1.5 out of 3 points

Round 1, beat a 1537 rated kid as Black.
Round 2, drew Simone as Black (she’s around 1900). Wild finish. I had a queen and pawn and she had rook and 3 pawns. Her clock did not have delay and luckily she was gracious enough to give me the draw as I had about 28 seconds left on my clock. If I hadn’t mismanaged my time so poorly, I would have won, but only because she kept letting me back in, of course.
Two interesting French defenses.
Round 3, lost quickly as White to Joe, French adv. var. (he’s upper 1800’s).

I’ve been going to be at 6 pm lately, but round 3 was right after round 2 because Joe never seems to need a break. From now on I am going to grab dinner before round 3. The problem with round 3 last two times is that I did not really want to play a third game, never got into it mentally, nervous energy was spent. I find that food gives me energy. It’s weird because chess doesn’t really make a person hungry, I don’t think. You don’t feel hungry, but just a little bit of food can wake you up. Driving home, I am very tired, then pick up dinner right by my house. As soon as I eat, presto, I’m instantly woken up and then type all these games in – I do this every time – that is why I should eat dinner before round 3 instead of before bed.

He pushed a pawn to dislodge my knight on f3, and then I realized I needed that defender to defend the d-pawn. Not only that, but I immediately realized he has either a bishop skewer or a knight fork, my choice, and that is basically how the game went. We blitzed from that moment on, the game lasted perhaps 20 minutes after that point, and it was right in the opening.

I realized that I don’t want to play the French Adv as White anymore. I want to play classical Nd2, more open game. Round 3 French Adv is like uggh, that is not a round 3 opening. Anything free and breezy is best bet for round 3, not another constriction BS type opening, round 2 was enough of that, but fun.

Crafty says I should have played 14. Nd1. Weird, that was my plan, Nd1-e3, just like Crafty says, it just seemed like a horrid position to have to play from because there is such a long game ahead with no clear advantage to White, yet Crafty gives White a slight edge anyhow.

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3

My new rating is 1821. Just need to get back to where I am playing round 3 well, and my rating would seemingly have been going up. It’s weird, some people play quite strong in round 3. We watched and analyzed Neal’s round 3 game. He was super-strong and the B player, Chris, was trying to go Mikhail Tal like on him, but it didn’t work, he’s too good for that. It’s odd, Neal seems lose his first round games against weaker kids, but wins his 3rd round games, and have done the opposite. Realistically, this puts too much stress on my first round games because at this rate it’s like I *must* win my 1st round so that I can go to sleep in my 3rd round(??) Just terrible idea.

I like how a couple of the kids withdraw and don’t play round 3, and sometimes only play a single round, while us adults are honor-bound to play on. Some will usually miss a round, like Chris, so he can come in fresher for that round 3. Nevertheless part of me wants as much playing experience as I can get my hands on, even if it means losing.

There was one game where Ryan was playing Joe. Ryan is 1441 or something like that and was and exchange and pawn up in a queen ending. Shoot, I could have won that game in my sleep. You could have given me a lobotomy and I would have won from that position. What does Ryan do? He, for no reason, position is not under pressure, sacs his rook for bishop then asks for a draw! Joe refuses! Shoot, I still could have won that queen ending in my sleep as Ryan cleverly cuts out any chances of perpetual, he should be able to win another pawn with soon to be passer by force, but instead trades pawns and which gives up more queen access to his king as well. It was a draw eventually.

I think I’ll take it for what it is, I was greatful for doing well in the early rounds.

Another thing, I love when my opponent gets all novel in round 1, so that I don’t have to initiate things and can simply respond, even for round 2. But round 3 is the opposite story, it’s difficult psychologically speaking to deal with novelty in round 3, I find. Even when I was mentally-wasted and hanging things, I could still calculate, that part of the brain seems to consistently stay intact, which I find amazing, but I can no longer handle novelty and simple threats which require just a little imagination. If my bed time had been later, I would have done better in that game, but just making it there and playing in any condition is a victory over not playing.

