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.

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10 thoughts on “Nightmare on Thursday St.

  1. I was very busy, will comment on both games today.
    I am glad TD supported you.
    I think you are back on track, congratulations on the second place!
    I played yesterday, Marshall against 1900 player, lost :(.
    I will post today, really will need your opinion about the game, what you think went wrong.

  2. Yay! Congratulations on just playing! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be happy to look at your game and offer advice. Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. ๐Ÿ˜€

    This “1296” player actually refuted my opening play as Black. Without my dark-squared bishop this attack doesn’t actually work and he was playing high-level positional chess until he blundered.

    As my pawns advanced, he simply occupied the dark-square holes of f4 and e5, or could have. He even played Kh1 to line up for …Rg8 in case I tried to open that file, and otherwise could keep it closed in front of his king. Crafty gives White the nod. I hadn’t played …Ne4 allowing bishop trade in so long I can’t remember, but I really don’t like it much now.

    The “MDLM” suggestion of better player winning through simple tactics is all the result came down to. I felt confident after his blunder, figuring in a delay time.

    To open up this position, all Black had to do was play …a5 (Crafty). I followed this line and it wins. Black gets a rook on the a-file, forces White’s rook over there and can then simply push e-pawn to infiltrate with king (and pick up the undefended c-pawn) and if his king wanders, the other rook gets loose on the g-file. I thought his play started going downhill with …fxg, allowing Nxg, but even there Crafty gives him .6-ish advantage, and his follow up move of …h6 gave me my first real hole to work with.

    If White pushes the b-pawn or the position opens up at all, the rooks and king will decide it quickly.

    I lost my cool, it was funny, I said “C’mon, if I lose to you like this, I’ve got to beat that guy over there 6 times!” (looking over at Mark, who is paying no attention) – said it after the TD had already awarded me the 2 minutes. Of course that isn’t really true because the rating factors it in as if it doesn’t know which players in the tournament one has lost to. But a loss to a 1900 level player would be worth it for the experience win or lose, even if highly disappointing.

  3. Fritz hated 6… Nbd7, giving it 0.94 and offered h6, then c5 with 0.07.
    Until move 24 he had an advantage about pawn, then starting from Be2? poor tactics killed him.
    You know, you don’t have to remind your opponent to press the clock, but not telling clearly that the time is setup wrong and then trying to win on that…? Well, how else you can win with this level of tactics.
    Again, TD was right.
    He was “injured” he meant being without exchange :)?
    Yeah, you can feel injured…

  4. He felt injured in the sense that we didn’t see it his way, which was that groveling through chess moves to win on time was his legitimate strategy. His first comment after mine was “What do the rules say!”, smugly.

    I think he simply dropped the knight, although he could have moved it to a8, and he did spend nearly half a minute on that move/decision to let me simply take the knight. So ridiculous, I thought the child in him came out.

    I actually did remind him to press the clock once during the game as he forgot a lot of times to press the clock early on, but each time I was making the move right after his anyway, so it didn’t matter.

    Thanks for the 6…Ndb7 advice as that is something I suspected but to Crafty they were both equal, .5 for …Nc6 and .6 for …Nbd7!

    White can get back into the game with 30. Nh5, which I thought was obvious anyway, but by attacking the rook it gains tempo and also covers f4 square which it just vacated; then, White merely plays 31.Rd3 followed by 32.Bf3 and my queen is trapped, probably have to take the rook and have rook, exchange, and pawn for queen. To win at our level, or at least beat us when White after all is losing up to that point, that sort of thing needs to be spotted.

    At one point he picked up his bishop to put it on to f3, but before he let go of it realized that it blocked protection of his Nf4 from his Rf1 whereupon my queen could take then knight, so he moved the bishop somewhere else instead. In that sense, he was every bit the Class D or C level player. Once again, the opening had nothing to do with the result, the weaker player outplayed me there but it’s almost like “so what, he spends his time on the sort of thing perhaps and where did it get him?” Incidentally, he had one of those big one volume openings books with him, a relatively recent one. That is the one book he brought with him and was looking at the e4, Nf3-g5, Bc4 attack (I discussed my reply to it with him briefly), whereupon once the game is about to start also says he doesn’t know what the French def. is, and goes on to play 1.d4

  5. Guys, I wouldn’t trust the computer’s assessment of opening positions before move 10. This is one area where decades of human experience easily outweigh the computer’s ability to see 12 ply ahead. Crafty’s way off on the relative merits of 6…Nc6 and 6…Nbd7; I’d say 6…Nc6 is around +0.8 while 6…Nbd7 is +0.1. Nothing wrong with the latter move at all. The …Ne4 plan (Lasker’s Defence in the Queen’s Gambit Declined) is not bad for Black, especially not after White’s half-wasted a move with a3. But the logical way to continue was 11…Nxc3 12.Rxc3 e5! (taking the centre and threatening …e4) and Black is at least equal.
    You’re right about …f5 being a bad idea when you’re missing your dark-squared bishop, but at least you followed up the best you could and put pressure on him anyway.

