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.

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19 thoughts on “1.5/3

  1. Hmm, somebody plays the same stuff against 1.e4 as I do 🙂
    Interesting how in the last game the knight ending is so easily won for Black.

  2. Yes, I am starting to think that these kids cannot easily construct a middlegame with decent attacking chances.

    I kept wondering to myself “what is the point of all this?” I think the point is that I should be winning the endgames against these kids like everyone tells me I should! Note to self, win even endgames vs. kids!

    Note to self 2, go with my intuition against people who, just for the sake of it, mix it up tactically from bad positions. These players need to be put down OTB every time. My rating is practically based on putting down crazy attacks where I didn’t really deserved to be attacked. I mean, I am not saying that justified attacks are easy to stop, but I get a lot of unjustified ones thrown at me. It takes too much time off my clock to mix-it-up with them just for the fun of it.

  3. I must congratulate you with using all your time. It’s better to lose that way then quickly by a stupid blunder.

    Even when we play slow we make blunders, that’s nature. One day we are God the other day its as if we only have learned the rules of the game. Heck, it doesn’t need to be days, hour(s) is enough to have such radical swing of strongness.

  4. Thanks, Chesstiger!

    So true. Clock time can prevent a multitude of sins. I haven’t been attacked in seemingly a while OTB, so I remembered that it can be difficult psychologically to defend. A person can feel almost morally beaten even if the position is objectively even or ahead, because of getting attacked. It felt like I was using all my time getting nowhere, but its something that has to be accepted. If anything, I should have used as much time there as needed to avoid that blunder.

  5. Game 1 looked drawish to me until 26. gxf3, I don’t understand this move, then he made more mistakes.

    Game 2 – first I wanted to criticize you for accepting such “gift”, but then remembered correspondence Blumenfeld countergambit game which I am playing as Black now, where I couldn’t resist the piece offered like in your game for the price of castling (though I managed to exchange the queens). Fritz 11 doesn’t like his 13. … Bh5 sac, also his 15. … Bh6, as well as 15. Nexd4, preferring 15. h4 and instead of 20. Qg3 – 20. Kd1 with almost a pawn advantage for White. The thing is, it’s difficult to defend such positions in limited time, we are not computers. Regarding the time, I do not agree with chesstiger, I think it’s bad that you again had 5 minutes for 10 moves. As well as you getting rid of your coffee dependence you should get rid of your timing problem. Look at Ivanchuk, how many games he spoiled because of that.
    Dan Heisman says:
    “if you can get 15 minutes left to 5 in an even position,
    it is like adding 200 points to your rating, or raising a 50-50 chance
    to 75-25!”
    Think about it – you are giving your opponent these chances!

    In the game 3 he clearly played for a draw. Fritz evaluates the final position as -0.07, but as you guys saying and I also think it’s the rook that keeps him alive, as soon as you exchange them it drops to -1.20.

    I think it’s great that you are able to play 3 rated OTB games every weekend, don’t worry about the rating, but you should get max out of every game – opening lines, middlegame strategy, tactics and endgame lessons.

  6. Game 1 very good endgame the knight was always more active than the bishop.26…gxf3 was the mistake that lets in the knight,simple fork one pawn down.

    Game 2 13…Bh5 did he not see 14.g5
    What was 26.f4. what about 26.Nf5+ that wins the d pawn,no thats crap forget it he would swop rook for bishop and knight.
    Go back to your safe king aggressive play leave this unsafe king less aggressive play behind.

    Game 3 2 good central pawns but hi 3 queenside ones also look good.

    If you are whening yourself off caffine thats good but it can play tricks with your body while this is happening.

    Never say you are getting old,you are just more experienced than you were last year.

  7. Hehe. Thanks, ChessX!

    You are right, I didn’t want to say this, but it was playing tricks on my body. Before that blunder I really wanted to (physically) quit the game and that has never really happened to me before. Mentally I was fine. Even played a bunch of games on FICS on Sunday and went over some games from my new Scotch book by Gary Lane.