Looking over that round 3 game again with Crafty, I would love to have my position back as White, didn’t realize how perfectly things would have played out. I presume he would play differently next time, though, perhaps not …g5, who knows. A big part of Joe’s strength is keeping a person off-balance, IMHO, which also means for him switching up openings, which also always gives me chances since I feel he is pretty much winging it with whatever I’ve seen him play.

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10 thoughts on “1.5 out of 3 points

  1. Game 1 – clean technical win.
    Game 2 – I liked your attack, that e6-5 was great. Too bad you didn’t have enough time.
    Game 3 – it’s clear that you were tired. Energy is important, last time I beat that expert, I slept only 4 hours, but by evening I was OK after coffee, some food and Mars bar.

  2. lol. Thanks, Rollingpawns! Perhaps it was the food more so than the Mars bars, nevertheless I was planning on buying some chocolate, had I stepped out to the store.

    Next time I will be used to staying up later, but it’s funny how a person can think “I am too tired to drive a block to the gas station for some food, but by golly, I feel alright to play another class A player at chess!” When I used to play at Labates it was an evening round, and I would walk to the liquor store after the initial opening moves and get some food or drink, if I needed it, that was nice.

    Everyone plays so fast today, and they usually have enormous time advantages against me. Definitely there is no chance to catch a breath on their moves anymore, and a trip to the restroom usually costs me 3 minutes on my clock when I leave during their move.

  3. When it comes to that third game, defending against a kingside attack is never easy, and it’s particularly difficult in a fast game. The first question I think you have to answer in your mind is: is this attack A) total garbage; B) dangerous-looking but not positionally fully justified; C) sound and truly threatening. I think Black’s 13…g5 is more a case of B than C, but maybe you realized the danger one move too late (looks like you saw the …Bg5 problem only after he played 14…g4). Better luck next time!

  4. Interesting that I play practically the same line against Alekhine-Chatard (blitz or correspondence, didn’t have it OTB) – take the pawn, then O-O-O. It works really well and I consider it as almost a refutation of AC. I saw it first in GM Bareev’s game and then did some work.

  5. In the second game, Alekhine-Chatard so to speak, my improvement would be to have played …f6 earlier, instead …g6, which let her cramp me.

    Game three, I knew he would push g4 and that I would play Ne1, but I think my brain was swimming at that moment since I played Rc1 just so that I would make a move and not have me waiting around for him so long. I was having trouble concentrating.

    There is one rule that I remembered in the first game, but did not apply here, which is when you aren’t sure, find the best move that counters what your opponent should do. Since I already knew what his move would be, I should have figured out the best counter-plan/move but did not. I was worried about my hole/fork on b3 as it was and perhaps that drew off my attention from his other threat.

    In round 1, I feel that it’s a fair estimate that I could beat Joe 4 out of 5 times – his style is such that he spurns draws, as I’ve seen him lose a few drawn games as well, against other people. But in round 2 or 3, if I am tired, his style works very well against me. I have beaten him in round 2 and 3 before though, so it’s not impossible or anything. He moves very fast, so I have to really watch it against him. He can blitz out crazy moves all day long. I saw him playing before round 1, blitzing and we was playing just total crap, IMHO. Moving pieces back and forth repeatedly, wasting tempos and not finding best squares for his pieces. He should have lost to that 1400 level player very easily. But he can sort of blitz you with weird moves from move one on, and he is obviously very capable tactically, just plays a brand of crazy-@ss chess.

    Here is a hypothetical result of how the game could have turned out. Note that I had to help Crafty out from making a couple bad defensive and one sub-optimal attacking move for him – which means I probably knew better than Crafty that he could indeed pull something off using his style in this game. Incidentally, I note that I am strategically outgrowing Crafty’s strategic moves/plans on quite a few moves here and there in my games. Crafty is still better than me, but not always.
    hypothetical game

    I guess I just found my last Dan Heisman quote a little to late. On his ‘Safety and Counting’ video, he says that – to paraphrase – many beginners thing that strategy is more important than safety, but that actually it’s the opposite, safety is the important aspect to a chess position. I was too caught up in strategy when I made that mistake, and forgot the most basic thing even that I was losing a d-pawn defender after …g4. Incidentally, I liked his …h5 in that position, or at least appreciated the purpose of it backing up his knight on f5 from being knocked off with g4, and also continuing an attack there; it was the …g5 move that I was questioning.

