I learned something about “experimenting” today

And in my case the lesson was “Don’t do it, if you value your rating points!”

Game 1 I played David, he’s rated 1977. Tried some cocky opening against the Catalan (yes, that one again, my nemesis opening) that I knew shouldn’t work, but what they hey, we come play chess to have fun, right??! Yeah, riiiggghhht. Hey, maybe something interesting, and at least I’ll get an endgame was the thinking. Well, that’s not quite how chess goes. A strategically busted position is also usually a tactically busted position as well, so I went down in flames. Really, I saw his moves anyway except for one tactical recapture, so I really didn’t learn much of anything except not to experiment, if I think something might not be sound.

I think it’s safe to say that < 1% of my games on FICS were against the Catalan (can't even remember any, really, maybe one or two). My friend Shawn showed me an easy way to handle it, play c6 and not e6, giving the bishop a chance to get out, so I'll probably give that a go.

So that game was a loss, and my hopes for the day at this point weren't exactly high by any stretch, to put it mildly.

Game 2, face Alfred, 1853. I feel if I were Catholic I would be petitioning the Pope to declare my wins as miracles/ an Act of God, because I really botched this one. He had a move that wins on the spot but moved too fast but I could tell from from his reaction a moment later that he had seen it. I saw it as soon as I took my hand off the king, naturally.

So that game was a win.

Game 3, faced Neal in round 3, also rated 1977, never beat him before. This time, once again, I decided "No experiments!" I was itching to queenside castle but played it by the book instead. It was a Pirc (I was already happy at that point, if you've followed my preferences, I have no qualms playing against the Pirc for a win). Somehow, again Act of God. How many times I almost blundered pieces and caught notice of the fork as I was reaching for the king. Jeez, hallelujah! I'm sorry, I almost have to laugh at myself at this point. So I finally beat him as it turns out. As usual, I am always the last one done and find new and creative ways of making a game interesting instead of shutdown closing it out.

My new chess rating is 1854, up from 1825.

Yep, 90% of success is showing up, I can confirm this adage.

I have nooo idea how I'm going to pull off anything next week in G/90 as I can barely keep it together as it is in 30/90 SD/30, but will try. πŸ˜‰ I think the most important thing is finding an opening line that you know down cold, if you think it's going to be too fast for you. I will be playing another near Expert in that 2 round match. πŸ™‚

Round 1

Okay, looking at games with Crafty now. Wow, game 1 I was about to play 16. Nxe a couple of times, wanted to, but I thought that was losing the e-pawn and that my game was done, so I went for something stupid that I knew probably wasn’t going to work anyway. Bad call. I completely over-reacted to having a backward. Waaayy too down on myself during the game at that time. People were starting to crowd around after their games were done during this move, and I thought they were waiting for him to finish me off or something. I was actually still wondering whether I even belonged at this rating, and all morning was thinking wasn’t it really just some mad ego-driven fluke that I got to this rating? now I am going to get my butt kicked for real. haha. I wrote my own epitaph on this one.

Round 2

If you want to know why I start blundering in Game 2 with a winning position, giving up my h-pawn and running to the hills with my king, it’s because Alfred takes hardly no time at all to make his moves and he was blitzing me in what looked like sure time-trouble doom for me. For him it was basically an “Action” game. I was like “Represent!” in this game after it got out of the opening. That is what confidence will do for you and lack of will do against you (round 1). The thing that irked me is that I missed 0-0-0 attacking my rook, and the Seven Circles dude showed that diagram of how we won a game on the spot this exact same way! I was thinking to myself “Hell no am I going to let a seven circles move beat me.” hehe.

Round 3

Well, at least round 3 game can speak for itself. He was nice to me before the game. It’s funny, sometimes you don’t know what is left in the tank before a third round and after a round 2 game that ended soon before then. It was weird, the playing hall was cleared out by around 9:30 pm. Our game was done last. Usually it ends around 10:30-11:30 pm. It’s interesting how many errors he made by Crafty’s count. Sorta strange, makes it seem like this was another game of capitalizing on mistakes, or what I like to call “picking up breadcrumbs”. That f4 move was so slow, and I has happy to see that choice of attack. Neal admitted afterward that he needed a more speedy attack.

I really enjoy getting technical victories against people that are strong because it lets me know that my technique can hold up against theirs, should I have to trust it or even rely on it to get me out of a defensive jam. I look as much for validation as I do the victory, particularly if I haven’t beaten someone that is near Expert before.

