Wednesday’s Round 4 game

Got there 20 minutes early, the backroom was empty.

I was playing Isaac, son of Anthea, the tactical duo. So I knew what I was up against.

This game was interesting because I think we were both wanting to see just how tactically strong that we were. Both of us knew theory to the point where it left off. I almost played a Ruy Lopez because I figured that would be the “sensible” way to look for a win, and figured if I play Scotch he might play …Qh4 (being the tactical dynamo that he is). I also had guessed that Paul, his coach may have booked him up a little in this line. Lucky for me, it’s not really a strong line for Black.

I’ve seen …Qe5 in theory books before, but now that I see it with Crafty, I think it’s a bust. I didn’t play 9.f4, because ..Qf6 10.Nxf+ Kd8, 11.NxR Qxc3+ 12. Bd2 Qd4, and now White can’t castle, but didn’t notice that after 13.c3 that White can now castle. The theory behind this variation is that White gives up the e4 pawn to get Black to play …Kd8. So, Crafty is suggesting 8…Kd8 there. It’s funny how his blunders came when he didn’t want to give something up that he needed to give up. So psychology must have been working against him there.

I have to admit, when he moved his knight back I let out an audible “Wow!” – trying not to do this but some games a word slips out. At the end of the game, White threatens Ng8+(double-check)…Kg8, Re8 mate. Had 48 minutes left before my last move. I would have moved faster, but I started to sense early on that the game was in the tank. Uncharacteristically for him, he actually spent quite a bit of time in the opening, unlike last time we played where he was a blur. I guess he learned to slow it down.

I wasn’t nervous or tired and had plenty left in the tank after this game. After the game, he tried 14. Qh6, which I thought he was going to play, and mated him quickly in that line as well. Sure, he found a tactical quip wining a pawn, but it’s sorta meaningless to find those things when your position is so majorly shot to heck.

Went over another guy’s game with him, and also gave him my Mednis book, showed him that his tactics would have worked if he had looked a move deeper. I feel like I’ve improved his game a lot just discussing games/moves with him. I felt “on” today, surprisingly, like the chess-day where everything went right. It’s so funny to hear everyone talking about their rating at the D and C levels, like “I should be 1400 or 1500 or 1600” and they probably should, but it just sounds so funny. I wasn’t worried about my rating, but for me, well I guess I’ve sort of given up on the ratings chase unless perhaps I play in a weekend tournament against a strong field – those are coming up.

I felt like “Holy Toledo, all those books and studying all of a sudden finally paid off!” That Mednis book helped me a lot, that guy ought to be a better player if he studies it.


10 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Round 4 game

  1. Brutal. 6…Ba5 does looks reasonable for Black, but 5.Nb5 would’ve avoided that. I sure hope it wasn’t his coach’s idea to make him play this crap, or he should get a new coach!

  2. I wonder why on earth your opp played Nd8? It takes away the logical Kd8 in that position. Was he thinking Nc6-d8-e6 as defense?

    Anyway, well played. You kept him under pressure the entire game (for as long as it lasted).

  3. “I sure hope it wasnโ€™t his coachโ€™s idea to make him play this crap, or he should get a new coach!”


    It seems like this line would have fitted his style, but it also appeared that I was less phased by the opening than he was. He started to seem a little uncomfortable once we got past book, almost as if he really wanted to play something more positional quite frankly, and oddly that is how he mistakenly tried to handle the opening past this point.

    That’s the thing with this line, it’s as if Black is saying “Boo!” and when White doesn’t flinch, Black often wants to find a way to ditch it.

    I didn’t notice until Crafty pointed it out, but 7..BxNc3+ is book because if Black tries 7…Ba5 then Black is overworked as Nxc7+ is not prevented because if BxNc7, then NxQ.

  4. Hey LinuxGuy!

    So I took a look at Black’s …Qh4 line. I hate playing against the Scotch as Black so I am always on the look out for something.

    I agree with your assessment that the …Qh4 line is like Black saying “boo”.

