Unrated opponent

He’s been playing online though, and the TD estimated him at 1600. Here is the game.

I like how Crafty thinks I had it “made in the shade”, but during the game I felt I was losing at times and that his a4, h4 (drowning sailor’s dream) really let the foot off the gas for his attack.

I played …c5, which I wasn’t as familiar with on the theory that anybody (any rating) can periodically get in a Greek-gift shot win against the Steinitz type of defense. Because I was playing against unrated and he had already lost to Anthea 1700’s, I felt like I needed more of a guarantee toward a win.

I felt that …Bd7 was the solid move, but felt I should try for a more active setup. My decision to fianchetto is what cost me the moves ..Qa5-c7 and Nd8 (which Crafty seems to have not much opinion on). …Nd8 was played because I felt that I had erred by not playing …Re8 on the previous move (then …Bf8 protects e6) – it was only at the last minute that I decided not to play …Re8, but then regretted it. Also, I could have simply played ..Bd7 and thereby left my queen on a5.

My opponent really got on himself that he was just losing the pawn and such, so he really doubted his moves, even quite a bit more than I doubted my own and that is saying something. Crafty appears to agree with him, but I would feel more in my element as White during this game as I could have been only one inaccuracy away from a “kill-shot” as Black. Luckily, he wasted tempos so that I was probably more like two inaccuracies away

We had a bunch of byes today, more than half the people in the tournament. Thankfully, Jason got the bye (last place) and not me – TD didn’t want to play, I guess. So there were only 2 games. It’s a little weird that someone will show up on round 2 and miss rounds 1 and 3, probably disturbs the results. This tournament/club is only guaranteed to go on until the end of August. I don’t know if I will play at Panera Bread on Thursdays, if that happens.

Problem is it’s easy to generate a lot of these wins (and potential losses) against unrateds and have no rating points to show for it. Even Jason, who I beat last Thursday, had his rating go up over 100 points from his last months tournament, so one doesn’t feel like one is getting assessed correctly for a win or loss against a semi-ringer. Luckily, my results have been strong recently. I have had my grave doubts, though, during some of these games.

Here is how a confident game could have gone. Note that this style of play takes a lot of confidence, precision, and not least important strength on the clock. But this is how a game “should” go, I reckon. I made Crafty play the sac on e6 because it’s important from a _human_ perspective, compensation and psychology-wise.


11 thoughts on “Unrated opponent

  1. After losing an exchange the game is over for White, I think. I still don’t quite understand Nd8, why do you need to protect e6, there is nothing there. There is no other square than c6 where the knight can go (and it happen later). In the “confident game” I am not sure about e6 sac, White gives up two active pieces for the rook and pawns, that don’t matter, 2 White bishops are really strong.

  2. Nd8 is a premature reaction to a Ng5 threat. I don’t understand why I thought I had to play it then, but I guess I wasn’t calculating accurately at that moment, didn’t look right but was trying to ward off his attack. The clock sort of suggested that I play whatever I thought I had to do right then, though. I couldn’t see how it loses in 4 moves or so, so I allowed myself to play it. That’s the problem with these time-controls for me, I am still not calculating fast enough and don’t really get a break other than to walk to the restroom, not a long mental break.

    You are seeing it more clearly than I was. I really didn’t know what to think other than that I was under positional pressure with my bad knight. But I guess exchanging 2 pieces for rook and two pawns (only 1 extra pawn in total) really disapates his attack as he 2 fewer attacking pieces vs. one fewer defender that is not even developed.

    I wasn’t really seeing it how you are saying. Perhaps I am not strong enough in that area to notice that Black can gain more control with all those pieces. Once I re-develop the knight after trades, that should help though.

    I know what I was thinking, got about 5 things wrong/missed when I calculated with that move. At the time, it feels more difficult to defend at a faster time-control, a gambit should be the perfect ploy for White, as long as the pressure slowly gets ratcheted. Sure, there was nothing really there, it just wasn’t as obvious at the time.

    He made a lot of Crafty’s moves, and it’s different, it’s slow enough of a game to sense the intelligence behind someone’s move. Unlike 15 minutes where you don’t give a sh*t and simply go with your gut, better gut wins. Here you have time to think it and say “Oh rat’s, he played it!” It’s slow enough to do a mindjob, but fast enough that you don’t feel you have time for a long think on your own turn.

    One thing is strange for being on a defensive like that. I am trying random moves just to see how Craft scores it. A careless exchange such as Bb7 takes a knight on e4 can cause it’s score to go from -2.11 to -.78. I am noticing other jumps where Knight goes here it’s -2, but if it goes there it’s -4 and it’s not immediately obvious why one move is better or worse than the other. Objectively, there is only a 1 pawn advantage but there are wild deviations based on tactical initiative for either side. Black can win quickly in some instances.

  3. So RollingPawns, you didn’t play yesterday I take it?

    I am not going to play Thursdays next month. Hopefully I can take something away from having played G/75, I thought I could but perhaps I was delusional.

    I may still play on Wednesday next month, but I would say right now that I won’t. It would be dumb to.

    Between early July and early August there are 3 big weekend tournaments, so that’s 15 games. That’s where any big rating point jump would show up, if one is to show up, and it’s just 2 days every 2 weeks, so no more energy depleted compared to 2 games in back-to-back nights each week.

