Interesting Mistakes

Round 3

So after having not played a rated game in weeks, I wondered how my form would be.  We played quickly initially, but then I really didn’t keep up with the demands of the clock.  I felt that for Dean, instead of spending too much time, he would make moves like a3, h3, Kh2, these moves that are relatively safe and don’t really disturb much of anything – he also played centralizing rook moves.  I, on the other hand, didn’t make any artificial moves until I got into time-pressure, and then it’s obvious because I kept moving my queen back and forth between b4 and e7.

16.BxBb6  So far, Dean had been knocking out all the moves of a theoretical line better than I had seen him do before.  Here, though, he lets me equalize.

17…g6  My longest think of the game.  Of course, I saw the computer recommendation of 17…Bf5 (which is what I wanted to play), but after 18.Nd4 Qd7, 19.NxB QxB, 20.Qe2 when it is White ready to assault, in this even material position, with g4, f5.  I also, for example, looked at 17…Bf5, 18.Nd4 Be4, 19.Nxc6 Qc5+, 20.Nc4 Bxc2, 21.Rc1!   I eventually played …g6 in order to keep the bishop vs knight imbalance alive, and to stop f5.

20…Bf5  This move is probably not the most accurate one.  I considered 20…Bg4, 21.Rg3 Bf5 (which wins a tempo, if White merely plays his rook back to f3), although was afraid of a future Rg5, but this can be countered by an …f6 break.  With the rook on g3, it would also block White’s queen from getting to h4.  If I could simply up my risk-tolerance in a game a bit, this might turn out well for Black.  Also, the rook on g3 prevents White from playing g4, which is another thing I had considered.  In passing, it’s worth noting that c3 does weaken more light-squares, as I was expecting White to do.

22…h5  This move may look fairly automatic, but Stockfish shows that there is a solid draw in the position after 22…Be4, 23.Re3 (23.Rg3 is met by the same move) f6! (the Be4 shields this pawn-break), 24.exf6 Qxf, 25.Nd2 Qxf, 26.NxB exN, 27.Qc2, White will win back the e4 pawn, and it looks like there will be nothing left to really play for.

26….d4?  I wanted to play 26…Qe6 here, which is the engine suggestion, but didn’t notice until right now that I can follow it up with …Qe6-c6-xa4 which was my goal, to get him to play a4 and then win that pawn, but I didn’t see how OTB.  I only saw that after …Qe6, …d4, cxd that his Rf3 would be defending his Nb3, so that …d4 would merely drop a pawn.  In the game, it’s not easy to the ….Rf3-a3 move from the point of the pawn sac.  I was under 9 minutes, and said heck with it I got to do something, and so played it without seeing all the details.

27…c4??  This move is losing.  If Black could see danger headed his way, and that the pawn on a4 cannot be captured, then 27…Be6! would have saved the draw.  The bishop would be threatening to trade on b3, and then win the d4 pawn back, thus 28.dxc5 RxR, 29.NxR bxc, 30.Ne4 Bd5 (else Nd6), 31.Rd3 BxN, 32.RxB Rb8, 33.Rc4 Rb4, and here White can play either 34.Qxc5 QxQ, 35.RxQ to enter a rook endgame with an extra e5 pawn, or play 34.RxR and enter a queen endgame with the extra e5 pawn.  In both cases, the position should be drawable for Black with best play, although certainly not desirable without a second time-control, or some honed endgame technique, or both!

28…Qb4??  This move is losing, due to the simple fact that 29.Na2! Qxa4, 30.Nc3 ready to push d5 is too fast.  Technically, Black is losing anyway, so the “correct” defense could take a long time to discover still.

29…Qe7  This is a dumb move, per se, according to the engine, but I was still trying to figure out how to deal with his queen, passed-pawn, and pawn-wave now.  I figured that Nc1-a2-c3 was coming.  I totally missed the point of 29…c3 OTB, which I had noticed from the engine, but now can see why.  After 29…c3, 30.Rxc3 (bxc3?? QxRa3) Qxa4 my chances should be much better than in the game – or no, 30…Rxd4 first, to stop his d-pawn.

32…Qb4?  The best practical try in this position appears to be 32…f6.

33…Qe7?  This is dumb because an f6 push would fork king and queen.  I was looking to defend.  I should have played 33…Rd5, which I was looking at, but then saw 34.f5? appeared to be making progress, but just now I noticed that Black would then have 34…Rxe5!  Actually, 33…Rd5 is just losing for Black because after 34.f5 Rxe5, 35.Nf4 White just lets that pawn go and is playing for a mating attack.

