The American Open

0-2 start

Game 1, 1988 guy, had a serious demeanor. It went to an opposite-colored bishop ending where he still had some tricks, and it looked like I merely needed to shuffle around my queenside rook. But I decided to move my queen instead, as I was marking time. It was an instant blunder, but the interesting thing was that he suddenly played a 3-4 move combo in less than a minute. This took me by surprise since it was move 38 and I thought he would wait until time after reaching time-control. I had 4 minutes left and he had 6 minutes, but I was way too focused on his clock and thinking he wouldn’t suddenly blitz anything like he did.

Game 2, I was going to play a super-safe, solid CK line from the Zurich ’53 tournament and try and grind this 1719 kid for a positional win. But then we sat there and had to wait for the official start of the round, and I began to feel sorry for him as we talked before the game, and didn’t want to beat him. So I tried my pet-line CK Advanced var. instead, figuring he could trot out his opening theory at least, and we would have a fun game. Things went bad quickly and I was starting to think “I’m not actually going to lose the whole game due to his superior opening preparation, am I?” The answer to that question would be yes. It was not safe to play a risky variation merely because he is 100 points lower rating.

Even the guy I wanted to play that had won the B section at the Pac SW tournament, he sat next to me and lost his round 1 game, and I was already feeling sorry for him too, older guy, talked with him for a moment.

Naturally, Crafty says in round 2 I should have gone for what I figured I should have gone for – you get a good sense once you lose doing the other thing. I didn’t visualize the attack correctly, though, the number of Black pawn weaknesses. Also, I didn’t handle the branching correctly “If he does this, then he can’t do that” particularly in regards to his queen attacking and yet also coming back to defense. It’s harder to do this in the second game of the day than it is in the first, in my experience so far. At the beginning of the game, I felt shaky mentally, like I was seeing things too subjectively.

The other thing I learned, didn’t do though, when all fails – attack. Good or bad, and it’s often better than we expected, at least it forces your opponent to respond to your attack instead you to his, especially when you don’t particularly like your position either way. I almost went for that too, seemed right just couldn’t calculate it correctly. There was a brilliant finish, if I only I had played the other way I had been considering, with pressure on c6. The problem I ran into during this game, besides the 2 large Starbuck’s coffees seemingly having no effect, is that I was seeing 3 moves ahead, but not 4-5 or more moves ahead. That is what I have to do, see 4-5 moves ahead, that is what is holding me back. It’s like I see the 3 moves ahead and notice the ideas, but am simply not calculating that deeply/far ahead enough.

The strange part is that if this I had been a blitz game, my natural reaction was to make the right moves on ‘general principle’, but OTB I felt like I should use all my time and try to calculate, but that is where I went wrong, I wasn’t able to calculate well at all. I let the opening beat me instead of letting my opponent beat me. He played accurately, but none of his moves were that shocking, same thing in game 1.

After I played Bd2, and he played hxg, that is where I knew it was lost because I realized right away, if I recapture the pawn, he willl play Be4, then I will have to move rook on h1 and then his queen takes h2. Oddly, Crafty preferred that line for White than what I did (which was also losing), sure anything was better.

He thought I was losing the opening by not playing h4, which is theory. I looked at it but actually felt more relieved the queen went to h4 than to the other side of the board. It probably would have caught him by surprise if had played Nb3-d4, not recaptured the pawn right away, and play Bb5 and get the queen out on the light diagonal. That is what I wanted to do but didn’t calculate it well. Even then I would have been alright, gave so much time looking at what I didn’t do that I didn’t spend much time on what I did do.

Even round 1, I was not calculating deeply. I could have won a pawn on d4. I saw Nxd4 QxQ+, but then saw KxQ instead of NxQ, then Rd1, so I thought the knight on d4 would be pinned to the king and was feeling proud that I didn’t “waste” too much time on this move, but I simply did not consider the NxQ recapture. I’m amazed that I miss something so simple! He spent a lot of time there, but I didn’t. No wonder why we are both no more than A players. That is simply a dropped pawn on d4.

Round 1

Round 2

My normal bedtime, pre-tournament, was 8 pm and round 2 was 7:30 pm. At my best, good chance I win both of those games. I am not physically in good shape for this tournament, athletically speaking, couldn’t even jog a little this morning as I just got over a sinus infection before the tournament. But, there is a fair chance that I may go for broke, write this tournament off and play all of the oddball variations that I don’t think I will do well at, but haven’t really tried OTB in a slow tournament. Not sure yet, as even that takes some charged energy really.


4 thoughts on “The American Open

  1. I feel for you, I lost too, just posted. Don’t hurry to go for broke yet, you will get weaker players, just play your game.
    I will look at your games.

  2. In game 1, if Nxd4, there is Bxb7. You played a bit passively, though it’s difficult to find a plan. That combo was pretty good.
    In game 2 why didn’t you play gxh5? Yeah, that was brutal after hxg4.
    You know, at least you lost to good players, just try to learn as much as you can.

  3. Guys sorry i have not been around for a while,but at school we had an ofsted inspection.
    In England all schools are checked by ofsted(office of standards in education).
    A very tense time for all,but we came out with good with outstanding features.
    Linuxguy dont feel bad.
    Game 1 you played well but in the end a tactic won the game.
    Game 2 i’m sorry but i dont like that variation for white,it seems all pawns,and puts holes in your kingside.
    Rolling pawns is right see how the next game goes before playing your “oddball” variations.
    But if you do at least you will have tested them out in real play.
    Good luck.
    Did you take any tablets for the sinus infection? if so they may be slowing you down a little.

  4. Thanks, guys! 🙂

    “why didn’t you play gxh5?”

    Honestly? Probably because you are a better player than me in some areas. Crafty liked it, too. For some lame reason I didn’t like it at the time.

    In game 1, if Nxd4, there is Bxb7.”

    I thought that too, but I believe he is just dropping too many pawns. Rb8 skewers the b2 pawn, then there is the e2 pawn with check that the Nd4 is eyeing, and then there is the pawn at c4 that still has to be recaptured.

    I’ll post on day two in a new post.

    ChessX, I wasn’t taking anything, but that game was woefully pathetic I must admit. You are right, unless White whips up the right attack, it does have a lot of holes. Black has tons of problems developing however. Even I could see that BxN bxB and the c-file is now blocked by a pawn, so castling queenside would be safer then. There were simply too many holes in Black’s(!) game.

    At the time, I sensed this, but was worried about trading the bishop. Really, I wasn’t calculating well.

    Just playing the game/tournament feels like a win because one learns so many things about how to handle yourself successfully during a game.

    RollingPawns, I will look at your game, thanks for sharing it. 🙂

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