1.5/3

Round 1
Game 1, won against Winston, fortunate endgame shot. For some reason, I seem to be able to win when I really want to; I must be playing below my abilities. I wanted to beat Winston, if I could, as he beat Polly, and I can’t be criticizing her play if I can’t back up my words with actions. 😉 (Yeah, I know, a little pretentious of me, but so is showing up). She was only playing G/60 though, something you don’t want to do against a kid, IMO.

Here is the picture of Winston from Polly’s blog:
Winston

Game 2, had what I would consider a standard winning position for me against Joe, but then he offered a piece in a way and I took it, but it really loses so many ways mostly. Me and Shawn had been talking about Steinitz before the game, and for some mad reason I wanted to try a king walkabout (these never seem to work for me). The uber-tactical stuff is definitely not what I am good at. So I lost. Afterwards I was thinking why am I experimenting, I could try to win prize money!? But such is life. I wanted to play the four pawns attack against his Alekhine, but restrained myself since I am not booked on that line at all (not this line either, but its safer).

After the Game, I went over it with William, and he gave me a tactical shellacking on why going after this piece does not work. Thanks William! 🙂 I also analyzed with Shawn one of this games. Both Shawn and William are way better than me tactically. I am good at positional play and calculating the tactics that come with that sort of game, and I have a lot of playing experience. This is how I win, my wins are like watching grass grow. hehe. I am not a harlem- globetrotter type of chess-player with the tactics. One thing about having your king exposed (haven’t tried playing like this in a loong time) is that you can just about add an extra attack on a lot of squares. For instance, queen check can be a double attack that can pick up a loose piece. Without the exposed king, you don’t even have to bother with that stuff. I blundered at the end of the round 2 game, but really I had like 5 minutes for my last 10 moves. I simply forgot that it takes _way_ too much time for me to play that tactical style way.

Round 2
Game 2, I had planned Be4 the whole time, but in time-trouble switched my move to Qg3 and blunderchecked every move with his bishop but the one he made. Would still have been up a pawn if I had not blundered, but it was dead even according to Crafty a couple moves later in that variation. It was demoralizing while I was playing knowing that I had a few minutes left and he had close to an hour still; I really beat myself on that one.

Oh, shoot, my analysis OTB was stronger than Crafty’s, what the heck? See, Crafty goes g4 and h4 and soon regrets it and says Black is winning. Crafty underestimates my simple taking of the d-pawn, then later realizes it is super-strong. So yes, I feel I would have won had I stood pat with my normal playing style. Like anyone cares but me. lol. After the game I felt bad that I gave him the game he was looking for, since it seemed like just a win to him. My intuition told me to ignore the bishop as it’s out of play, but I decided to see if I could calculate out why.

Round 3
Game 3, played this kid Craig, 1654 rating. He played Qb3 in the French Advanced. He whipped out his moves like a gun, so I moved fast as well at first until I realized he knew what the heck he was doing and he knew that variation better than I did. He offered a draw, which I happily accepted. Actually, the endgame looked like staring into the abyss. It would have been knight and pawn where I had the better pawn chain but he had the outside majority and I did not want to chance on what the king and pawn endgame would look like. Now that I think about it, perhaps I should have played for a passed central pawn. I would have needed to get a knight attacking two of his isolated pawns, and try to get the win before trading off knights. I didn’t feel so comfortable about that at the time.

Uggh, Round 3 was a win for Black. I should have kept playing, as his pawn structure does him in, the isolated pawn. Trade rooks, …Nc6, he goes e4 then Ne3 to defend after …Ne5, but my king marches in and wins those a and b pawns. Ouch.

On the plus side, I went the day without any caffeine other than my morning one cup of tea (1 black and 1 green teabag). If I had been drinking coffee or soda, I would have had more energy, but I am trying to quit; seeing how well I can get on without. Yes, I am getting older too, not much I can do about that one.

I am shocked, ratings estimator says possibly 1826 new rating. I thought it would have been a lot lower than that. That last game was a gift draw, but I thought he was playing for the draw all along. In hindsight, I think he was actually trying his best to win, until he saw that he was in trouble I guess and needed the draw, but perhaps not because he said he got 3 draws that day. Tough to tell, but I should have given it a lot more thought.

Last week I was mentally and physically toast just about all week, even had a headache for 2 days afterwards. This week, I could go back there tomorrow and play another 3 rounds, no sweat, and try and win this time! Which means I could probably play a multi-day tournament. I feel as all of this took nothing out of me, even finished my game analysis, and just need a little bit of openings prep.