34.g4?  The move I was worried about here was 34.f4, which I thought was an obvious move, and then I wasn’t planning on taking it because then h5 would fall.  34.f4 Qb4 (which is probably what I would have played), and now I notice that it also discourages 34.Nf4 because of 34…Rxd4.  After this, my play was all instinctual.

38.Qe3  The rook trade was not ideal for White, and 38.Qf3 would be more accurate here.  White is lazily falling in with Black’s plans, while moving quickly in Black’s time-pressure.

39.f5??  I was happy to see this, as I felt that Black’s attack would either draw or win first.  The problem, to my mind, with this g4-f5-f6 plan is that it is simply not consequential enough.  If chess plans could exist in a vacuum, and still work, then this would have been a good plan for White.  I mean, I saw this …Qe1 pin coming up when I played …Qb4, just had to wait to execute it.  And here, actually, 39.Kg2 is still equal.

40.Kg2??  White is lost.  After 40.Kg3 Qe1+, 41.Kf4 Rh2, 42.Ng3 Rf2+ it’s apparently a win for Black, but the computer struggled at first, and thought it was a draw the first time through.

42.Qf2.  The position is dead-lost for White, since on 42.Qd3 or Qc3, I have 42…Qh1+, 43…Rh2+, followed by 44…Rh3+ winning his queen for rook at the least, which I immediately showed Dean that I would have played, after he resigned.

A tough battle, and an interesting game.  The most shocking thing for me, though, was how I just hadn’t gotten it done during the game, at this G/90, 30 sec inc time-control, and had to rely on his blundering into a mating-net, which isn’t one of those things one counts on when playing from behind, that’s for sure.  All of those subtle things that I had been playing for, I simply didn’t have time and zest to put away OTB when I had the chance to, but tactics came in to save the day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Event “September Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.90.19”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Dean Brown”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1872”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1426”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. e5 d5 6. Bb5 Ne4 7. Nxd4 Bd7 8.
Bxc6 bxc6 9. O-O Bc5 10. Be3 O-O 11. f3 Ng5 12. f4 Ne4 13. Nd2 Nxd2 14. Qxd2
Qe7 15. Nb3 Bb6 16. Bxb6 cxb6 17. Rae1 g6 18. a3 Rad8 19. Rf3 c5 20. Qf2 Bf5
21. c3 Rd7 22. h3 h5 23. Kh2 Rfd8 24. Rd1 Kg7 25. Rd2 a5 26. a4 d4 27. cxd4 c4
28. Nc1 Qb4 29. Ra3 Qe7 30. Ne2 Bd3 31. Raxd3 cxd3 32. Rxd3 Qb4 33. b3 Qe7 34.
g4 hxg4 35. hxg4 Rh8+ 36. Rh3 Rxh3+ 37. Kxh3 Qb4 38. Qe3 Rd8 39. f5 Rh8+ 40.
Kg2 Qe1 41. f6+ Kg8 42. Qf2 Rh2+ 0-1

 

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Believing is not seeing

Final round, August Swiss

My opponent was an unrated young man, for who this was his first tournament.  He had beaten Sam B. (1830 rated) convincingly in the previous round, and had solved a tactics puzzle on the wall from last week that I was not able to solve, so I knew I had my work cut out for me.

In the opening, my inexperienced opponent didn’t have a line for the C3 Sicilian, he said after the game, so that he stumbled into an Advanced French variation.

19.Bf5!  I had forgotten that I could play 12.Rxe6 here.  In fact, I had calculated that this move was winning, but when I got back from the restroom, suddenly the look of the future reply 19…Ne5 set me aback for a minute.  Of course, I had seen this line blindfold-style 19.Bf5 Ne5, 20.Bxe6+ Rd7, 21.Qxb7 mate!  But for instance, when you let go your train of thought and come back to the board, suddenly 19….Ne5 just _looks_ like a scary reply.  Luckily, I stayed the course and played the line that would happen in the future rather than the look of the move in the present.  It’s easy to get a little nervous when you feel like you’ve seen the win.

21.Qb3, just after I moved, I saw that the queen trade with 21.Qb4 was stronger, but in this case the game ended faster with queens still on the board.