    No, when quitting coffee (did it before, and then foolishly restarted), it plays havoc with adrenaline to the heart, or at least in my case it did. That’s part of the reason my play has tanked the last few weeks (sleeping messed up was the other part), but on Saturday it was the havoc it was playing on my heart. In round 1, my heart started beating rapidly as he forced me to attack him as it looked like he was going for the draw. Game 2, after I went for g4, heart unexpectedly started beating rapidly. By Game 3 I just wanted to give it a break, when he offered the draw.

    This really was coffee-related (withdrawl), heck I’m not really _that_ old. I’m over the coffee stage, though, or I would be too self-conscious to post/admit this.

    I’ve figured something else out though, much bigger deal than that. I’ve had this sort of revelation that I need to stick with visualizing the board and not play from “looking at the board” so much. I am able to visualize the squares and the game in my mind from these games. It would probably be better, to some extent, if I played these games blindfolded.

    When I look at the board, it gets more overwhelming than it should be. Heck, sometimes I will momentarily see the knight jumping over to a square it can’t even get to simply because I see a fork there. Chess is much more simple than that, physically speaking, with the pieces and board, it’s not that big.

    The other thing is, and I “hate” to use Polly as an example, but I don’t think you can really get much past the 1700 doldrums when you are paying too much attention to your opponent, spectators, etc. For instance, the round 1 and 3 kids both seemed to have a cold. Round 1 opponent was sneezing and I said “bless you” a couple times. I almost asked my round 3 opponent if he had a cold, but realized how rude that sounds. He was making these choking sounds before his moves, rubbing his nose with the back of his hand, and I felt sorry for him even. Yes, all of this is distracting even though he seemed like a very sweet kid, but we all have these OTB nervous habits to some extent or another.

    And that’s the other thing, you have to block this out because it doesn’t happen online. Oddly, long ago, my heart did race during online blitz situations, and now it virtually never does. OTB and online, two different creatures, which is what makes it so important to “think” (visualize) and not “see” (scanning the board too many times).

    RollingPawns, thanks for commenting. I agree with you on Ivanchuk, Heisman, and playing the whole game (not worrying about losing rating points). I am thinking of covering my forehead with my hand or wearing a hat (for the visor) next time I get in time-trouble like that. I really need to forget that I am playing an opponent because the board is so much easier to play than to let an opponent get into one’s head. It’s important to block things out when the opponent has a lot of time like that because you never know when they will move, and you can’t let that get to you; it’s “poker-face” time. I don’t think that the clock was the real issue, it was and it wasn’t. Certainly 6 minutes for 11 moves is terrible time-management, although I would probably even spot him the 200 points because I’ve played him enough times to have a feel for that. My time-trouble has been inexcusable, but I think that other non-chess factors were at work.

    ChessX, 26 f4. was a time-pressure blunder. Nxa(7) would have been better. I wanted Nf5 but RxN BxN QxB is two pieces for the rook. Crafty played …Re5 even, so he knows how to find the sterile defensive moves, just like I can, because the game was really already over, even though Crafty had it at like I was only down -1.67 or something if I had taken his a pawn.

    RP, game 1, I thought he would play gxN just to to try and mess me up; the only reason I played that move is because I thought I was winning a queenside pawn with my knight. Perhaps he could counter it somehow because Crafty didn’t seem to get me much of a nod over it, so I guess there is something there that me and him probably didn’t see – I had thought I was winning a pawn, game over, either way.

    ChessX and RP, I will go back to my safe king aggressive play. 🙂

    It was dumb. I had his d-pawn. Let’s say he castles queenside, he needs to play a6 first, then I will take Nd4. Odds are that I also play Be2. Okay, so he plays …g5…g4 Bxg BxB QxB, so now he has his open g-file, but not quite, his bishop on g7 is blocking it. I actually thought he might play …Be5 and …Qf6 during the game, but I looked at it afterwards and it didn’t seem to work out enough to nullify a White advantage – not that he would even necessarily have seen that. Meanwhile there is not much protecting his king as I could play Rb1, b4. Once that b-file opens up he could be in a lot more trouble than I. This would be my typical play. When he played Bh5, I noted David sitting across from me do an eye-roll (he didn’t know I was looking at him when he did that), which made me feel even more self-conscious if I did nothing about it. This is what I mean, I let myself become foolishly distracted, I was never originally planning to take his dumb bishop. I became distracted, lol. I think I know why Polly loses some of her games now.