One thing I realize now, looking back, is that I used a lot of time and energy dealing with the negatives. In Round 1 that worked out, but I was immediately kicking myself for not playing gxB and getting a more dynamic game. My opponent helped me out by playing for a draw like, but who knows, maybe that is how he felt the position should be played. Round 2, people were watching right before my blunder and in my time pressure. It definitely made me want to change my mind more and almost outguess myself. Round 3 I was thinking of the most negative things strategically and hadn’t looked through a long concrete variation yet. I tried, but did not see it through deep enough, cut it short at the “uh-oh, I am not sure what will happen” stage. Needed to look at the concrete variations just a move or two deeper before figuring it would have been okay to trade rooks (which he said he was willing to do), and I also would have continued with Nc6, eying Ne5, just didn’t follow it to where it won a pawn, and did not consider the Na5 move even though I had won almost the same type of game in round 1. ….Na5, c5 ….Nb3 wins the c-pawn. I was actually worried that would give him an advanced pawn and not let me trade a pawn there instead of checking to see how vulnerable that it was.

I normally submit my games so that they can post them on the club site and people can see them, but feel more self-conscious than usual about my performance because I should have done better in the last two games; got plenty of rest this time.

Bizare tournament result

I was at my 30th move, had a couple minutes and knew my move right away. I was tired and carefree, like yeah whatever, I am winning a piece. Well, after a minute I went to play Bf5 for the win and picked up the wrong bishop. Neil wasn’t sure of the rule (he’s 1900 level) and said “it’s my (his) choice” and let me play on with 2 light-square bishops. But I was no longer winning the piece and still down a pawn. He won it in about another 30 moves, basically I lost on the clock. So I lost a won game to a mid 1900’s player.

Against a D level player in round 1, I was completely lost, should have lost a piece but I guess he didn’t see how to win it, so I pulled it out and won. I mean, I was too wired on caffeine, did not feel right, and had a meltdown, went in too nervous.
Game 2 I had finished lunch again, and last one done with round 1. I think my food needs time to digest because I felt out of it, energy-wise, but felt great during round 3.
Round 3, I beat Kurt for the first time, but he is maybe 1600. So I didn’t get to play the other A level player because of that round 2 loss. Weird. The only game I felt normal was game 3, and it was a nice, quick win.

The weird thing about lower-rated players is that the can beat the crap out of you in the opening, but then don’t know how to finish it off, so you need to make sure and stick around for their unravelling. But look at Neil, same thing, I think he played a weak opening, but then I didn’t take advantage of it. It was weird, I backed off then he backed off when I went in for counter-attack, but he went in for a bad attack then and should have lost.

Weird, completely. I usually slide the pieces across the board, so this normally couldn’t happen. I don’t pick up a bishop and put it onto a square, but this time I did, was feeling half out-of-it, but I knew I was winning. I actually thought all I have to do is make this stupid move, why is even putting up this pathetic resistance. Well, that’s why! My queen was being attacked, so moving the wrong bishop meant dropping the queen. Touch move means he could have made me move the wrong bishop (to some different square), he takes the queen and game is over. Totally stupid.

Round 1
I missed two quick wins in the endgame, one I saw immediately after moving, and another I calculated incorrectly, which is another tell that fatigue was affecting my play. I realized that a person can drink all the coffee or whatever that they want, take vitamins, but if if you aren’t as rested, it just means that stuff will make you more hyper (which is very bad, trust me) and STILL not be able to calculate clearly. Taking a nap between moves should actually be more effective than being too hyper, for clearing the mind.

Round 2
For round 2, I showed what would have happened. On move 30…I played Be7-f5, meant to play Bc8-f5 (I was feeling “Yeah, whatever-ish” since it seemed such an obvious move). The moves after that were actually played except for the capture of a piece on g5, which was no longer possible without the dark-bishop on e7 – quite sad turn of events. Heck, I wasn’t even playing very well, you can see by Crafty’s assessment, I could have easily been playing a lot better.

Round 3
For a change, a straightforward game where I felt in control the whole way. I didn’t care for his …g6 decision, I felt that helped me too much, even if Crafty’s score doesn’t reflect that. The nerves had finally settled, I was very calm, focused, and moving relatively quickly.

Ratings estimator says I lost a rating point, which would put it at 1837. At my rating, in the 8 man section, I have to win that second game to get that third game against the guy who beat Neil. I can’t realistically get there, on average, when I am pulling one of these semi-all-nighter’s before the match. Some crazy mix-up is too likely to occur, like that one.

One of Polly’s opponents was there, Winston (watched his game), pint-sized kid, much smaller than I had imagined even from seeing the picture she took. I should have known there was disturbance there was in the force. lol. Winston also got two points.

How I blundercheck

I have a bit of ambivalence about this, but I’ll post it anyway. I pulled it, but everyone’s updater said I posted something yesterday, so I’ll put it back. The thing is, like on FICS, but even at tournaments with faster time-controls, people will use the clock as a weapon, when that happens, or if you are playing a typical online game such as 15 0 or 15 5, there is not enough time to do any of this. What I am saying is that what I put below is what raises my OTB rating, but my online rating is crap because people blitz and I reserve the right to suck at blitz and be alright OTB. I think people who like to say that Blitz correlates to OTB are probably GM’s that like matches to be decided by blitz playoff games.

