Reflections

My tournament history goes back to ’93, but I’ve been fascinated by chess since ’84.

The only lingering thing that still doesn’t feel right is how when I play now, some people I can tell they really want to beat me instead of take a draw. But then again I think that attitude has percolated down now to all levels, the self-improvement ethic but with a serious industriousness. Another reason why I’d rather not play lower-rated players now. I see them in the lower section not talking to each other after their games, and really playing the whole clock out fiercely over some precious draw or little time left game.

Back in the days of Yore, when Chess was still big, I guess, and online games weren’t around, I remember that I would go to the donut shop after at least one of my games and analyze the whole game with an opponent, that was possibly more fun than even playing that game, silly as that sounds. Nobody does this anymore really, and it makes me sad. I think that’s one of the reasons I pulled back from tournament play many years ago. I would go in not taking it all deathly serious but I could feel that that was the general atmosphere; guess I was walking in out of practice some times.

Five years after I had started tournament chess I was still a low 1300 level player even! But I always loved chess and wanted to improve and have different adventures. Now I am a ‘responsible’ player and stick to what I know a bit more because I know that is what works, and that results are what people go by, it’s funny that I’m even consciously acknowledging this. It’s more stressful to play a game nowdays, but still enjoyable, if not quite as surprising as it once was when used to stumble into a loss in the first time control frequently enough.

When I say stressful, it’s not really the chess because that is something I do to myself, it’s the body language of a higher-rated opponent, more confident, a more judgmental aire, plus they are strong on the clock almost universally in the sense that they are thinking on my time rather than the other way around. Actually, I was lucky to win that first round game as I had a minute remaining (he had set 5 second delay) and he had about 50 minutes remaining, but this is common against these opponents. I must say though the fact that I can play strong chess takes a lot of the pressure off, as I was walking around during all 3 games looking at other people’s games, hadn’t been doing this recently.

I will suggests moves to my opponents now after the game, how they may have possibly improved, but most don’t reciprocate the same desire, instead it feels more like Cold War Russia where you don’t want to let your secrets out. I think I talk too much sometimes too.
Anyway, I think to myself that some people are also probably stuck like I was for five years, and I watch them play against me, and I feel like they are hitting their heads against the wall a bit and should open up more. But that is life I guess.

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10 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. It may be sad but times change.
    People dont want to intereact with opponents after/in between rounds,i think it is to do with computer life isolation.
    People sit at a computer alone and do what they do,i think they cant mix with people when he time comes.They find it hard to be sociabal they lose the habit.

    Sitting at home by yourself on facebook is called social networking,whats social about sitting on your own!!!!

    As time goes otb chess will become less important to people.
    Everything must be online.

    Many years ago when i played in a few tournaments as a kid,after each round i would go through the game with my opponent,it was the done thing.

    But now…….

  2. I started studying, then playing in mid-seventies and played until mid-eighties. I don’t remember much talking/discussing the games, because when I was a university student I played with the kids (in the club) and then when started to work played with adults, with these old time controls (I think it was something like 120/SD at least) and usually playing after the work day, the games were finishing very late.
    I resumed my tournament play 2 years ago. Maybe it’s a Canadian mentality, but I don’t see somebody especially trying to beat me or refusing a draw in equal position (actually I am offered draws much more often than offer myself). It doesn’t mean that people are not playing actively, they are. They usually agree to discuss the game ( if they are not in a hurry or not in the mood). Interesting that with the lower rated players it’s me who does most of the useful talking, and vice-versa with the higher rated (in the most of cases). I am probably talking too much too, like some time ago when I saw in the club how one boy played Marshall against another and told him that I like Marshall too and to play against it also, and mentioned Re4. Then I came home and realized, that next time I play him, it’s possible that he would not play Marshall at all or will not play this variation, or will prepare against it. But I think it was just one time.

    Despite what chessx is saying about online :), I feel that our discussions ( I mean three of us) in the blogs are more interesting and useful than are real after the games. People usually don’t see much more than they saw during the game, though it’s interesting to know about their position evaluation or the plans. Then you come home, run it through Crafty or Fritz and $%^&!, you and your opponent look like idiots :).

  3. “Sitting at home by yourself on facebook is called social networking,whats social about sitting on your own!!!!”

    lol, ChessX. I don’t have a Facebook account, gasp! But now best friends from High-School are even trying to reach me that way. All they have to do is google my name and phone number and address should come up. I’ve lived here for 10 years and the only person that tried to reach me that way was a neighbors mom that we grew up with for her son’s surprise birthday party.