[Event “August Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.08.28”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Justin Parker”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1600”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1869”]

1. e4 c5 2. c3 Nc6 3. d4 e6 4. Nf3 d5 5. e5 cxd4 6. cxd4 Bd7 7. Nc3 Bb4 8. Bd3
f5 9. exf6 gxf6 10. O-O Qe7 11. Re1 Bxc3 12. bxc3 O-O-O 13. Bf4 h5 14. a4 Nh6
15. Qb3 Nf7 16. Rab1 Na5 17. Qxd5 Nc6 18. Qb5 Be8 19. Bf5 Nce5 20. Bxe6+ Kb8
21. Qb3 Ka8 22. dxe5 Rg8 23. exf6 Bxa4 24. fxe7 1-0

The price of a single move

Round 3

I spent 40 minutes on 13…Be7, and after 14.Qxd4?, the position was winning for Black.  It took me a while to figure out that Black wants White to take the d-pawn.  Although Mike took the d4 pawn so that he could play his goal of Nc3 (engine likes Nd2), and it certainly opened another half-file against the Black king as well, it still turned out to be more in favor of the Black pieces to have it off the board.

I haven’t heard this song in a long time, but it seems to me reminiscent of the life of a chess player.

[Event “August Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.08.21”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Michael Evers Smith II”]
[Black “Brian John Rountree”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1869”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1610”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Ng5 Ne5 6. Bb3 h6 7. f4 hxg5 8.
fxe5 Nxe4 9. Qf3 d5 10. exd6 Nxd6 11. O-O Be6 12. Bxe6 fxe6 13. Qd3 Be7 14.
Qxd4 Nf5 15. Qa4+ c6 16. Qb3 Bc5+ 17. Kh1 Qd6 0-1

88+1 Birthday Barlay tournament

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

[Event “Birthday Barlay 88+1”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.08.18”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Dean Brown”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1400”]
[ECO “B22”]
[EventDate “2018.08.18”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1885”]

1. e4 c5 2. c3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. cxd4 d5 5. exd5 Qxd5 6. Nc3 Qd8 7. Bc4 e6 8. Nf3
Bh6 9. O-O Nc6 10. d5 exd5 11. Re1+ Be6 12. Nxd5 Bxc1 13. Rxc1 Nh6 14. Qd2 Nf5
15. Qc3 O-O 16. Nf6+ Kg7 17. Nd7+ Kg8 18. Nxf8 Qxf8 19. Rxe6 1-0

[Event “Birthday Barlay 88+1”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.08.18”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Teah Williams”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “1885”]
[ECO “C48”]
[EventDate “2018.08.18”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1700”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bb5 d6 5. d3 Be7 6. Ne2 a6 7. Ba4 b5 8. Bb3
Na5 9. Ng3 h6 10. O-O O-O 11. Qe2 Re8 12. Nf5 Bxf5 13. exf5 Qd7 14. Nh4 Nxb3
15. axb3 Nh7 16. Qg4 Bxh4 17. Qxh4 Qxf5 18. Re1 Nf6 19. h3 c5 20. Re3 Qh5 21.
Qg3 Nd5 22. Re4 Re6 23. Rg4 Rg6 24. Qf3 e4 25. Qxe4 Rxg4 26. hxg4 Qe5 27. Qxe5
dxe5 28. c3 Nf4 29. Bxf4 exf4 30. Kf1 Kf8 31. Ke2 Ke7 32. Kf3 g5 33. Ke4 Ke6
1/2-1/2

[Event “Birthday Barlay 88+1”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.08.19”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Larry Wutt”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1948”]
[ECO “B22”]
[EventDate “2018.08.19”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1885”]

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Be2 cxd4 7. cxd4 e6 8.
O-O Nf6 9. Nc3 Qa5 10. Qb3 Qb4 11. Qxb4 Bxb4 12. Be3 O-O 13. h3 Bh5 14. Rfd1
Rfd8 15. Rac1 a6 16. Nb1 Nd5 17. a3 Bd6 18. Nc3 Nce7 19. g4 Bg6 20. Ne5 Nxe3
21. fxe3 b5 22. Nxg6 hxg6 23. Ne4 Bb8 24. Nc5 Nd5 25. Bf3 Bg3 26. Kg2 Bh4 27.
Rd3 Rd6 28. Ne4 Rdd8 29. b4 a5 30. bxa5 Rxa5 31. Rb1 Be7 32. Nc5 Bxc5 33. dxc5
Nf4+ 34. exf4 Rxd3 35. c6 Rc3 36. Rd1 Raxa3 37. Rd7 Kh7 38. c7 Ra2+ 39. Kg3
Rac2 40. Rxf7 Rxc7 41. Rf8 Rc8 42. Rf7 Rb8 43. Re7 Rb6 44. g5 b4 45. h4 Rc3 46.
Kg4 Rxf3 47. Kxf3 b3 48. f5 gxf5 49. h5 Kg8 50. g6 Kf8 51. Rf7+ Ke8 52. Rxg7 b2
53. Rg8+ Ke7 54. h6 b1=Q 55. h7 Qe4+ 56. Kf2 Rb2+ 57. Kg1 Qe1# 0-1