How I Blundercheck

What do I mean by “blundercheck”? I mean, assuming this isn’t some crap-shoot time-scramble, that you play the move in your head before you do it on the board. I’ll be more specific, when I make “the move”, I first make it in my mind and then pretend that my opponents clock is now running, and he is looking for a move, and then I look for his best cheapo continuations (some cheapo’s are considerably positionally elaborate, yes; in fact most of them are positional first, and tactical second, as that is the basis for all tactics).

This isn’t all that I do when I analyze, it’s simply the most critical part when it comes to attaining rating points.

When it comes to my whole process, first I find a move that I like, which usually jumps out at me, then I analyze it for soundness. Then I look for other possible moves to become candidate moves. I usually narrow it down quickly to two candidate moves. I analyze both of their continuations and then I usually know which one that I like better. Then, I do my blundercheck described above.

A better blundercheck is my best advice for attaining Class A player level. When I was a D player I once asked an A player, whom I admired, how to get to that level and his reply was “stop dropping pieces” and he wasn’t talking about any of my games.

1 out of 3 this time

I’m in the top quad now, so yay there. 🙂

First game played David in a Catalan again. This time I had the game gift-wrapped for the win, saw two candidate moves, and chose one I thought was more forcing, but it was a sucker mistake, I walked right into his combo. To be fair to me, I only had 3 hours of sleep again, have been up since 3 am last night and got tired right around then, let my guard down.

Game 2, I played Neal again. I could have drawn it seven ways to Sunday (I was White), but gave him the initiative intentionally since that was the only way I could see having any winning chances (major guilt for taking 2 draws last week). Turns out that was a mistake (still could have drawn), but I got tired again late and blundered it away. Oddly enough, Neal was playing for the win on time (my time-trouble). I actually found this humorous because I wasn’t nervous about the time at all. Actually, I started moving quickly the last ten moves because I was tired, and was not at all worried about the clock.

Game 3, played Joe again. Poor Joe, he was so proud of beating David in 21 moves or so, but still hasn’t beaten me yet.

Okay, here’s the kicker. This was the first time I have ever played at a chess tournament where I didn’t get nervous. Usually, okay always, I am crazy nervous. This time I was no nerves, walk-in-the-park like. I played my first ten moves in 10 minutes basically in all 3 games. Only game I got a bit flustered in was Joe’s game because I didn’t know how to proceed with my attack, but he was moving way too quickly for as much time as I was spending. So when I really look at it, I think all 3 of my games were lost due to overconfidence. In the 3rd game, it was _his_ overconfidence that lost it, in the other two, it was mine.

It’s an odd feeling. I even suddenly realized “what the heck am I doing passing up the draw against a 1900 level player where no real chances exist for either side?”, as if I forgot who the people I was playing were.

That’s the other thing, candidate moves, I felt like I was Kotov or something because I kept finding the candidate moves, and then evaluated more to choose which one. I’ve never been in that sort of zone before.

Round 1
I almost played the correct 26…a5!, but let myself get suckered into a trap with 26…Qe4??, instead. I could have sacked queen and pawn for two rooks, once I was caught, but his queen and knight would have eaten me alive in any case. I played these moves quickly, had 8 minutes left but felt “the wall” of fatigue brushing up against me at that point.

Round 2
I had planned on playing 48. h3, if he plays …g5, then simply forgot about it, so 49. gxf?? g4 won. I was getting more tired at the end of the game, and now that he pointed it out, I think his strategy for beating me on time was brilliant, as I didn’t realize how much play was left in these positions. I went to the DQ nearby for lunch, but it meant I had about 89 minutes to start the game with instead of a total of 120. Round 1, David spent a huge amount of time at the end of the first time control and got nearly even with me on time, and he slowed down after the first time control whereas I was playing those same moves rather quickly. Unfortunately, this impacted my game 2. Even when it’s not just me I am the last one done! 😉

Round 3
This game, I had seen moves such as Bd2 and g4, trapping his knight on f5, but was miscalculating. I got a little flustered at one point (tried not to show it much) because I could tell that my “calculator” was shutting down and I was starting to take lots of time. Luckily he walked into the pin. My worst game objectively speaking, but I think my style of creating complications in open postions is what brought me through. Man, if I had been playing David like this, fuhgetaboutit, methinks.

New rating is 1838. Nice, didn’t lose much, stayed in top quad.