    Unfortunately, my one mistake was compounded yet even more by another precept I neglected, yet discovered long ago; which is that if you don’t punish a bad move, or at least answer it, then it usually becomes the winning move, even if it’s simply a strategic move. Not that his …g5 move was bad, but it was a critical move that needed to be answered immediately, and could not be ignored for now. Nd1 was answering it immediately. So next time I am tired I have to remember/think, forget all this long-term attack stuff for a moment, how must his last move be answered *immediately*. In game 2, the thing that kept me around was that I was anticipating her attack for most of the game. That’s the thing about playing an A player over a C player is that I spend more of my moves anticipating an A players attack, or would lose almost effortlessly.

    My problem that I perceive in chess is that I usually have to win brilliantly, like an Expert, but when I lose, I lose like an E player, no offense to E players. What makes me unique is that I put so much energy into my games (early rounds), unlike most other players (David is the only other player at the club that I think does this like I do – Neal is so good that he can do this when it’s needed more, as opposed to on every move.), so that once I am tired its can look I forgot how to play chess, it’s so bad. It’s not even a ‘competitive loss’, it’s more like a ‘what happened?’

    There is a good chance that I will only play 2 rounds on Saturdays from now on, withdraw and not play for a prize.

  6. Maybe you should try to play more simple openings/variations in the first 1-2 rounds, not necessarily drawish, just less time/energy consuming.
    I always play classical Nd2. Just tried Nc3 in 2 correspondence
    games – what’s in one I already don’t like, will see about another.
    By the way, playing yesterday against Advance, I got 2 people ( 1 blitz, 1 corr. ) in this trap :
    1. e4 e5 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Qb6
    8.Bc2 Nb4 9.Bb3 Qa6 10. Nc3 Nd3+

  7. Wow, that is an elegant solution! (over Bb5 and Ba6, the queen does not get kicked on b6 now.) I never would have thought of that. The advantage of that, besides winning, is that it controls the a4 square. That is one of the principles I found about chess that I like, attack the square that is about to attack you, you beat him to the punch.

    I changed my mind, I like my openings, have more ideas in them. Nd2 and Nc3 seem so boring unless Black plays …Nf6. The people who blitz have more energy for round 3. 3 rounds favors people who can blitz strongly and are strong players. Actually, by taking a lot of time against them, they can get even more impatient and make blitz-like mistakes. Actually, I don’t even make too many mistakes in blitz, so they simply get impatient by the wait.

  8. Tarrasch and Winnawer variations seem boring, but perhaps that’s only when I look at the theory, but the Steinitz var. which I play seems more exciting. Actually, the Winnawer is very exciting when I have played it as White, but the theory makes it seem dumb to play it. It’s really Black who needs to know the theory to equalize, but it seems straightforward, try to keep the game fluid as Black.

    The Tarrasch main line, if both sides played theory it would be a boring draw. It’s sort of all out there in the open, nothing horribly subtle about it except for Black in the first couple of moves. I played an interesting Tarrasch the other day, was forced into it from the exchange variation actually. It was very interesting because White played this Qe2 variation (which is bad, really), but at least it got interesting. I lost, saw his winning tactic as I finished my move, probably just got off the phone as well. But the way to defend that position as Black (he had not castled) was very interesting, as he had played Qb5 and Black was to gain the advantage.

  9. I see those openings in a very different way, especially the Winawer. The Poisoned Pawn Winawer (where White grabs the pawns on g7 and h7) has always been one of the sharpest and most complicated opening lines in chess, and both sides have plenty of interesting deviations earlier as well. At least I can see where you’re coming from with respect to the Tarrasch – I assume you mean 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 exd5 is drawish. It certainly is a quiet line, but not without poison as Karpov showed back in his prime. And these days Black tends to prefer 4…Qxd5 anyway, which is a much more unbalancing line – in the main line, for example, White sacrifices a knight on g7 but tries to trap Black’s bishop on h2. Don’t forget, a player as bloodthirsty as Topalov found 3.Nd2 interesting enough to play against Kamsky during their match earlier this year.

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