I originally played this on FICS and lost, but wanted to see where I went wrong. Naturally, Crafty’s score-keeping simply can’t keep up with what I am up to. I went into all kinds of sidelines, maybe 10 or more, perhaps 12-15, just to prove that it does work. This last game analysis came closest to Black. Perhaps it is not losing by force according to stronger engine and more time, but I kept finding the win, and Crafty wasn’t finding the initial moves in many variation, I had to supply the move based on my intuition, and I’m surprised at how often that worked.

Here is the last game variation that I looked at. If there is a hole, it is probably with this one. During the game, I was only concerned about the sac being declined, but I had to look at all the piece gambit accepted alternatives. Near the end, Black can trade queens, but that is losing, too.

If only I could execute these combinations over the board. This is how absorbing chess has become for me, I can’t “play a game” anymore because the analysis outstrips all the plopping down and shuffling of pieces during the game.

BTW, it’s originally a double piece-sac, Nxh7 wins with any response, but this game was the declined line. Crafty did not like my h-pawn push, nor was it looking at Nxh7, and of course there were more situations like this one.


Computer evaluations

In this case, I use Crafty.

Here is a game where the first part was actually played, but afterward Crafty is telling me off. So, I decide to get back at Crafty a little and keep playing, throwing in some of my own moves, but mostly using Crafty against Crafty. The result? After White being down nearly -3.00 for most of the game, White chips away at that notion and is eventually able to draw it. Once again, fortune favors the bold! BTW, the result is a draw, so it’s not the best move, but rather shows that there are practical chances in some games that are evaluated as if lost. In the actual game, I won because of an endgame blunder by my opponent.

I’m sure that Fritz would throw in some winning moves as Black, but who the heck is playing against Fritz? I think Crafty is 2300+.

I play out tons of these types of games with Crafty, either analyzing an opening or a game. Lest you think I spend oodles of time, I spent < half on hour on this. When I play Standard games on FICS now, my opponent is almost invariably in time-trouble and and I have scads of time. It may not be playing strength, but my playing speed has really shot up out of nowhere. I can blitz 1800+ players at Standard, I can blitz the blitzers at Standard.

For me, chess is mostly about mental energy rather than time. When I have it it’s like a car that goes for a long drive, but a few days later, at any time, it can suddenly run out of gas and takes a few days to get it back, maybe 4 days. The only problem with chess for me is that I should not be playing and spending my mental energy on chess because I am a programmer by trade and should be doing/learning more of that with my brain energy. If you do something less intellectual for a living, then chess is perfect to add that balance back to your life. But in practice I’d guess a lot of us already have other mental jobs and hobbies and thus overload ourselves.

I just made up another line that Crafty said was 0.0, but I thought there was something to it and it ends up winning by routine-play from Crafty.

Abstract example

Here is a game that I just played on FICS, a simple win.

There is a point here. I spent a total of 3 min 33 sec on this game, including the increment, and they a little less. Yes, he did drop a piece and I didn’t see it. Useless example, right?

Well, for some reason I just thought of playing ..d6 and ..e5 – does anyone know the name of this opening? – I don’t ever remember playing it before or it even occuring to me, but even before moving my queen from c8, I realized that his c4 pawn would drop if he played Nc3. Yes, he played a lot of bad moves and probably quickly forgot it, but it shows that the game didn’t come down to tactics really as much as having a better sense of the abstract value of what’s going on, and actually looking at RollingPawn’s games recently has even helped me with this. This person has only played a few Standard games, but after 300+ blitz games has a 1496 rating, so they should be able to play some decent chess. Perhaps it’s a typical game on FICS where not much analysis was brought to bear on White’s part, but I know you don’t get to 1496 blitz for playing dumb.

Ah, King’s Indian, it’s been so long since I’ve played one (A45). Goes to show how easy it can be to attack queenside, as castling there should only be done when a player really understands what they are doing, IMHO (just moving the king one more square to safety is an extra tempo, other considerations aside), and it works best in a center-counter sort of opening as Black, where the d-file gets opened.

Another loss

I am not feeling so well today and not concentrating well, but this kid really did play well. I guess he’s 1657 or so. Once he got in QxNc3, I knew I was just bad off.

I dropped a piece after that and saw my blunder right after I played it, but it didn’t matter, he was winning another pawn if I hadn’t made that blunder and it isn’t hard to tell that down 2 pawns vs. this kid is not much to be hopeful about. Regardless of how I played, I’ll say he was on the ball.

Here’s the game

I don’t feel that I should be playing in this state, but as far as chess goes, I think it’s better for me to play anyway and have something to look at.

Nb3 was my last choice, my first instinct was to play one of the knights to b5, and then Rb1, but Crafty shows …Nb4 as a response, hitting my queen on d3, which I wasn’t even looking at. There is an …e5 line instead of Qd3 which looks nice. Now I see theory so either move is nice, but only for maybe a pawn/but slight advantage. Funny, I think I can visualize the board nowadays, but it doesn’t necessarily make one’s chess any better.

After the game he mentioned Bd2 instead of BxNg4, which does seem to give White the upper-hand. He outplayed me in this game and it was well done. The only true calamity I’ve had is losing to that 1300 level player, but it does go to show that anything is possible. Actually, my opponent in this game, Mort, pointed out that there was this 1000 level kid up two pieces for a rook against an Expert (guy around my age), I didn’t stick around to see how that game turned out, went to bed early.

