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:
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.
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.
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.