[Event “Birthday Barlay 88+1”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.08.18”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Andrew Eskenazi”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1885”]
[ECO “D35”]
[EventDate “2018.08.18”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1260”]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Nc3 c6 7. h3 Bf5 8. e3
Nbd7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 O-O 11. O-O h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. Ne2 Re8 14. Rac1 Qe7
15. Nf4 g6 16. Rfe1 Nb6 17. Nd2 Bg7 18. Qc2 Rad8 19. a4 Nc8 20. Nf3 Nd6 21. b3
Ne4 22. Nh2 Qd6 23. Kh1 Re7 24. Re2 Rde8 25. Rg1 Bxd4 26. g4 Be5 27. f3 Bxf4
28. fxe4 Bxh2 29. Rxh2 Rxe4 30. Rf1 Rxe3 0-1

Time-Pressure

Tuesdays Round 2

I played …e5 with …Bb4 for only the second time.

This game was sort of typical between us in that Paul had managed to avoid a pawn-trade for 21 moves, which always gets me into time-pressure (only one piece trade to this point), so it was all the more surprising that this was an obviously poor move.

Paul missed multiple wins in this game, particularly the astonishing non-capture 24.BxN? (soon equalizing)  24.Bxe5!! +2.

At the end of the game, I saw 38.Rg6+, but spent most of my time determining whether the sac 38…Nf4 (which stops Rg6+) would lead to a draw or not.  Finally, I figured that 37…e3 leads to a draw if 38.Rg6+ doesn’t lead to mate, which I guessed at, and also made the visual error of not seeing that 38…Kf8 is not playable because his bishop covers it.  Anyway, I played this losing blunder with 12 seconds on my clock.  Paul spent about five seconds on 38.Rg6+ and walked away from the board, so I allowed myself to flag instead of resigning.

Paul finished the game with 6 minutes and 10 seconds remaining.  I also saw Mark and Peters dramatic drawing finish – where both sides had a win at some point or another.  What this proved to me is that none of us regulars are playing truly competently at this time-control, but some like Paul can manage their clock better than others.  I feel that if I just became a more systematic player, in terms of how I choose moves, that I would be a much tougher player to beat than I currently am.

After the game, we had a quick post-mortem, where after the sensible 37…RxR, 38.QxR, Qe6, we played to a sterile, symmetrical, f,g,h pawns with rook and bishop versus rook and knight where all the pieces, pawns, and kings were safe.  In fact, Black is more than +1 in this line according to Stockfish.

Actually, if 38.Rxa2, for example, I was going to play 38…exf2+, and surprisingly this leads to not only a draw but a mate for Black.  Of course, I saw that trading rooks on c6 would deflect his queen from the defense of e2.

If this were 40 moves/ 2 hrs, I would have had about 12 minutes to make the last three moves before time-control.  This is why I need to think more systematically at this time-control.

[Event “August Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.08.14”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Paul Anderson”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1885”]
[ECO “A23”]
[EventDate “2018.08.14”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1989”]

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 Bb4 5. a3 Bxc3 6. dxc3 d6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. O-O
Qe7 9. Qc2 Be6 10. b3 h6 11. Bb2 Nbd7 12. Rfd1 Ne8 13. Nh4 Qf6 14. a4 g5 15.
Nf3 Bf5 16. Qd2 Nc5 17. Ra3 Rd8 18. b4 Ne6 19. Qe3 b6 20. Nd2 d5 21. cxd5 cxd5
22. Nf3 Be4 23. c4 Bxf3 24. Bxf3 d4 25. Qc1 Nd6 26. c5 bxc5 27. bxc5 Rc8 28. c6
Nf5 29. Qc4 Nd8 30. Rc1 Ne7 31. Qa6 Ndxc6 32. Rb3 Qe6 33. Rb7 e4 34. Bg2 Nd5
35. Ba3 Rfe8 36. Bh3 Qxh3 37. Rxc6 e3 38. Rg6+ 1-0

Pikes Peak Open

Round 1

My first round opponent was a no-show for the tournament, so that I got a one point bye.  I was supposed to play someone named Rahul Sampanarimiah.  So, Rahul, if you’re listening out there, you would have played me had you had attended!  hehe.