If I keep coming (better) prepared with openings than before, and perhaps even put in a touch of endgame study just to work off any rust, and a tad of combos (combos have gotten easy and fun now), I think I should eventually approach 1900 playing with this group. To make 2000, I should really play in some Open section big tournaments so that I can take some bigger scalps. It would be hard to imagine doing better than trading wins with David at the club, if I even got that far, need to beat him first, and then also having to beat lower rated when our club plays Swiss 8-man sections.

Catalan

Nice miniature I played today on FICS. Just when I thought my goose had been cooked by the Catalan. Not just yeah, but heck yeah it’s nice to take down a Catalan.

Hey, I still want to make Expert before Ivan (not really, he’s just taking so long). I’m not dead yet!

Catalan

He had 14. Qe2, which I was worried about before I even played 13…Nxe tongue-in-cheek, but Crafty gives Black the nod ( -.6 to -.7) after 14. Qe2 anyway; then …Bd6 or Nfd7 should be Black’s follow-up reply.

15/0 game. I still had 7 minutes left to his 10.

Team competition

Our club won over La Palma’s club by one point. Unexpectedly nice/high turnout.

I played Shyam. Two short draws, one with White and one with Black. Not bad considering I had only had four hours of sleep and their coffee-maker was out of coffee (which is why I took the second draw as White). Second game I offered a draw and he seemed pleased as punch to get a draw. The move he blurted out that he would have played was inferior, so I should have waited one more move just to make sure. Since he immediately thought his move was losing, I still sorta suspect he may have found a right move. I saw a way for him to more or less equalize, that even Crafty did not see, but seemed obvious enough to me.

So, he’s currently 1694. Ratings estimator says I lose 10 points. I think I was 1854, so now it’s 1844. I was by no means stressing over the results while I was playing – in any case it was a nice way to kill time as I woke up at 5 am rather than my usual time in the afternoon, so I needed somewhere to go and be a bit tired. He was nimble in the openings (not even sure if he is a teenager or younger than that). I probably would have had to beat him on technique and drag him into a 50-60 move game. If it were slower time-controls, I also would have been more eager to play on.

Wished I wasn’t so tired and they had the normal timed tournament on Saturday. I also realized that it is more motivating to play to win a section-prize, or to try and play well against a higher-rated opponent, than simply a team event (where not losing is traditionally more important). They gave us free ChessPalace shirts for playing on their team, which was really nice.

Round 1
Game 1 I had a slight edge at the end, but was not very familiar with this opening position. I couldn’t see how to proceed, but he said I had the better chances. IMO, if I push the b pawn and capture on c3, he can recapture with a bishop on d2.

Round 2
Game 2 I expected him to play 14…Ne4 15.Rae1 (threatening Bc1, which would let the rook on d1 attack the knight on e4)…f5 16. exf where Nxf is possible. Also, he has time to play a rook to c8 before playing …f5, so that the c-paw is protected first. White then has the standard very-slight edge. He blurted out that he would have played QxQ, but almost immediately realized that it drops his c-pawn.

Somehow, I suspect he would have spent a few minutes on the move and played something better than that. I probably offered the draw quickly as an enticement for him to accept (need at least a tiny cup of instant coffee to sit there and proffer my chess-technique) as I had realized that whether or not he drops the pawn, any potential win would still be a long way off.

Tactics

Now that I’ve said that calculation is more important than tactics, I play this game. Actually, it is both as usual. Perhaps my games really are becoming more tactical. Even tactics exercises are getting easier each time I see one.

Anyway, my opponent said ‘analysisbot’ analyzed it; he had this done almost immediately after the game somehow, quite interesting tactics yes. 🙂

http://cyberfish.wecheer.com/annotated_games/3630785.html

So cool, wished I had known about this feature earlier. Here’s how to do it:
http://www.chessvideos.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5502&view=next
“tell analysisbot annotate [game history number]” (I’m putting this here for future reference).

After the game, my opponent asked what he should have done in that position, how to proceed, instead of Nf5, and I thought back of when I used to wonder this sort of thing like he was doing, or what some other players might wonder. I suggested to him Qh5 instead of g4, but even then I calculated that I think I can pull off Bd4 and Qf6, although even there the complications would probably not seem easy to say a D class player because Nd5 can attack both f6 and d4 at the same time, so the order has to be right. I look at my opening monographs or biographies and everyone is showing off their kill shots. Perhaps Teichman was right that chess is 99% tactics, but that doesn’t leave much left over for strategy then, does it?

Naturally, I missed a lot, so the look after the game was worth it.

Incidentally, Anand blitzes Kramnik FTW! I didn’t think this stuff happened at World Championship level. Kramnik is clearly winning but loses to Anand who is strong on the clock, while the position is still too tactical to blitz out the win properly. Note that I believe Kramnik can even give up the exchange at one point and still win or draw, and that’s after he missed Qb3, in favor of Qe2 earlier.

http://live.chessdom.com/kramnik-anand-2008-g3.html