Wednesday Round 3

I played Kevin for the first time, in this game, as Black – this is the 1400 level player that beat Anthea last week. Presumably we are both 2-0. Anthea’s omen almost proved correct when she complained that he could just play for the draw and she lost going for the win. He was also playing best moves, though, which helps.

Opening started out French Exchange var. where I got a pleasant advantage, but just then was my first blunder. I had been planning ..Be6 if he had played Nh4, but that was still the move to make here. Of course it was one of my fastest moves, did only a basic blundercheck, but saw the problem as soon as I came back to the board, Ne5, and of course he then found the move and started playing well from that point. This is the point of the game where I kind of joke to myself “What would Victor Kortchnoi do? – answer: he wouldn’t have!”

So then I am, okay, what can I do with this ending? When I played …Kb6, I was like uh-oh, probably should have not blocked the b-pawn. Naturally, my opponent is playing well, but I play worse! Somehow my opponent plays into my time-pressure and I am relieved that he does not play g4! Why did I even allow it, I dunno, went into hope-chess mode, and had even knew that g4 would bust it when I played it, but was out of ideas and running out of time.

I knew that the knight exchange was a draw (hence, the hope part of it), but then he chose not to lay off with Kf3-Kg2, draw, and kept quickly prodding for the win. For a change, I was enjoying this sequence. Then he gives me one last chance at the very end, having given me some of his time to think, and I did not miss the mark. What a finish.

After the game, analyzing with Crafty, I realized that I had missed d4 not only at the wrong time (I kept looking for it) – b4 was another quick move. Okay, it’s actually a draw if he plays g4 after …d4, but if White takes the d-pawn, right away instead of waiting for …dxc, then White loses. I’ve looked at hundreds of moves, and I would have to say that the ending was completely drawn in any event, but by pushing forward, I gave him a chance to mess up. One of the best ways to secure a draw in this situation, for either side, is to create a pawn fortress, that is for a stone-cold draw vs. an active draw (where one side could mess it up).

When I finally did push …d4, it should have been a game-losing blunder. Instead, …Nd6 holds, although White can push Black back for quite a bit, with correct play (and even that was interesting to see) Black will draw.

Sidenote: I would actually be back to 1800 at this moment, if one of my previous round opponents had not lost a 100 points over the weekend playing quick chess – as it is, this will cost me 5 rating points. So, I have won all 3 rounds, somewhat miraculously, since even a draw in my last game would have wiped out all of the 12 rating points.

This weekend I am going to play in Monument, 5 rounder (G/2hrs, finally!). Last moment decision. I guess I figure it’s my last chance at a shot for some rating points, but it could also become a case where I have to win against every 1500 level player under the sun just to try to stay at 1800, we’ll see. Also, I have never stopped at Monument and this is the last important town locally, that I’ve wanted to see. I’ll have to try and play at the same pace and simply think of the 30 extra minutes as time for the endgame, a long one.

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6 thoughts on “Wednesday Round 3

  1. Fritz doesn’t consider …d4 a “game losing blunder”, gives it – 0.36. Yeah, g4 would be upleasant, but you could survive – 0.67. Generally speaking, it wasn’t your best game, but he screwed up in the pawn endgame. Interesting, that recently I had similar pawn endgame playing blitz, it was a clear draw, just keep opposition, but he didn’t want a draw, so his king went for “adventures” and he lost. Your case is a bit more complicated, but that’s pawn endgame – you have to know that every move and every tempo counts.

  2. The problem with this opening variation is that Black can’t play for the win. Opposite-side 0-0-0 for Black in the French exchange is even riskier than it is for White in the Sicilian, quite a bit riskier. The only other way to play for the win, safest, is by means of endgame. May be ugly, but there is solace in an endgame win for Black as even White can have chances in the endgame.

    I could not find a hold for Black after any further continuation. I recall White had a lot of initiative after trading h-pawns, and letting White play gxh was winning late for White with the extra pawn.

    The rating system sucks in that it should be okay for Black to play for the draw even against lower-rated players. One shouldn’t have to make bad moves just to accomodate lower-rated players. As it stands it’s nearly impossible to move your rating if playing against them a lot and all they want is a draw with White. If I win as White, twice, and draw with Black against him once, I still lose a rating point. It’s a rather pessimistic scenario.

    I am throwing around the idea of adding the Caro-Kahn to my repertoire, it would be great to avoid the French Exchange variation, but then I can only do it for that purpose against lower-rated players that I know will play the French Exchange as White looking for a draw. I almost need to play the Petroff against such player, knowing that Nc3 is likely and at least it’s a safe boring game to play for the win from.

  3. According to me whites 47. Ke5 gives away the draw in hand.

    In the opening you had the little advantage since Nc3 isn’t a good move in that sort of Slav opening setups but then you went wrong with 0-0-0 and swapping all pieces.

  4. Rollingpawns, thanks, I like that blog!

    No, absolutely not what anyone said. It just seemed like the blog part wasn’t getting read and that maybe it was just a bunch of excuses and I didn’t deserve anyone’s support!

    I’ll comment on the Thursday thread

  5. You deserve my support in any case.
    I was going to leave a comment there, by the way.
    Sorry I don’t leave comments on some of your posts, it’s just I am occupied now with non-chess related problems, as you noticed, I didn’t post myself too.

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