    Nothing comes of it and Black has stilted development. 4…Nf6 is better in my opinion. I don’t even like the 4..Bc5 lines. (maybe because right now I am a little too focused on the center. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also think Black should have played …Nf6 instead of …Qe5. White’s development is better after …Qe5.

  5. “Was he thinking Nc6-d8-e6 as defense? ”

    I think so. He left in disappointment so we didn’t discuss the game.

    Thanks for the compliments. ๐Ÿ™‚ RollingPawns, the next big tournament is actually not until the weekend after this one.

    Tommy, like you say, I was more worried about …Nf6 at some point. The ..Bc5, ..Qf6 is a bit of a pain for White and Black keeps White on its tactical toes, even may get some tactical counter-chances, but White can play matter-of-factly and not lose, although even there there is an e4 gambit by White, although if played right it’s to White’s advantage.

    I don’t feel booked up at all like I should be. Perhaps that’s the next real area I should focus on, with databases, just to have a better idea of exact move-order, like a “book-up” type of training.

    Frankly, I wanted to send a message in this game that I am not a tactical push-over. His coach will probably see it and possibly his mom.

  6. What is a young improving player going to learn from this game? That trying to grab pawns early doesn’t pay? If that’s the lesson you want to teach then why make your student suffer when he can be the one having fun? His coach should be teaching him how to play the white side of this line, not the black.

  7. I think his coach is a big believer in “making your opponent’s position uncomfortable in the opening”, which is why when after I lost to his coach Paul (1900) last time, I showed him that I had a much better move that I almost played (he was moving same piece twice to try and disorganize my forces).

    His coach is a solid endgame instructor and taught him an opening system called “the cheesecake”, which is like a Veresov/London/Torre-Attack looking creature (best recollection) where White can whip out 12 moves quickly and the middle-game attack is very well known to the kid. I would teach a more classical approach, but perhaps I simply lack imagination. In any case, it worked, last time I played this kid he was rated in the 1300’s (last month). He was 2 out of 3 in this tournament before we played, ahead of me.

    If I were a coach, I would tell the student to play the main-line Nf6 with ..Bb4. Last time I played as White I won nicely somehow, but that is the easiest system for Black to play through the opening. The …Qf6 system is more tactical but one has to calculate attacks and not just look for tactical dongles like forks and pins all on their lonesome.

    Tommy, I’ve never liked playing as Black against the Scotch either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    My interpretation of this game is that, although I was surprised that I outplayed him tactically, that if he stuck with this sort of line and learned it deeper, it could be more suited to his style, but now I question his style because of some of the moves played, trying to impose classical moves on an eclectic position doesn’t take. So I guess he should go back to more solid stuff first.

    The problem I have with sharp variations for Black is not that “Eww, Black get’s in his pet scary variation!”, but rather that if White plays enough of it and books up, then it’s _White_ who stands to profit in the larger sense. It’s surprise value is reduced in this day and age where White may have already been crushed 52 times by it online, and then booked up some with it after the game. Before the days of computers and on-line chess, I think Black could get away with these tight-rope acts more productively, even if a novelty was only used for one tournament then discarded quickly.

  8. I don’t think playing crappy moves should be part of anyone’s style ๐Ÿ™‚ I prefer to make my opponents uncomfortable by playing good moves ๐Ÿ™‚
    I don’t think your biggest problem is lack of opening knowledge. I think you play the opening quite reasonably for someone at your level. But to get better you must continue to improve your tactics – they are your biggest stumbling block. Also you’re not very accurate in assessing and handling positions with unequal material.

  9. Aziridine, thanks for the recommendations and advice. I will study tactics then, yeah! (Puts down opening book and slowly backs away….)

    Not sure how to remedy the unequal material thing, but it keeps watching other people’s games interesting as they run into that problem to at my level.

    Alex, the other guy I was talking about, drew a position a wing-pawn down as Black but he was coming up with all sorts of mate threats with bishop and rook. You are right, I am not all that tactically, although one big bang in the opening, if can get it, sure makes it look easy.

    Just looked at two back-rank problems I had seen before, took quite a while for me to solve them!

    My new rating after this month’s tournaments is 1783.

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