At some point, I would hope that my new found confidence would lead to not taking so darn long on my moves. But what is confidence(?). All I can say is that for my two wins I took advantage of their errors. I did not blow anybody away as much as they did it to themselves, and that is chess for you. I think confidence is sticking up for your ideas (such as openings) and convictions (such as technique). Someone lower-rated than me on FICS once said that “confidence is bad”, but I disagree then and now, you simply have to have the skill to go along with your confidence and beginners sometimes lack that.

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4 thoughts on “I learned something about “experimenting” today

  1. I agree with you! I don’t think confidence is bad at all. In fact I think TRUE confidence is mandatory to succeed in almost any endeavor. Webster defines Confidence as:

    Confidence: faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way

    While it defines arrogance as:

    Arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claim

    I am confident that I can learn how to play chess. However if I thought I already knew how to really play that would be arrogance!! πŸ™‚

    Without the aforementioned confidence that I CAN indeed learn I would not continue.

    If a person is arrogant then they will be so unclear as to to their actual ability level that they will never truly improve. Someone who has actual confidence will be open to improvement methods and suggestions.

    So I believe you are 100% correct that confidence is a good thing.

  2. Congratulations on a great result – 2/3.

    Game 1 looks like you were having a bad day. Yeah, it’s better to experiment on FICS, not OTB.
    Game 2 – his idea of creating pawn structure weaknesses on your side got him delayed in development and it showed with b7 loss, then simple tactics finished him off. Is it a mistake in notation on move 39 or what?
    Game 3 – I liked your positional play on the queenside and yes, f4 was slow. I like to play f5 myself, and don’t like playing against it.
    I don’t think his exchange sac was necessary and then it was technically won endgame.

  3. RollingPawns – No mistake there on move 39 in game 2, as even Crafty was tracking our moves here, we both made best moves. I was amazingly fortunate to have found best moves, as my brain was pretty much fried at this point. Neal pointed out after the game that my opponent had a draw with 35. Kd8, and then I go for 3-fold repetition by checking him on f7 and f8 over and over again with my rook.

    The thing I didn’t realize about experimentation is that you can end up in positions which may not objectively be all that bad, but in which you are not personally comfortable with due to lack of familiarity or personal style. Of course, if I could go back in time I would see if I could draw that position.

    To some extent, I am like the pitcher that the batters haven’t faced before so they are probably learning that I don’t play indifferently. Once people have faced me more, perhaps they will look for draws. I mean all 3 of my games were wins one way or another, which tells me that part of it is probably due to lack of information. David won again, as Shawn drew against him on the final game for 2.5 total. I tied Shawn for second with 2.

    TommyG, you are so right on with your remarks, confidence vs arrogance, yes. Thanks for that and for visiting my blog! Just about no one new ever visits here. lol.

    Anything that I can do, you can do in your games sometime. Crafty doesn’t approve of enough of my or my opponents moves to make anyone feel that they “deserved” their win. I didn’t know how to handle the opening in game 2 and Crafty let me know that he let me get away with getting an advantage, which means that even I wasn’t playing it right I guess, drats.

    Another thing about confidence, I took a long time in game 3, for example, to play Na7, but I wanted to play it right away. A GM was even looking at our position at that point (he just happened to stop by that day), on this very move. I could have played it in front of him, but waited till he walked away. That is how much lack of confidence I had. But the fact that I won and Crafty saw the same thing let me feel relieved that I shouldn’t doubt myself too much.

    Shoot, I need to buy a new clock with delay. I paid over $200 for this clock many years ago, 10 years ago or more, never used it that much, but I can’t use the delay on it properly. When I use delay, it times out after the first time control and doesn’t switch over to the second time control. Delay is crucial for endgames. it’s the difference between 2 minutes being scads of time or not enough. With delay I was using 1-3 seconds per move, usually only 1 second.

  4. Game 1 are you trying to play like me now!!!!!!
    Game 2 very good endgame play.Running for the hills and giving up your h pawn does not look right but it worked.
    Game 3 very good sound play.

    Well done as Rolling pawns said 2/3 very good.
    Each game you played against higher ratings,which is tough.

    Confidence is a state of mind.

    Some people have a quiet inner confidence,that does not always come across outwardly.

    Some radiate confidence,these are the people i have trouble with.

    Others have a in your face confidence that borders on brash and/or arrgance.

    I think confidence is familiarity with what you are doing.
    Confidence can’t win you a game,but your opponents confidence may scare enogh you to lose.

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