Pacific Southwest Open

Game 1 I dropped a piece and he didn’t even see til later that he could have gotten it back (2009 rated player, so he’s ‘expert’ rating here in the states). Anyhow, we reached a dead drawn ending. He refused a draw, so I tried to make it more obvious by exchanging rooks instead of spending all day trading down pawns. Big mistake, he won king+pawn ending where we had the same number of pawn 3pawns vs. 2 one ones side and 3 vs. 2 on the other. So I lost a drawn game.

Game 2

Played Black against French Milner-Barry gambit. Wildest game I’ve ever played next to that game with Anthony Ong. Julian Landaw walked by twice and shook his head when he saw me take the second pawn (he’s a Master). So I went to look at his game and it looked boring as heck, pawn-fence looking position.

However, I played awesome and had a winning position, it was not in doubt. Suddenly, in dual-time pressure, I let up and gave up pawns like I was Santa Claus or something. I thought I was going to win, but gave away a pawn needlessly for initiative, then I blundered a pawn from fatigue, but by that point no longer saw the win. However, I held the game down 2 pawns with rook against bishop for the draw.

I’ll post both games when I get the chance. 2nd game was horrendous time-scramble he had less than a minute and a half for moves 25-40, then I got caught up in it since I was no longer using his time to figure out my moves. This probably saved the game for him since it looked completely won for me.

Wow, the really surprising thing is that I am no longer intimidated by these players below Master. Really, I think I feel I should have beaten both of them (Game 1 I didn’t play a sharp variation that I felt I should have, so was never winnning, but did have the initiative for most of the game, up until I threw away the draw). In the first game, I played conservative and did not ‘go for it’, although amazingly I still found chances.

In the second game, he made the mistake of trying to go Tal-like on me. Like I said to him ‘Yes, I am good at finding ‘only’ moves’, that is not the way to play me, be more subtle with your attack, don’t jump the gun.’ Where I go wrong is when the position is not forced calculation. Actually, I blew it in 2 endgames, so the adage about better players winning in the endgame once again held true. It’s funny, in game 2, after the game I showed him how I had it drawn against best play, another guy joined us in the analysis. So when it’s forced, I do great! When you need to come up with a plan, be cool, don’t panic, don’t jump off the deep-end, have faith that things will come out well – that is where I seem to screw up most.

I took tomorrow off for fourth of July, too old for this nit-picking endgame stuff. πŸ˜€ But I’ll be back on Sunday, will probably play 2 games against some seriously struggling players. I look forward to improving that endgame part of my game though.

Another thing, a 1650 player showed me his game where he drew a 1400 player, as Black. He replayed the whole game from memory, he played awesome, and they both played great. I told him basically ‘look, there’s nothing you can do as Black to win that game, you played a slow system, but you outplayed him and it was a draw. The only way to get ahead rating-wise is to play the upper group, that way you are trading wins and draws with the top guys.’ I don’t feel like I am better than either of them. That’s the problem with amateur section, people tend to be under-rated there anyway.

Here is game 2, I should title it as ‘Dueling tacticians’, not perfect play by Crafty’s measure, but a heart-riveting game. I see where I went wrong, I was winning before my last blunder, but I was too worried about his king and a-pawn getting involved, and was even naively worried about avoiding 3-fold repetition although even he did not have an accurate scoresheet and was not recording the moves while blitzing (I was at least scribbling down my own moves, if for no other reason than to know what move we are on and to be able to recreate the position if need be), huge blank section on his scoresheet for what looked to be at least 10 moves, and I mean completely frickin blank (those things can be stressful, if you are tired). Really, I was just wanting the game to be over by this point. 2 games at 40/2 SD/1 will do that to you, especially as everyone seems to want to eek every minute out of their clock, made it even more tiring, that’s 6 hours that a game can last, winning position or not.

And yes, he did try and spend all his time trying to eek out a win which doesn’t seem to be in there (we tried everything after the game, as I can even sac the rook for his a-pawn and still hold it for a draw) – I cut the game score short here, suffice it to say that he played down to around 7 1/2 minutes left and tried all that seemed reasonable to him at the time. Yes, I realize how obvious the position looks when playing over it quickly now, how I missed Bxa right before he played Nxf. Most of the game is in the analysis, lots of sacks, you don’t see it playing over the game, almost looks like as if he were wishy-washy with his attack, but Crafty was giving him the nod for some reason after his Qe5 move (yes, Crafty is right it wins for him, now I see – Bf5+, then RxN+, then Qa5 winning my queen in one fashion or another (I had lots of advantageous moves that I missed, lots still to look at with a chess-engine even after all that, apparently, to compare analysis with). I know, I should figure out how to comment these games but it would take just as much work to cut out my verbosity. πŸ˜‰

I’m still rather tired from it, although I could have played today alright. The hardest part is psychological. People will gladly give you the feeling that they have “no life” by holding you captive at the chess board for 6 hours. The galling thing is that’s why they do it, because they can. I have no doubt that if the game were 12 hours, they will still have no problem trying to wear you down, eating that next energy bar in the 11th hour. I can understand if you actually _need_ the time, but people take it just because they have it, that is hard to deal with psychologically.

