but after I made my move I figured out what I was in for.

33.Rd5?  Ridiculous.  I already knew that it was desirable, if not necessary to keep a pair of rooks on the board.  With that in mind, simply playing 33.Rc1! fits the bill.

After this, I knew I was lost and offered draws, and then he finally offered me a draw in the final position.  It’s strange because in the post-mortem, I let him win both my a and b-pawns, but won comfortably taking his g and f pawns.  However, there are two reasons for this:  1.He played it feebly, and 2.When I played f4, he took on f4, but if he doesn’t take on f4, then I have to play fxg5, followed by h4, and am simply lost, since he did manage to sac his knight for one of the pawns in the post-mortem.  I almost want to say that there are three types of lies:  1.Lies, 2.Damned lies, and 3.Post-mortems.  ;-)