    Last tournament I went to there was no skittles room, people just seemed to completely clear out and disappear between rounds. The skittles room used to be jumping with people. You would go there with your opponent, analyze your game, play some quick games. Other people were playing bughouse and bullet. I guess you are right, there is no need now! hehe. It is all online.

    Even Los Angeles doesn’t have many tournaments local now. Yes, I know, we seemingly have the most here of anywhere but…half of them are in the Valley, like Agoura Hills, which is west of west LA. Actually, that is an improvement because for a while there it had seemed that most of them had moved to Las Vegas, so at least those ones I believe came back from being in Las Vegas. Once upon a time they actually had a tournament in Orange county, perhaps 12 yrs. ago or so but it seems like only a memory/hallucination now. Orange County seems like the logical place, that it just makes me think that relatively speaking people from rich areas don’t play chess, only people from poorer areas like in west LA play chess. lol. It’s nice that San Diego or Fresno has a tournament, though, good for them. Many of the clubs that once had 2 hrs. game seem to have disappeared. G/60 is more typical now for the clubs that meet more regularly.

    Rolling Pawns, quite the case. Actually last time I felt like I had all the advice for my opponents, told them which moves they should have played and such. Even the girl when she was dropping the exchange there, I could tell by her body language that she had blundered and was worried as soon as I had played Ng4 (I corrected the move order in the game score), but I had felt worried myself earlier in the game and was wondering if I was going to draw this game instead of win it just because she seemed like a nice girl. hehe. I was wondering how many draws she got because of that during the game (I realize that’s not really my business, but I did wonder about it). Anyway, only bring that up to say that she made no mention of it after the game, which indicates to me that I don’t expect her to mention anything in the future.

    That’s why I like our little group online. It seems we need to discuss our games here because like ChessX says, no one can speak until they run home and get on their comptuer! haha. ChessX is right, analyzing the game together afterward used to be how it was done, even if you were simply sharing what you had thought over the board.

    RP, yes, I blabbing about the Scotch game to one opponent at that big tournament, then checked my club’s webpage and realized he’s been winning there! Oops, but I would still play the same variation if he saw him there, I think.

    Oh, I meant to say that I don’t think players are like that in general at big tournaments where no one knows one another, but at a club prestige becomes this issue out of the blue. One guy thought I was hero for beating the Expert. The top players at first have this brusk sort of demeanor because possibly you are invading their turf a bit, but I think it goes away after the first game. But the thing is if I do play some people too regularly that are right at my same rating, I think they may get annoyed that I sort of “own” them over the board; which isn’t necessarily challenging for me either because it means I can probably win just by playing defensive chess.

    RP, I think you may get a lot of draw offers because of the opening variations you play, like Bb5 vs. the Sicilian and Nd2 against the French where …c5 gets played. Both of those systems I think are advantageous for White, but Black is uncomfortable by them (and probably doesn’t know it as well as White), even though material is equal for a long time, so heck yeah I’d be begging for a draw too as Black. hehe.

    Regarding long draws by lower-rated players, I read this and felt sorry for Greg:
    http://gregschess.blogspot.com/
    Although now that I think about it, it sounds like he was placed in an “Open” section.

    I shouldn’t have said what I said above as it really doesn’t bother me if they play out the whole game. I was reacting to the next round being held up in the above blog, but I don’t see how players can hold up a round, really, unless they started late. It does happen, though, and I have seen other people complain about when I’ve done it, but it’s what, half an hour at most when it does happen? I usually start the third round early, after getting my second round game over with. It feels nicer not to wait too late.

    Just tried out the Keres Attack (heck, I don’t even know it. hehe.) against the Shevinngen Sicilian, transposed from Taimanov against a 1600ish player. Won in 20 moves, 10 minutes is all the game took. The problem with the Open Sicilian is that the stronger player usually wins rather easily. The French defense or even …e5 is much better for the weaker player to sit behind and get a long game out of. That’s why I got so many short games myself when I used to play Sicialian as Black. I got schooled if the player was stronger.

  4. What i was trying to say i am worried that some players (like one 17 year old boy i know a son of a friend)has a 1765 online rating has never been to a chess club,has never played in an otb tournament.
    But i think if he did, when a game is finished winlose/draw he would just set the pieces up and walk away.
    I have played 2 otb games with him and stopped playing him for the same reason his dad stopped,he is just not interested in talking about the game.He also has no interest in playing otb only online.
    I do worry,perhaps i am getting old.