    A month after that is another big tournament so I conceivably don’t play weeknights in September either. Probably play on Wednesday and I think the Thursday tournament will have shut down by then anyhow.

    Next Thursday will be my last G/75 Thursday. Conceivably, I could still take first place, but that will be it, it’s the last round.

  4. If you wanted to fianchetto why not do it with tempo by playing 12…b5 13.Bd3 Bb7?
    I have to agree with Rolling pawns, Bxe6 is nothing for White, Black is still close to winning – his minors are all beautifully active and d7 and e7 are well guarded against any invasion by White’s rooks. Crafty’s handling of Black’s position is not best – when you’re playing with two pieces for a rook you usually shouldn’t trade rooks, so Black should’ve played …Bc5, then …Rf8. One can imagine Black simply winning this position with a direct kingside attack or by trading off the queens and picking up White’s weak queenside pawns in the endgame.

  5. Aziridine, I considered …b5, but thought that it just encourages his bishop to move. Actually, after ..b6 his bishop could still move. My thinking made no sense, but it’s easier to shake out the stupidity at slower time-controls, that or be really comfortable with one’s game.

    There are 4 strong players that play there. 2 move too fast for me, of the other two 1 is the TD and doesn’t always play, the other is Mark who had to take a bye last week. IOW, at that club, I can probably get 1 desirable game a month and 3 undesirable ones. I’ve gotten used to playing there, I even feel like I could play every night if that’s all I should be spending my time on, but now I have to get un-used to playing there and make next week my last game.

    Thinking again, I probably don’t want to play ..b5 as a4 gives White something. Better to pound away at the c-pawn unmolested. That was my actual thinking at the board. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Two pieces for rook and pawn, it’s like he is gaining half a pawn (point) in material compensation, but he is losing 3 tempos to do so and that is the kicker. It’s not oh this is how these pieces control the position – that many pieces for Black will have lots of control potential, anyway. It simply comes down to tempos and no immediate mate threat, IMO.

    Aziridine, it’s interesting to hear your comments about how Black should control the position. Thanks for the …Rf8 non-trade rooks advice. That sort of argument usually goes right over my head, whether I should trade rooks or what I didn’t know, but now I see your advice makes sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I don’t think a4 is anything to be worried about, just play …b4. But if that’s not convincing to you I also don’t think you needed to play …Qc7 before …b6.
    Regarding the B+N vs. R+2P trade, time is not such a big factor (Black loses tempi having to move the queen and recapture the knight, too) – Black’s knight and bishop are just flat out stronger than White’s rook and two pawns in this position (compare rook on d1 vs. knight on c4 and bishop on b7). Move Black’s b-pawn to c6 and White’s c-pawn to b3, for example, and you might get a very different story – now it would be Black’s isolated c-pawn that would be very vulnerable to White’s rooks (imagine if he triples on the c-file), and the bishop on b7 is bad and the knight on a5 has no c4-square.

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  8. RollingPawns, sorry to hear about that.

    Aziridine, your recommendations in the first paragraph are spot on. Your second paragraph makes sense too. Yeah, the rook’s power is mainly in the endgame as a giant-pawn stopper. When I really stop to think about it, how can it compare to a bishop and a knight and one pawn (in this instance)? Perhaps with two connected unnoposed pawns on sixth rank middle of board with helper pieces having nice squares, okay – extreme example, I admit – but OTW, those pieces in conjunction with queen can do a lot of damage in the middlegame.

    A big hole in my game is that I am an ignoramus when it comes to handling the queens. For example, I am going over Karpov’s games and don’t know how to win this position as White where Black resigns. I am now guessing pushed the passed pawn, but I will run it by Crafty to see how.
    Ah, simple mate!

    How can I be frequently be decent at kingside attacks but not find these spot-mates later in the game with my queen? I developed a habit as a weaker player of trading off queens. My technique with queens off the board is usually very strong, but having built-up years/decades of technique that way left me more like a much weaker rated player when keeping them on.

  9. “unless there is a direct mating attack” Well, Bb2 or Bh6 is coming, I think that qualifies ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. With all the pieces, a full-blooded kingside attack with pawns in the way for and against, etc. Not where I have this one bishop and queen vs. queen and knight with back rank to watch out for at the moment. Lots of stuff = lots of resources. Two pieces means it has to be exact. That’s why I edited that out.

    When I looked at it for the third time, it seemed obvious that Black was in zugzwang to stop the bishop, but I still didn’t see the fundamental mate with queen sac plus bishop and rook mate at the end. Mates like that I still don’t see easily. Kasparov was very good at finding mates with minimal resources at the end of a long attack.

    For me, that’s almost like an indirect mating attack, for someone good at it, it’s a direct mating attack.

    Karpov does this a lot, fights all game for this extra pawn or two, in this case, then turns it into an attack on the king (I know, this one was simple). Sometimes he does the opposite and trades down to one piece each with one pawn. He can calculate a lot of lines deeply, so he will go with what he can verify. I think he gets mis-characterized quite a bit.

    Here is a Karpov game going back to 1966. He’s a tactical bad-@ss when he wants to be:

    He gets so many positional wins like this one, though, that he doesn’t need to resort to all that extra combinational fancy stuff that other top players may NEED to resort to to get a win:

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