Game 1

Game 2

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8 thoughts on “Pacific Southwest Open

  1. Tough games you knew it would be difficult.
    It’s not the chess letting down,was you fatigued or was it the wine.

    Good luck for sunday.

    Happy 4th of july.

  2. Thanks, Chessx!

    It was the stress of being put through the mill of waiting for the other person to make their moves, then happily they stick around to try more things to foil you. You can see the glee in their faces, even when they are losing or drawn, and it gets to a person, psychologically.

    I thought he was going to resign instead of blitzing the last 15 moves in a minute and a half. It’s just so disconcerting. One has to have to have the experience to look past all that, and just expect it.

    I was amazed at how players at this level do_not_quit. Still not boring and nowhere near as playing that little 1836 kid; I was ready to rip my teeth out one by one during that game, most dull game I ever played OTB.

    One place where I screwed up in game 2. I was literally not even looking at the whole board for even a second during most of that blitz. I was basically looking at my scoresheet, writing the moves, and then grabbing a piece and moving it, and writing some more, that’s how I missed Bxa, wasn’t even looking literally. OTH, he was recording zilch, so _all_ he was looking at was the board. I need to not make that mistake next time. I had 11:49 to play those last 15 moves, should not have needed to end up at that point. I even blitzed to move 42, just to make sure, since I couldn’t double-check with his scoresheet (in reality, he couldn’t call time anyhow as his scoresheet did not represent the position).

  3. Interesting games, second one was really crazy. Don’t look at the games going long as it’s somebody’s intention. I, for example, try to use all my time, I don’t think about my opponent from that point of view at all. Sometimes you can finish the game before the first control, sometimes it goes further.

  4. Thanks, RollingPawns, I think that is great advice. People’s emotions seem to change at will, too, I’ve noticed, like a storm. On the second game he said ‘okay’ in a really meek, whispered, resigned voice on his last two moves before going into the 15 move blitz storm, sort of like a manic-depressive response, but more like depressive-manic.

    It seems ironic that my games usually last the longest, though. The tournament hall had cleared out before we had finished the second game. First game was one of the very last games done too, but that was mostly my fault.

  5. I also played in the big tournament, 30/90, 60/SD in U1800 section. Some lower rated played well and some 1700+ don’t. I played first with 3 guys rated 1500-1525, got 2.5 out of 3, then with 2 like me, lost to first, who looks like will share 1st place and drew with 2nd who already got 1st (I left early). 3/5, 0.5 out of money (not big anyway). So, things looked opposite to yours – category, length of the games (no games more than 30/90), etc., even declined Milner-Barry. Will post, just wanted to share it. Thought afterwards that it probably would be better to play in U2000, but it was really strong, not sure would get even 2 out of 5.

  6. Sheesh, you would have no problem, RollingPawns, you would roll right over them in U2000. πŸ™‚

    First game today, 1836 player dropped a piece against my Scotch (I didn’t suspect that it was free gift day at the tournament, but you never know what to expect). He resigned on move 42, down a rook.

    Game 2, I think I literally threw the game away because I missed an intermezzo type of tactic, never saw it but was looking for that exact sort of thing. Of course, it was no harm on him since we both missed it – 1915 rating. I blundered when I got down to 12 minutes for my last 20 moves, first move that I just went happy-go-lucky on and wouldn’t you know it, that was the clincher. I simply never spotted the tactical idea. A surprisingly sad performance from me, but it was just the sort of position that I knew I needed time for to figure things out.

    I would love to go for another Millner-Barry, but I’ll need to analyze the last game more – definitely I am always taking that pawn, and have that ‘can’t believe my eyes’ sort of joy when I see it played. hehe.

  7. I played the last game against Scotch as Black. I know you are a Scotch lover – analyze this:
    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Be3 Qf6 6. c3 Nge7 7. Bc4 O-O 8. Qf3 Qxf3 9. gxf3 (8. … Nxd4 9. Qxf6 Nc2+ 10. Kd2 Nxe3 11. Qf4 Nxc4+ 12. Kd3 Ng6 13. Qc1 Nce5+ ). I played just 2-3 blitz “Barrys”, was not quite ready. Will definitely take the pawn ( not 2 πŸ™‚ ) next time. Maybe you should play more blitz, but still you are thinking like Ivanchuk :). 1.5/4 is OK, I got the same last time I played in U2000 before New Year.

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