    But I was right about one thing, as far as the result of the game, if he castled kingside, I could probably recover in any case, I just didn’t realize how much that would take out of me on that day, physically.

    The real reason I should have punished him with a simpler try for a win is that I think he messed up in the opening after …e5 d5, not following up with …Ne7 then …f5. I was a lot more worried about that! And now I didn’t get a chance to look at it OTB.

    Oh, back to my original point. I’ve seen Shabalov walk around during a game once, over 10 years ago, I said “hi” to him in a soft-voice and nodded as we were walking past each other in the hallway. He stared into my eyes, but had this look like he “wasn’t there” and was simply observing me (also gave me a “tough look” for some reason, as if I were “misplaced”, but I was walking fast), but I realize now, and basically realized then, that he was most likely analyzing the game in his mind, away from the board, as he paced down the narrow hallway. Then he walked back to his game and kept analyzing during the other person’s move. There were so few pieces left that I wondered what he was analyzing so much about, but by then he was looking at the board again.

  8. You are right about distractions, I try to pay as less attention as possible to the opponent, don’t play these body/face language games at all. At the same time if I played with that person before I try to get max from my previous experience – choice of the opening/opening lines, strategy, etc.

    By the way I am still having some problems in that game were bishop (for 2 pawns) looked like a wrapped gift 🙂

  9. “body/face language games”

    lol. Well said. I am starting to think that’s exactly what they are.

    I need to play these games out and stop being so easy/uncertain on myself.

    When I was going over the game with William, blitzing it out, he had the opportunity to play …g5, but instead each time played …Qd7, loading up on my g4 pawn for the sac there. It’s tricky because then his queen is on light squares, so it is probably best to take the bishop on h5 then.

    He was outplaying me, the last time he got his Nb6-a4-c3-d5 or something like that and then he had RxB on e2, then ..d3, forking rooks on e2 and c2 (he had already played …d4). I would definitely not want to play Willam at Action Chess. He is 1800’s rating, and every bit of it. Actually, I pointed out the RxB sac to him later. Definitely would need to improve there and not play b3, letting his knight on a4 get to c3.

    I think you mean you would rather have the bishop than the two-pawns + attack. I guess it depends on when I take his bishop on h5, really. Crafty and Fritz both like that h4 idea. Problem with Crafty is that he later changes his mind (typical, though not frequent, of Crafty’s king-defense sort of analysis, the algorithm must reward max aggressiveness). I guess it “could” depend, I would need to look at it more, but the h4 idea seems a little out there, definitely looking win or lose; h4 is playing “va banque”. It seems to lose, but perhaps you are right, Ke1 giving a piece back once a rook pins it on along the e-file, and then get a pawn out of it somewhere, all told. Plausible, yes, and perhaps that’s the way to play the bishop take. Got to like Fritz. 😉 No, Steinitz, it was Stenitz’ idea! 😀

  10. I personally don’t like my king chased along the board. I play aggressively and risky sometimes, but it ends there, material is fine, but not the king. It almost never ends well, these exercises. I just took the bishop because I couldn’t resist :), and it’s a correspondence game.

  11. I just dropped a piece in a Sicilian on FICS, my last game this morning. Check it out, he puts his king in the center of the board and even Crafty couldn’t help me after the game with that one, he was simply up a piece, even mated me nicely (well, I resigned a move before). Kid was only 12 years old when he wrote his bio page on FICS, and admits he’s no Expert on the endgame, was once rated over 2000 on FICS.

  12. I saw it. Yeah, his king danced in the center and actually there were no danger at any moment. Funny, but that’s chess, nothing is absolute. I should say he played really well, I can believe he was 2000.

  13. That same kid kicked my butt again today.

    I was just looking for a quick game. Traded my light bishop, bad thing to do, then should have played Nb8, but he took over the dark squares by sham-sac of the exchange to get 3 pieces for the rook. It’s pretty amazing combo for how super-simple it is, removing defender and double-attack.

  14. I saw it, yeah simple and winning. But it looks like a different guy, it’s C11 game and the first one was B33, right?
    I had a nice combo yesterday, look for the last C02 game, 19 moves. It was half-calculated, half-intuitive, I only had 2.5 minute left. It’s a good calculating exercise actually. Funny, in C41 game, 44 moves I had 0.3 sec left and mate in 1 move, I even put my rook over this square, but still lost with -0.2 sec.

