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.

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8 thoughts on “Team competition

  1. I can’t believe they were out of coffee!!

    Interesting short games! It is hard for me at this point to be able to see that either one of them are obviously draws although they both look about equal at the positions which each game ended. What were the time controls?

    And why on earth were they out of coffee!!???

  2. hehe.

    Hi Tommyg! Exactly, why were they out? I told them to restock it as it just puts out hot-water, no coffee left inside of their vending machine.

    It’s funny playing someone (anyone) lower-rated because some of them will take the draw. He had plenty of energy, not sure why he was so interested in the draws.

    I keep thinking of this one guy I talked to at the Pacific Southwest, he has been playing as long as I remember (Expert) going to these tournaments and we were talking about openings. He said “It’s all known nowdays, everybody knows this stuff” regarding openings, and I chuckle to myself when I think of him saying that because a lot of B level players for instance, it’s hard to get any opening advantage, you almost have to expect that they do their falling apart later in the game.

    I looked at Polly’s game against that IM. For 17 moves, respectable game, then fall apart. It’s almost not about the game anymore, but about your opponent, where does this person tend to fall apart?

    Tommy, the time control was G/90. We could have had some fun games. I feel bad for drawing them since I normally would not do that.

  3. 4 hours of sleep doesn’t stimulate an active play, so I understand you.

    In the 1st game b4 is probably the only plan. I like your 2 bishops and would try to use it. Same in the game 2. Anyway, yeah, it looks like a long story, both games, maybe just trying to overplay him positionally or in the endgame.

    I think it’s OK, you got another 2 OTB games and tried G/90.

  4. Dont you just hate these long games!!!!!!

    When i take the children from my chess club to tournaments some adults have (in england we call them) a thermos flask, with tea or coffee in.They keep hot drinks hot or cold drinks cold.
    I dont know what you call them in America,but it may be useful to have one of them,as a back up.

  5. Black is much better in the final position of game 1. His has two bishops and his minority attack is in full swing on the queenside, while White’s pieces are in a jumble on the kingside. You should study how White plays the standard minority attack in the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined if you don’t know how to handle this position – the structure is identical. For example, it’s common knowledge after …b4 and …bxc3 White should generally recapture with the pawn and not the bishop; it’s easier to defend the pawn on c3 than the two pawns on b2 and d4.
    The second game is pretty even, but Black is definitely not worse after 14…Ne4 14.Rae1 f5! – for example, 15.exf6 (if White doesn’t take then his weak queenside pawns and Black’s beautiful light-square control add up to a plus for Black) 15…Rxf6 16.Bxe4 (16.Bc1 Nd6 17.Qxc6 Bxc6 and White’s bishops might compensate for his weak pawns) 16…Qxe4 17.Qxe4 Bxe4 18.Bxc5 Bxc2 looks like a drawn opposite-coloured bishop endgame to me.
    The two games make an interesting contrast as to when the two bishops constitute an advantage – in the first game they would’ve been a terrible force to reckon with, while in the second they’re only just good enough to cancel out White’s pawn weaknesses.

  6. Aziridine, thanks! You are right, after say ….Qa5 Bd2 ….b4 cxb …Bxb BxB QxB, White has b2 and d4 to defend. looks crushing with the c-file for the rooks, too and the bishop looking better than the knight unless he can work up an attack on my king to offset this.

    This is the difference I see now, stronger players get stronger positions, it’s not that “Oh goodie, he finally dropped a piece”, it’s about out-working the opponent on the board.

    Yes, you are right, it really was a draw in game 2, good eye. Next time I play him though, I mean I must punish these 1700 or lower players OTB. If they find the draw, they find the draw, but I must be willing to work much harder even if it means I get tired and “accidentally” drop a piece or something. Not sure I am going to get “that” tired these days. I’ve been playing long enough to not really need that excuse so much. Tiredness should affect my analysis more than my board-vision, really.

    Truthfully, I felt “stronger” than him after game 2, and I even started to notice it after game 1, when we were analyzing. It just seemed to me that he was “noticing” things and jumping straight to the conclusion as to which side was winning rather than sitting still for a decent moment and actually _analyzing_/calculating the position. I mean, if we were playing bullet chess, then okay whatever, but this is “standard” chess.

  7. And regarding your point on openings, my experience has been different – very few class players actually know what they’re doing in the opening. In the first game for instance 3.Nd2?! was weak (after your 3…Bf5 Black was already equal) and 10.Bg4? just horrible – in a Stonewall structure, trading that light-squared bishop for a knight is positional suicide. Meanwhile you had no need to play 8…h6, which would’ve helped him open lines to your king after 10.g4 and later g4-g5. Just 8…0-0! was good; 9.g4? Ne4! 10.gxf5?? Qh4+ mates, and 10.0-0 Nxd2 11.Bxd2 Be4 looks good for Black.
    In the second game 5.Be3 looks inaccurate to me and your opponent showed why with 6…Bb4. I think he should’ve taken time out to play 9…h6 though because Bg5!? looked interesting on any of White’s next three moves. In general you can see that these B-class players give you plenty of chances to outplay them in the opening; you just have to find them.
    Remember too that your rating is not determined by how well you analyze in the post-mortem! Most kids have a hard enough time sitting still during the game, let alone the analysis afterwards. And then there are plenty of players who see everything after the game but nothing during it.

  8. Aziridine, thank you for your expertise!!

    First game analysis, like it _a lot_, appreciate the comments from an Expert.

    Second game, yes Bg5, hadn’t occured to me. I could probably get him to play h6 and g5, then maybe chip away with h4 and simply move my king to f1, perhaps. Open the game up more for my bishops, in any case.

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