  6. lol. Thanks, Aziridine! (and for the positive light put on my moves). ๐Ÿ™‚

    I was looking at a game in Chess Life magazine by Zatonskih. She played NxNc3 as well, so your assessment reinforces this for me. I never would have guessed at your scorings for Nc6 vs. Nbd7, but that helps me a lot.

    In other news, after Thursday my new rating is 1755. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I was having trouble relating to the fact that I was rated under 1750.

    I just hope that people continue trying to play endgames against me. hehe.

  7. Let me throw this back at you then: why is …Nc6 so much weaker compared to …Nbd7? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I never thought it was, simply didn’t want to get into an openings discussion OTB with something I was unfamiliar with in that opening.

  9. The TD was very generous. If he followed the letter of the law you would have been SOL. That’s what happened to me in California in one round where the kid didn’t set the delay. Fortunately it did not matter I had enough time, and I won.

    Moral of the story: If you didn’t provide the clock check to make sure settings are correct before starting.

  10. There is a twist here, we use the tournament provided clocks (they are all the same) and supposedly pre-set. In the past, I make sure it is set to 4A and it automatically does the 5 second delay.

    I don’t know how to check other than to see if it does it from now on once the clock starts. I’ve always set it to 4A and got the delay, now I’ll have to check.

    Otherwise, I would have used my own clock, since I got to the board first and set-up all the pieces. If it were my opponent’s clock, I may have been more suspicious, BUT
    At the beginning of each G/75 or G/90i tournament I’ve been to, they TELL YOU to set the clock to 5 second-delay and subtract 5 minutes of time. These are the RULES that they tell you right up front. For someone knowingly not to, the are BREAKING THE RULES.

    The rules say “if both players agree to it”, but it’s really not an option otherwise. I can’t help it if a lot of TDs are dicks, because I think they probably have little sympathy, but at SD it’s a very important issue. The clock is the most important issue otherwise why have a (lame-dick) TD. The fact that there is a TD only encourages people not to act gentleman-like toward one another IMHO, so some are probably worse than useless, I find that not helpful to know about other than to take that for granted.

    The other thing is you can’t say “if neither player objects.” That was my whole argument, how am I supposed to object if I don’t know something is wrong until too late. My real mistake was not knowing how to stop the clocks, since during blitz I don’t have time to figure out the clock.

    “thatโ€™s what happened to me in California in one round where the kid didnโ€™t set the delay. Fortunately it did not matter I had enough time, and I won.”
    Are you saying that you objected and the TD said it was too late to change it? How is that following the rules? Also, was it SD?

    If I simply needed to get to move 30 or 40 and it wasn’t set, I wouldn’t have even challenged it and given my opponent the game; that I don’t have an issue with. Even if it were the second time-control, I wouldn’t have an issue with SD no delay. But the WHOLE game is at ONE SD time-control, big difference to me. This isn’t screw off for 4 hours then complain, this is G/70 with 5 second delay. The time-scramble is going to be huge in almost any game at this pace.

    What I hear/interpret from what you say is that if you were TD, you would “follow the rules” and forfeit me.

    Besides, the fact that the clock was set to 70 minutes for the entire game implies that both players have agreed to use the 5-second delay. I was only fortunate that the TD was able to discern that the delay had not been set even though my opponent would not help me out with that fact whatsoever just so that he could win the game. That is chess larceny IMO. Anyone who agrees with my opponent’s view of what should have happened, I perceive them as supporting this.

    My opponent was like “How do we know it wasn’t set at 5 second delay?” (even though he pointed to the clock earlier that something was different). I mean, how do we know he didn’t hang his queen and take it back, at some point the system relies on people being truthful and forthright (after talking with him later, I strongly suspected he knew; he all but admitted it).

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