  15. Oh yeah, you are right about my games, RP. I lost that first C11 because I was showing a room to a prospective tennant during the game, but I wasn’t protecting my e6 square for most of the game anyway.

    In game 1, he should have played Qxf7 not Nxf7. I liked your planned double-check with the knight. He hardly had anything to defend with, so your intuition alarms going off was right on. 9..Ng6 was one of those comical blitz moves, as you had better stuff like …h6 and …d4 with …Nd5; even …Nf5 held better. His queen was exposed, though, so you had that part right, Black should be winning.

    It sounds like you should have used a “pre-move” in game 2 – I can do that with Winboard. You play rook check, then as soon as it recognizes the move, you play Rc8, so that no matter what he moves your next move, if still a legal move, will be Rc8, but mate is forced in this case. It doesn’t eat up more than .4 of a second, and I think 0.0 still wins since it’s not negative. Only way I found out about that is when people did that to me.

    You could have saved yourself all that effort though with 33. h3, then 34. Re1…Qe5 35. RxQ; it’s remarkable that he doesn’t seem to have any attack that wouldn’t further loosen his position. That was a nice mating net though that you used. You would have won on material, but he needed to play QxB(on f7), then offer a queen trade to try and win on time.

  16. Hey! I am back from my tour.

    I quite coffee years ago and then started up again in Graduate School. Haven’t kicked it since! I also try to drink more tea. Especially green tea.

    I am going to read and reread your comments from Greg’s Chess Progress about learning openings. I need to get my openings with white to some semblance of stability!!

  17. Hi Tommy!

    Yeah, I did try to throw in a quiet line on your blog, but I think it’s best as White to pick out a main line; after all, you are playing White!

    Perhaps this playing White/Black thing goes in waves for people. Right now I only want to play …exd in the French, am really not prepared to handle the French all that well if someone actually played it solidly. The thing that saves me with the French, as Black, is generally how bad everyone seems to play it against me, not that I wouldn’t suck at it if they tested me more. At slow time-controls, I can generally hold, and this is what saves me more than anything else, time and an ability to calculate.

    Next time I would have a cup of coffee from the machine, if I am feeling happy to accept anyone’s draw. The game is more important. Away from chess, I don’t feel that I need it now anywhere remotely close to what I once did. I can drink decaf anyway, if I really need some coffee.

    I was going to play 2.c3 Sicilian just because one person I may play, Shawn, is master of the Accelerated Dragon. Scr*w that, I will simply play Nc3 instead of a Yugoslav attack, activate my pieces more. Actually, I think it would be better to play into his theory even than accept c3 Sicilian even though he says he hates it. Yeah, right, he plays c3 Sicilian as White, and knows the thematic sacs. So I should cow down to his defense of Black? I’m am afraid not, no way jose. Last time I tried to play a Maroczy bind against it and let him get in Ng4-NxB(e3), well, I am not going to go down that simple (that was maybe a year or two ago).

  18. That was an interesting game you had against Winston. I was surprised he played gxf3 instead Bxf3. Even without the annoying fork allowing you to win the pawn, taking with the bishop keeps his pawn structure intact. I was also surprised that he played Kg4 followed by Kf4. It seemed like he play Kf4 straight away. He still might not get over to the queen side in time.

    I guess my prediction about his rating shooting up over 1800 is going to come true. I see he’s up to 1781.

    This is Polly. I’m logged in under my chess club blog that I’ve started at wordpress.

  19. Hi, Polly. I think he should reach 1800, as well. He is amazing at handling the defense and finding only moves against sacrificial mating attacks, like the way he drew against Shawn, but that is not my typical style. My chess hero was Karpov, so my attack resembles a shot from the dark more, and when you don’t see something coming, simple moves often-times, it’s easier to get suckered in. Yes, I was surprised by his king-walkabout, and in hindsight the pawn-chain is better kept together, but I sensed it was more a psychological reaction to try and throw me off, in this case, a rather quick move once he saw what was up.

    The chess club seems basically like an inactive site.

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