Nightmare on Thursday St.

AKA, “The game from hell”.

Last round game against a 1296 player. He noticed something different about the clock after about 10 moves, but I didn’t know what he was talking about, I replied “Yeah, I know, this clock doesn’t have a second hand”. Not until after the game did I realize what he was referring to. The clock was set at G/70, but no 5 second delay.

With about 30 seconds left I was thinking something is definitely not right. With 9 seconds left I noticed my moves were taking 1 or 2 seconds just to move, and it wasn’t couting down the delay. 2 seconds left, instant move, 1 second left, instant move, 0 as I take my hand off it. He immediately calls flag and I immediately protest. TD finally decides to give me 2 minutes no delay (he has 31 minutes left) as it is his discretion under a rule, “malfunctioning clock or set wrong” or something like that. I had asked for the 5 minutes back (G/75) if there were no delay. I didn’t know how to stop the clock, but then noticed the small pause button after studying it for 10 seconds, something I didn’t have time to do in time-pressure.

Wow, a nightmare but the TD sided with me as the “injured player”. Whereupon my opponent repeated “Why am I not the injured player”. Anyway, I was up a rook and it only took me 14 seconds of those 2 minutes to finish the game. At first he pretended not to know the delay wasn’t set, but the TD found out it wasn’t. He even admitted that he had stopped keeping score a while back. Geez. Just shoot me now. The TD was very understanding of my position, thank the lord! Oh, and how did we find out he wasn’t keeping score. Because, of course, he said “How do we even know this is the correct position?”

My opponent didn’t see it my way, naturally, so I tried to talk about the game with him in the hall as he was leaving. Me: Why did you exchange rooks? Him: Because of your time, I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. Me: Why did you sack your knight? Him: Because of your time. Then he admitted that next time he should forgo basing his moves on my clock. Actually, he had to trade rooks to win my pawn and took with the knight to try and avoid doing so, that seems most likely what happened, he simply wanted the pawn. Not trading rooks would have hurt me _more_ on the clock.

BTW, it was a pre-set tournament supplied clock. Usually the 5 second delay is automatically set and it is set to option 4A like usual. I found out later that it is always supposed to show the delay count-down, even from the start of the game – hadn’t been paying attention.

It’s bad enough that I knew he was probably stronger than his rating (because the club rarely has any C players, for example) and I also made blunders during the game. Not my best performance, missed a mate in one apparently. The game score I am giving is not accurate because I stopped recording at 3.5 minutes left, but it is very similar to what happened.

This player is older than me and I had chatted a tiny bit with him before, so I didn’t really feel that this would have happened.

I won my entrance fee back, plus $2 for taking clear second. If both tournaments ended today, I would have 11 rating points from each of them, which would bring it to 1767 – best guess. Losing rating points is like nothing at all, but getting them back takes a long time when playing peers or lower-rated.

Wednesday’s round 4 game

I had Black against Marc M. (3rd Black for me in this tournament).

We were both quite late to the game. I went down on time first and thought that may become an issue, but then he went into some long thinks himself trying to find a win. At the end, I had 11 minutes left and he had just gone under 6 minutes when I offered him the draw and he accepted.

It’s really even, but he said he accepted because he knew that he’d remain in first place with 3.5/4. The TD said that Isaac had 4 wins, but I didn’t remember til later that I had won against Isaac in round 1, so I’ll have to email him about that.

It’s pretty tough to be on top when you get get 3 games as Black and 1 as White. hehe.

Next Wednesday is the final round – round 5.

Mark said that Bd7 (to prevent his Bb5) in the opening, followed by Bc6 was the way to play it. He had seen a game of Petrosian vs. Spassky in this line. Actually, we were following Crafty’s book, though, for the first 11 moves.

This is how Black should play the rest of the game, Crafty’s analysis and seemed right to me. If White plays …b5, Black uses the a-pawn and file as a lever to get the bishop out that way (Ba6). Otherwise, Black works for the c-pawn lever. It’s an equal game. That’s what I noticed as well, that the a-file was the only one that was harmless to Black, and otherwise the only natural break left was the c5 lever – only d5 in response was my concern during the game, but Black’s 7th/8th rank is also a concern.

