Calculation duel

I went to play chess tonight, although my mind was on other things like this programming project I’m getting started on, etc.

Had a rematch (still White) against the 1400 (approx rating) player that I lost to last time as White. Right off the bat, I blundered. It felt like I was still pushing the pawn to e5 when I saw it.

Then I thought I might have two pieces for rook and pawn. But to my horror, I realized it was going to be three pawns and a rook for two pieces. As if that weren’t enough, it took me a long time before I spotted that he could get his bishop out by pushing …g5, then …g4 and I am not even winning the second piece. So I had to figure out my best chance to at least win a pawn back if nothing else. My Qe2 move should have lost it for me, Kf2 was the way to get the piece back, of course my initial impulse was to play Kf2, but I refrained.

Well, he traded queens, so I was probably going to be down two pawns and the exchange. He played inaccurately and let me back into the game, I had lots of traps for him. Next thing you know he’s castling and deciding to let the piece go for a pawn.

I am still looking at his pawn storm with my knight and bishop against his rook, but it’s sort of too much for him to hold onto all those pawns and he continues inaccurately. Now I simply have bishop and knight for rook. Bd8 or Be4? Bd8 looks sharper, but apparently I didn’t calculate it right in time-pressure, mostly went based on looks, then realized I was dropping a piece once he marched his king toward my bishop, even though I had considered that reply.

So now I am losing a rook vs. bishop ending, even pawns, but he messes up amazingly not seeing I was dropping a pawn on e4, and I am pushing the pawns. He sacs the rook but I blunder the win late, knew it as soon as I had moved, needed to move my king to keep his king off h8. But even more surprising he moves off h8 to attack my pawn and my king grabs g8 to guide the pawn home. Wow, talk about a game being a gift from above, this one was.

Here is the game

They only gave me 11 rating points for the 1.5/4 against 1900’s at the Colorado Class Championship. I guess they figure the second half of the tournament, if you are 0-2, then you are playing rusty players, so it barely counts for anything. That’s rather disappointing that they see it that way.

One thing about this game is how non-standard that Owen’s Defense is. I almost never see it, and it’s opening patterns are different from the usual. Nice surprise weapon, kind of like how the Nimzovich def. is sometimes. It’s just that if people saw them all the time, they would find the holes. With Nimzovich def., you can try and get Black to play …f6 at not the right time, but it’s still tricky.


7 thoughts on “Calculation duel

  1. You should be careful with Owen’s defense. I got it once, but I was prepared , just read through one book some time before it. Black pressures on e4 with e6, Bb4, Nf6, etc. There are a lot of sharp variations. I just knew that I need to play a3 to prevent Bb4 and I was OK. I agree that with a good preparation it could be a “nice surprise weapon”.
    Frankly, you don’t seem concentrated during this game.
    What killed him is basically his endgame knowledge – not knowing that 2 pawns on 6th are stronger than rook and that that B+P ending was drawn,
    otherwise he would never go out of the corner.

  2. I complimented him on his opening choice and looked at the opening with Crafty after the game. I notice that Black is letting both of his bishops get pushed off to the queenside in this opening. Black can get cramped in the center, but where the bishops go will tell the story of what White should do.

    G/90 is more like figuring things out a little late for me. To get out of that last pin, my king needed to guard my knight, taking a few moves, didn’t think of that (can’t just get out of the pin in one move). I knew Be4 was safe, though instead of Bd8. Quick move, but then I spent a lot of time once I knew I had messed up.

    The time thing did eventually go my way though. I had maybe 2 minutes to his under 5. The endgame, going the distance helps me greatly. Neither of us were keeping score, both under 5 minutes. Somehow his king and mine were actually parallel at one point, and I had opposition keeping his king out of the corner but gave it up, moving as soon as he moved, split-second decision, split-second regret, but apparently it flusters the other player just as much since he thought after the game that I was somehow forcing him out of the corner. The guy who won the last tournament saw what I pointed out afterwards and agreed with me.

    I’m noticing something lately, and it’s not about better moves. My opponents very often have a 40 minute time advantage on me, which I used to think was probably the end of the world or something, but in this game and last tournament, I’ve noticed that I’ve been bringing them all down into time-scramble type play or more often real time-scrambles. I realize now the importance of taking someone all the way down on their clock, which means a long game. It could be that there is an element of mental endurance in chess, for example it’s not the same blitzing at the end of the game vs. the beginning of the game, it takes mental stamina. I generally have that mental stamina that others for the most part do not, regardless of their rating under 2000, or at least it is getting to be that way a lot more than before.

