Wednesday’s game

I played Mike, a grizzled-veteran of club play, as Black in a French. He said he’s been giving away Christmas presents early this year, I won in a short but exciting game (at least for me, anyway, Crafty would probably find it a yawner).
December ’09 Open, round 2

We both made our mistakes, and had our chances. I slept before the game. When I got there, Mike asked me if I wanted to play G/2 hrs instead of the usual, so right there that got rid of two of the usual suspects that contribute to my losses.

He blundered with d4 (or at least now I know), but he was creative about it, and I decided wrongly against …Qe8, which looks obvious now (he thought that …Qe8 looked winning for Black, but probably figured this was the trickiest he could make it). The real blunder of the game was his move Rh8-e8. It’s hard to think that that’s such an incredible blunder, but Crafty gives me about 2 more points after …Bxh, in what could have been an even game (but I still liked my chances, and apparently he liked his – we went over the game afterwards). Nice fellow. Going over the game together afterward with someone who wants to is always an enlightening experience, to get their perceptions.

New rating->1825

It’s ironic that Neal was surprised by my tactic at the end, since it was only a two-mover. This is why it pays to study tactics. I saw it right away, simply pattern-recognition, only 2 moves! πŸ™‚

I played this opening again because I was feeling inspired, fresh, but this variation does have an obvious weak spot. A pawn on e5 can support a knight on d6 for White. Like I told Mike after the game, my hope/plan was not to allow him to cover the e5 pawn with f4, as then I would never be able to get rid of the supportive e5-pawn. If Mike had known theory, he probably would have got that f4 pawn going early, and then the opening becomes much more problematic for Black, I would guess, until the proper defense could be found.

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5 thoughts on “Wednesday’s game

  1. The game looks a bit wild and chaotic with him making more mistakes than you :). Yeah, his Rhd1 was a decisive mistake, giving up an important “a” pawn. Fritz also gives 2 more points after that. He was almost equal before. Nice combo, simple, but not very visible.

  2. I should have played Bxa2 instead of recapturing the bishop on h1. Either way I still have a piece that he is expected to capture. The only thing was I wasn’t sure if I could get the bishop out of there before he traps it with b3. As it turns out, Nd3+, fxN exposes the b-pawn after Rc8+ Kd2 Qxb+ Qd2 Rc1+, and if QxR Ba2-b3+, king moves, wins the queen, and if not QxR, then Ke2 Rc2 skewers the queen or wins the rook at a1 – I prefer the skewer (not taking his bishop means that he also doesn’t have time to take my knight, and trapping my bishop with b3 would lead to Qa1+).

    Funny, I just said all that from memory, after having looked at it yesterday with Crafty. The …Qe8 would have given me an easy win – I thought he’d get the check on my king in anyways after ….bxB, Qxc but forgot that he is only getting a pawn instead of a piece if he plays that, and if he plays …QxN instead he is only getting 1 pawn for the piece anyhow (I have a tempo to ward off the double-attack Qe6+ followed by QxRa8 – also, I would have to play ..exNd5 for that to happen, which is not even necessary as I would already still be up a piece), trades occur, and the danger to my king is no longer present.

    The funny thing is that he played Rhd1 on general principle of “I am down a rook, if I don’t develop it”. I was more worried about Rd6 first, pinning my Be6 to my Qf6, but Qf5 stepping out of the pin is still like -.80. Also, I forgot to add that the Nd3+ combo avoided the need to play …Rc8 defending that knight against the “threat” of Rf4, which would be a double-attack on Qf6 with rook, and also on Nc5 with his discovered Q on e3. That’s the nice thing about seeing a long attack that works, you don’t have to stop to defend sh*t, or bother to take pieces lying around. πŸ˜‰ Did I just say that my pieces were s***? All because I had a crack at his king.

    The funny/unbelievable thing about that is I was thinking early on, I got that vibe, that he would not play, aka “waste a tempo” with Kb1, which afterwards thought to myself is probably worth 50 rating points simply on principle when castling queenside. It’s weird, I had foreshadowed the victory based on that simple one decision of his not to play Kb1 before undertaking hostilities. Too bad I gave him a chance to play it later, instead of Rh1-d1, but even then he didn’t play it and after the game said he should have played Kb1! The one time I played and beat that Expert, who is really tactically sharp, he played Kb1 very quickly on general principle, without any immediate threats around to his king. Incidentally, in this game I could have defended my Nd4 with …Rd8 (I played …b5, which allowed him to get a second pawn for the piece after Nxb, but he played Nd5 instead), and that is based on the fact that my queen gets a free tempo by playing Qf6-f4+ and then Qc4-Qc5 allowing a possible protected rook-lift to d6, if I get pressed into defending that rook – naturally, it didn’t seem obvious whether I could go for such an anti-developing try (Crafty’s idea).

    Not that it matters now, but I also had the sense that I could outplay him in the endgame with two pieces for two pawns and a rook, which isn’t exactly easy or smart to see in either case, but I would have likely lost or made a mistake on time. I told him I thought the queen exchange was best for him (after playing QxN instead of RxN on d4), and that it was likely a fighting draw in that case. He still liked the queen scenario (Crafty doesn’t), but admitted he needed to play more carefully rather than to the beat of my time-pressure. He said he doesn’t like to play for small advantages, which I told him used to be my style, but that going for a king is better if for no other reason than it avoids the time-trouble issue (with mate!), and the odds of settling for a draw after a small goof.

    RollingPawns, how did your Thursday night game go?

  3. I didn’t play. Just 2 hours before the game got a call that my kid lost a coat+cell at school, had to pick her up, it’s -5C outside. At least I had time to call and warn the TD. Because it was a last round, got U, no bye. Still got ~1900 performance rating. The stuff was found next day :).
    I miss the big tournament in Toronto going right now, kind of busy and don’t feel ready. Will play some online during holidays and study openings/tactics. Are you going to play during holidays?

  4. Not likely. Only game during the holidays, if that, would be next Wednesday night, and not until January after that.

    I’ve been up since just after midnight, but since you so kindly reminded me of my last chance to get some games in πŸ™‚ I will try to play in the quads today, and hopefully get put into the top quad.

    That’s good that you got your kid situation squared-away. Too bad about that tournament, but I know how you feel, this is sort of a strange time of year to be able to fit in a tournament, but a nice time as well (I love the Winter, since we don’t really get one here in Los Angeles).

    I know what you mean about being ready for a tournament. Some times we work on parts of our game and sometimes we play, doing both is brain/perfomance overload.

  5. 7. f4 is more common in this line of the french.

    After 7. … f6 it looks more to become (kinda) a tarrash french if i am not mistaken?

    I must say that it looked to me that your opponent just played moves without real plan in mind, just hoping for the best.

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