12th Annual Southern Colorado Open – day 2

Round 4
I had seen 15. f6 Ng6 16.fxg Re8, but missed that 17.Bc4 is convincing (because of Rf1 file) – didn’t see this move.

Round 5
Round 5, game losing blunder was …Qxd. I was happily planning on Rc8 and trading rooks, when I suddenly got greedy, forgot that the d-pawn was poisoned in my haste, and realized the blunder immediately. The interesting thing is I do rook endings well, but not queen endings. I was planning on trading rooks, but that loses, and I sensed he wanted the queen ending, so I think he would have won anyway. It looks even at first, but Crafty shows that White can win a K-side pawn, while Black is tied to White’s passed pawn. There is a margin of doubt though in that he dumped gobs of time on his won ending, and even started very late in the game to spend a lot of time creating a meager ending. I had half a minute and he 1.5 minutes left.

I made some strategic blunders early on that cost me big. I didn’t want to transfer my queen to the king-side but rather my light-bishop. But I couldn’t force the bishop transfer and when it got traded Black had a sizable advantage. This is a case, like we had mentioned before on this blog, where the bishop is better latent, on c6 square – just like his Be3 is a latent bishop. I didn’t think he played as sharp as he could have, but he was aiming for an ending.

Didn’t play Round 6, went to my mom’s house for Father’s Day dinner. Found out I would have been cross-paired against a 1060 rated player as a house-game(rated), so I withdrew from the tournament, which I was going do anyway.

12th Annual Southern Colorado Open – day 1

I may crash this time, instead of posting the games tonight. Question, what can I do with only 3 hours of sleep when I want to stay up all day. Answer, play in a chess tournament!

I really got long some shut-eye in the second round, but luckily my opponent did not decide to wipe the board up with my play. Scored 1.5/3, not a shocking result. It was fun.

Round 1
Round 1, got a good position out of the opening, but I think being tired made my play even more subjective. The way I lost this game was more “psyche ward” inpatient material than chess. Obviously I freaked out because my opponent had a higher rating, instead of calmly playing the position with …fxg4 and now that I look at it …Rf7 is a future defensive move. Of course, in my head everything was losing and I was getting mated on h7, which is what happened probably moreso that I freaked out about it. hehe. Like a bad sci-fi thriller.

Round 2
Round 2, luckily my opponent drove the position because I had my eyes closed through half the game and was simply doing things to stay awake, but I wasn’t as tired as that sounds. My first round opponent pointed out that I could have still blundered at the end by moving my king one more time (White responds f6!!) instead of …hxg which drew.

As Crafty pointed out, I could have stepped up the pressure with …Qd7 instead forcing things with …Nd4 which leads to exchanges and a draw.

Round 3
Round 3, I get White against a weaker player. I don’t envy the weaker player who gets Black against me, not a fun experience.

Still feeling a little tired and unfocused.

Thursday’s 3rd round game

In this game, I simply ran out of tactical endurance.

I got overly clever with a decision to deflect his bishop with with 18.c4. I thought Rb1 straight away would lead to an endgame where I was up a pawn and rook vs. bishop, but I was almost second-guessing what Crafty might say when I got home. Still had a win, though.

So he plays 21…Qa5, unexpected, and just when I thought I had the game. Suddenly, I am really feeling drained from the previous play, am looking at the responses of how to develop my bishop to connect the rooks. Unhappily, I make a move as I am at 9 minutes even (Idea being an eventual d5, but I knew it was slow), but Be3 loses the won game.

After the game, driving home I am thinking why didn’t I play Qxa7…Bc7, then Ba3, but realize that is also losing. Somehow, I never see Bf4 or Re5 (saw this move earlier, though, but now I was worried about my back rank), which win the game. It’s amazing that I miss Bf4 though. In my mind I still see the Qh5+, but don’t realize that my Bf4 is now preventing Qh2 mate.

Ironically, I got there on time and saved plenty of time for a technical finish, but really too much time. Unfortunately, I no longer had a snack available (ate a bannana earlier) and just petered out from the pressure of the Qa5 move.