    Rolling pawns
    I am 50 on august 6 and i am getting fritz 11 can you give me any pointers about it.
    This will be the first fritz for me,soi know nothing about it.

    Linuxguy
    Can you post that sicilian game as it came from a Taimanov please.

    I like my online life,but as i have had a pre online chess life i don’t think it will hurt me.

  5. ChessX, I was trying not to be “too” verbose, but was thinking the same thing you were! That is because people online are expected to walk away or leave the site immediately after a loss especially, that they would do the same thing over the board, since that is where they play most of their games.

    My FICS rating is 1823 at the moment and my OTB rating is 1825, so I’d say it’s accurate enough to get an idea.

    I am 42 and also remember my pre-online life. hehe. I was even looking through books there in between some moves, so I was starting to be able to relax OTB as I do online now.

    In the Keres Attack game, he moved his knight to c7 where it no longer was able to jump back to f6 after my pawn push, his Qe8 also doesn’t save if he takes on g6, since Bh5 can pin a knight on g6 to the queen on e8. The reason that I played Kb1 is that so once my queen is on h6 he can’t play …Bg5+ forking my king and queen.

    Keres Attack game (g4 against the …e6…d6 pawn formation):
    http://chessflash.com/node/885

  6. Hey Guys!

    This is a real interesting discussion! I had a Facebook account for about a minute and then got rid of it. I too have had a bunch of old acquaintances try to get in touch with me. Oddly enough when I would email them back they would never really respond. It seems it is more about stockpiling “friends” as opposed to really connecting or re-connecting with someone.

    As I said in my blog I had my first productive post-mortem after an OTB game last Saturday.

    As the weaker player I mostly just listened as I figured the other player knows more than I do at the moment.

    Have a good one!

  7. chessx – you worry right, it’s something wrong with the person that doesn’t want to play OTB, only online, as well as not communicating about it at all, even with the own dad.
    I really like my Fritz, it has many nice features, most important for me now is “Blundercheck”, it finds not only blunders, but also all missed tactics, calculation training, where you make moves with the mouse, without pieces really moving and DB stuff, where you can have a DB of your games, opening book, etc. I also got a 1 year subscription to playchess.com, the difference with FICS is there is no swearing ( actually, no communication at all, though you can chat) and all the games you played are written to the DB on your computer automatically.
    I suggest after getting it you can make a post about it, share your impressions and ask questions.

    That Keres attack was fast and furious :).

  8. Hi TommyG! Interesting observation of Facebook users.

    RollingPawns, glad you like it. 🙂 I am going to load up my ‘lame game’ now that I played today.

    Move 21, Black to win:
    …fxe 22. Nxe Bb5+ 23. King moves BxN 24. KxB Rxf

    I need to get where this automatic for me, looking deeper at moves (instead of just wider, which is at least great for elementary blunderchecks). Black gets rid of his blocked in bishop and wins a pawn, but mentally I was so hesitant in giving his knight that e5 square that I overlooked estimating the worth of that tactical sequence.

    Later I blunder again. I was going to play 29…Re2+, then Bc4 to keep his rook out (Crafty gives just Bc4 as the nod), but played Kg8 instead, big mistake. The game ends he simply drops his rook, whereas if he had exchanged it he would have a simple win with Nf4 and pushing the e-pawn along with his king.

    http://chessflash.com/node/886

  9. In talking about chess to your opponent after the game in can get an insight into what may or may not have happened,sometimes this can be good sometimes not.
    A lot of players now just want to input the game into a computer to see the mistakes,perhaps that’s the NEW post mortem!!

    Linuxguy
    The sicilian game was fantastic forceful play throughout.Excellent.
    What time control was this game.
    I feel i the second game(lame game) you did not play as aggressive or active as you normally do,but a win is a win.

    Rolling pawns
    I did not know i would be able to play on playchess.com and with games going into a DB that sounds good.
    I think the “blundercheck” will be very good to see the missed opportunities.

    Tommyg
    We will be your friends welcome to “chessbook”

  10. The missed stuff in the “lame game” is somewhat typical for online play. You wouldn’t believe the stuff I miss, though it’s faster time control, like 5+2′ – 7+2′.
    Mental attitude is very important. I recently had a knight endgame, N+1P vs. N+2P, where fighting for a draw didn’t see the that I can mate him in 1 by knight, the same in another game where not liking the position I forced the draw by three-fold repetition, instead of catching the queen. It means that your mind should be open all the time.

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