To be honest, I didn’t ask what his rating was before the game and assumed it to be much lower. It’s funny, there is a natural (poor) tendency to think if playing up “Oh, that must be a good move, I should prevent his idea!” whereas when playing down one has to resist the temptation to think “This move must be terrible, I should punish it swiftly!”

Quick loss

To a 1335 player or so. I was winning, and I had thought earlier if he played Ne4, I’d take with the pawn attacking his queen, but I forgot about it. I’m trying to close on a house soon and this was just sort of in-between other things. My goal was to get out of their quickly and I was 20 minutes late, but very nice cheapo for a 1300 player. I didn’t really feel bad since I got out of there and I’ll be facing them a lot of times anyhow. Plus, I figure you guys will rag on me no matter what I do, so here’s the game

After reading a bunch of blogs, I came to the conclusion that chess is just an occasional past-time, in between everything else. So my mind wasn’t there so much, it was hard to give the attention the game deserved, but I realized my mistake after BxN and basically called out it before he even moved. I had fun, though, oddly since usually I am the one too stressed to have fun, but this time it was the other way around. Now to do the other stuff I wanted to get done.

I dunno, I’ve got other things I can do besides play chess, and I’ll have another local game tomorrow night. I just didn’t maintain serious attention, even though I was winning a whole piece if I just took his knight. It’s hard to slow down and give chess it’s due sometimes, I guess, we aren’t even playing for anything besides rating points and the fun of it. sometimes it’s a lot harder for me to take chess seriously than it is to play the game I guess, I just wonder why I do. For $50 I could probably win 4 action games in a row, that would be more motivation. I’d rather put some money down on it or something.

I’m spending hundreds even thousands of dollars that I barely even have to get this house deal done and chess seems like it is for nothing, how can I take it seriously, I’ve had insomnia, manic-depressive because this frustrating house deal feels like it has been controlling my life. Supposed to close on Monday, who knows for sure if it’ll go through, it’s been hard to concentrate much on other things. The more the closer it gets to d-day. I’ve wondered if I’m not fooling myself frequently.

This wireless connection has been going out constantly where I am staying at, it’s a big inconvenience just to post something.

Just played an 1862 player on FICS and lost at Standard. We both used about 3 minutes for the game and I missed a mate in 1 against him, he can’t stop it. I’m just not slowing down enough to concentrate. I’m playing strong, I just can’t slow myself down and relax.

Thursday’s club game at Panera

I played a provisionally rated player, 1397 or so, as Black. He played a gambit, not even sure of it’s name, 1.d4 d5, then 2.e4. It was an exciting game with many possibilities, but it turned out that I basically held on for the win. Here is the game.

It’s remarkable that he had a winning combination for a couple moves – if he had played RxB on f5 a move or two earlier, he would have won the piece! Both of us tracked Crafty’s analysis quite well after that. He is a lot stronger than his rating, and I’m surprised at how well his attack could have worked – never saw his combo.

I missed quite a few combinations of my own that were winning. A curious move is that after 8.Ne5, black has …Bxc, and if QxB, then …Qxd+ followed by QxN. If I find and play the tactics, I should be able to win the won games sooner.

I looked at …e5, …e4 (forking), but didn’t calculate that right, was thinking he’d play Qxe, but my queen is protected so I could respond exN. Definitely needed this win to steady myself after so many losses and reckless plans of my own.

1799 -> 1802

I’ve studied tactics from this game and am visualizing the board better now. I have prepared a couple openings too, an anti-Winnawer for the French and the Fantasy variation against the Caro-Kahn.

Wednesday club game

So I played a 1703 player as White and lost. Come to find out after the game that he was once rated as high as 1935, over 200 points higher, and was once in the mid 1800’s as well.

So in the game, I attacked before finishing my development, something I wouldn’t do against a known strong player. Again, I recklessly sacked a pawn and Nc3-b5 gave up the center, but I knew that I was gambling when I played it. I looked at his…Nc5, but then realized after I had moved that his …Ne5 would be stronger, which he played. Once I played BxN, terrible move that gives up initiative and develops his other knight, he had the initiative for the rest of the game, and instead of fashioning a draw, I continued to speculate (because of his rating, if nothing else).

By move 29, I was going for one last chance of a cheapie with RxB, but he played …RxB first, lightning fast, which ended it in practical terms. After the game, he correctly pointed out that Nd1 was a last chance saving move and that without it …Bxf3 or …BxNc3 were winning. So I was up against a really sharp player and didn’t have a clue. His accent and speaking mannerisms reminded me so much of Bill Gates, even looked like him a bit, which made me feel even dumber for the crazy play I was trying to get in, he was too scholarly and strong for that.

There were lots of pretty wins at Black’s disposal. 23…QxN wins 2 rooks and pawn for the queen, then Black is winning on pawns. 24.RxNd4 followed by Nxf3 is a double-clearance sac that brings both bishops into play, as well as the queen, also wins convincingly. If White defends well, then Black can push the e-pawn. Where I lost this game was not seeing that after 19. exd Bxd that the Nd4 is defending b3 – picked the wrong time to forget that it was defending that square.

I am not so sure that this 1800 rating will be possible to maintain. It’s really best when getting 2 out of 3 A player, winning one, and winning against a C player. But not getting 2 out of 3 A player means having to win virtually all games for little increase. At this point, I have to play for the love of the game and not the ratings anymore.