Round 2

The first two rounds were played at G/90, d/5.  On the five-second delay, in the USA, one does not have to keep score if either player is under 5 minutes left.  This game went on for more moves.  He dropped the exchange, and I gave up Black’s c-pawns for White’s d-pawn.  He got a rook on the 7th rank, threatening to checkmate me.  My king was wide-open, I had to defend with my queen on f6.  He felt that we were repeating the position, which we were, and offered a draw, and with 7 seconds remaining on my clock did not hesitate to accept it.

My friend Alexander also lost to this player, and we found out from another person that Stephen has been studying chess three hours a night for the past two years.  He gained a hundred points from this tournament.

We had played once before, but I hadn’t remembered him somehow, maybe because he looks exactly like someone I knew in US Army bootcamp back in 1987, Brian Bishop.  Brian and I once ran around the track together during a physical training, seeing how long we could both play blindfold a King’s Gambit game.

Round 3

21…NxRf8  My intuition told me right away that 21…NxBc5 was strongest and winning, up two pawns, almost played it, but at the last moment thought it would look silly not to take the rook.  Taking the rook was winning too, but quite complicated, as I had suspected.

Round 4

This round was played at 9AM, and I simply wasn’t in my best physical shape.  Before the tournament, I said that playing Sunday at 9AM would be more of a struggle than playing the first two rounds on the five-second delay.  Actually, the delay was more of a struggle, but I couldn’t put a normal amount of effort into this game.  With 11 minutes remaning on my clock, I did not know my opponent’s rating, and did not think he would repeat the position three times.

I saw that White could play, after 23…h5 – which is what I was going to play, had I continued – 24.Rb1 or 24.Re1 or 24.Nf3 or 24.g4.  24.g4 was the move that worried me most.  I felt this move shouldn’t work, but it took me half an hour after the game to find both it’s refutation, and a solid continuation for Black.  My head was swimming too much by the game’s end.

So, if White does play 24.g4 after 23…h5, then, computer eval aside, a human can get into big trouble as Black if White is permitted to play gxh…gxh, with Nh2-f3-g5 to follow.

However, I did find that 24…hxg, 25.Nxg Rah8! (too tired to see the long-move, I guess) was the refutation of the g4 idea.  I also found the idea of …Ra8-d8-d7-e7, after first wondering what, when, and where I should put the knight.  As the game ended, I thought I should have tried to get my …Ne7, but g4 limits it I figured.  Then I thought about …Na5, which is great if White plays Rb1, and then thought of maneuvering to Ne6.  I guess I woke up to the power of my rook too late, I was simply worried that he would grab the e-file with Re1, whereupon my rook would be some kind of shut-in.

I should have gotten to the site before 9am, and tried to find out my opponent’s rating.  On Saturday, Buck didn’t have player ratings posted, but on Sunday morning after the game I saw he had now posted them on the wall.  Either way, some of these lower-players were wicked under-rated.  I found out that the opponent in this game was FIDE rated 1600, a friend said, and he gained 200 points USCF during this tournament.

Round 5

Another player I had never seen before.  Coleman could win two different “Under” prizes if he had won this game.  I completely missed his …Qb4 move.  Luckily, he got his queen trapped.  I had seen that he could not take the c2 pawn, (on Qa3, I was going to capture on b7) but it was a good blindfold exercise because at first I thought that 15.Bd3 would undefend the Nc3 from my queen, which it does, but that only means he wins a piece on c3 at the cost of his queen!  Btw, blindfolding is part visual, part logic, it makes a person use both when done right.

I was tempted to play the easier 16.BxQ or 16.Qe3 Bh6, 17.BxQ BxQ, but I didn’t want to let myself off the hook after having glibly drawn my round 4 game, and most likely killing any chances of winning a prize (which turned out to be the case).

No Counterplay

Round 1

[Event “August Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.08.07”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Joey Arispe”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1231”]
[ECO “B12”]
[EventDate “2018.08.07”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1908”]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 g6 4. c3 Bg7 5. Be3 Nd7 6. e5 e6 7. Bd3 Ne7 8. Qd2 b6 9.
Na3 a6 10. Ne2 c5 11. Bh6 O-O 12. h4 c4 13. Bc2 Rb8 14. h5 Nf5 15. Bxg7 Kxg7
16. hxg6 fxg6 17. Bxf5 Rxf5 18. Qh6+ 1-0