Never saw his nice Qh3 move, which seals the game. Maybe if I had exercised before the game, but it’s easy to second-guess. Simply needed the experience of such a tactical game against a 1900 level player in order to improve for next time. Didn’t miss the win by much, Bf4 should have made it obvious (even though Re5 is stronger) in that line that I didn’t play. He suggested that I give up the Re1, which interestingly enough also wins, although he was eyeing his perpetual-check chance, if the f2 pawn isn’t there.

Somehow after Qxa…Bc7 I forgot about the variation after only having given it a moment’s consideration.

Early on, it looks like I effortlessly play Ng5, but after my initial move desire of Qd3 the Nf3 comes under fire and I would have had to sac a pawn, almost went for that, but then realized Bd2 would be the most prudent, until I found Ng5 and calculated that it’s good for at least a draw. Black can even choose to play …Be6 there, instead of …Bf5 to get out of it with maybe just a pawn loss. It’s easy to not realize how much I calculated earlier in the game. Plus, I was really nervous, hadn’t been for a long time, because I am going tactical against a player who is nearly Expert rating. Because of that, I was taking a lot of breaks that I haven’t normally been taking lately.

I may not play in this weekend’s tournament. I have been keeping odd hours lately, would probably get way too sleepy at some point during the day. At least after this game I was physically zonked and slept a few hours til 2 am. I’ll see if I can make the adjustment and stay awake all day.

Wednesday’s Round 3 game

In the game, I only survived for the draw out of the kindness of her heart.

The position was basically equal for the entire game. We were both late, so both lost 5 minutes of time to start, actually she arrived another 10 minutes after that. I looked at a lot of lines before castling, spent 12 minutes there, but then correctly guessed her next two moves in any event, a move where I almost castled right off the bat anway.

By move 20, I had 21 minutes left (used to get down to 9 minutes), but I kept being casual about it except at the very end, and had 6 minutes left when she accepted my draw offer on move 31 – she had 27 minutes left, but I noticed her hesitate on her 31st move so asked her for a draw.

If this had been the old Chess Pal8ce time-controls of 30/90 G/30, I most likely win this game, but as it was probably should have lost another equal position on time.

On move 30, she blunders with Bg4?? But I thought to myself “I don’t have time to figure out the implications of this move, but I’m not going to sac my rook on e3 unless I double on that file first.” Realistically, had I noticed 31.Rxe! (really only noticed her move enough to write it down), I still didn’t have enough time to calculate the ensuing complications with just 6 minutes left. I blew this game on the clock, and needed more time to finish it. It was an interesting opening, hadn’t tried this line before, OTB. Even with …BxNc3 though, I was trying to bail-out with a draw because of my clock. Not that I wasn’t very happy to get a draw as Black against an equally rated opponent, I was.

I wasn’t expecting such a positional game from her because she normally has a very tactical style, also I hadn’t played her before. After the game she said that it doesn’t normally happen where there is nothing left in the position for her (as White), so that made me happy that I held. She figured that she should have traded BxN, we both agreed. I thought White had an endgame advantage had we traded, but it was so marginal in a way in terms of practical chances.

I was actually expecting Qb6 (Crafty’s move) instead of Bg4, and then trading queens. IOW, in time-pressure, there is no time to adjust to something that I hadn’t thought out during her move, unless it’s like a straight-up fork or clear blunder.

I had considered that combination much earlier, back when the bishop was on g2, and it wasn’t loose then. Actually, with her 30 minutes left, she probably just skirts that combo with Qb4, rook back to …e8, and White’s q-side pressure against the backward pawn is more than enough to hammer out another clock-win from an inferior position. hehe.

Father’s Day weekend tournament

6 rounds G/90. I just mentioned it in a lengthy reply to this post:

It’s really called the “12th Annual Southern Colorado Open”, and I would guess the date was set because that is when they could get to use site (for free – key word in understanding why tournaments are when they are here. hehe).

It would be disappointing have another so-so major tournament result. But even if I do terrible, this is really the only bi-monthly opportunity to draw some strong opponents – there is an Under 1500 section so hopefully that would draw away from the top-section.