    Certainly, if he had had the experience, he would have known to stay in the corner without even thinking, but I guess people who like to save time early do not like to take their time late, when it’s under 5 minutes. He didn’t give himself enough time on his moves to gain the experience from the game itself. My quick play probably rattled him there.

    After the game he said that he suffered from “too many plans”. Lucky for me, so I guess keeping the position full of possibilities at times is something that worked in my favor. When he needed to clinch the win, I didn’t go into defensive-mode but rather tried to keep the position as active as possible and not quite as technical. Sure, …0-0-0 should have been obvious all along but I guess it gave him something to think about, whether it was the best move or not. Surely just about any B level player would have played …0-0-0 rather quickly.

    My Bxe7 move was only good for the draw, didn’t notice that, needed to look one move deeper to notice after …Rd7, Ba8 …Rd8, Nc7 that …Rc8 attacks both pieces, but the fact that I played those moves quickly had it’s effect on his play.

  3. A creepy game. Caissa must have hold both her hands above your head while praying for your good luck. The opponent did well to grab all opportunities, sadly his endgame knowlegde wasn’t good enough to secure the sure draw he had.

  4. lol.

    It was a creepy game, but it showed resilience. He played the first part effortlessly and had me beat, there was no way I was going to do better than a pawn and exchange down. Then, I guess he was looking for trades, but that is not the best way to play these things, patience is better.

    He was crushing me in the rook vs. bishop endgame as well, but this game was more like an answer to prayer indeed.

    I didn’t play on Thursday, had other things come up. But after a game like this, it didn’t seem worth my while to chance a repeat.

  5. What a crazy game! I was looking at that position and thinking to myself “He’s got the wrong bishop to be able to win with the h pawn. ” It’s always nice when the opponent makes one of those losing moves. At least when I blundered the rook in that last game I posted, it lead to to a draw not a loss.

    It seems natural to trade down when one is ahead, but in these types of positions trading down isn’t always the best way to exploit the material advantage. Sometimes it’s better to keep more pieces on the board to have targets to aim to win, not simply trade.

    In a long time control when somebody starts blitzing near the end of it, it’s hard to shift gears so to speak. The roles get reversed. The one who was playing slow early, now has to play fast because they’re short on time. The one who was playing fast and has a big time edge needs to use the extra time to take advantage of the opponent’s time issue. It’s worth spending some extra time to complicate things. Some people are more adept at changing their speed when the position is coming down to the wire. Some players intentionally get into time trouble in order to suck the opponent into playing blitz. That tactic is double edged. I’ve been on both sides of that scenario. The results haven’t always been what I wanted.

  6. I looked a local gal’s game today in my State’s chess publication because I want to get a sense of how to play her. Omigosh, she dropped a piece while she was up a piece, in a really obvious way. Also, she dropped a pawn just as obvious to trade a piece once she was up a pawn, and had no compensation for it. 1800 level player, lost.

    What I realize is that you can’t get big-headed or throw stones if you are 1800 because it’s only saying a lot relative to the fact that there are many players rated lower than.

    Polly, I intentionally blitzed that guy into the loss, part of why I stopped recording the moves, to put the pressure on him (even though <2 minutes left). When I lost that game to Paul C. at the Class Championships that I should have won earlier (up a piece). it was sorta BS because he was blitzing me from an equal to worse position and I blundered with his 16 seconds left. He may say it wasn't intentional, but if you look at it aside from the clock, it was total BS repeating a bunch of moves and such, but I have seen players do this before. If you don't have a Monroi and aren't keeping score, it's not easy to prove repetition, plus it's happening too fast to keep track of it. But if you’ve ever gone through it, you come out the other side a stronger player IMO. 😉

  7. Wow; I’m still stunned at that game’s conclusion. The wrong-color rook pawn is in any endgame manual. Literally, it was the EXACT TEXTBOOK position. How does a class C player not be able to draw there?

    Do people just not study endgames? It’s like a bunch of players buy books like “OMGWTFBBQ Opening Destroyer: Anti-Sicilian when your opponent happens to throw in 8. … b6” and ignore the rest of the game.

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