2.5/5 A fair, if not unremarkable and disappointing result, but I can only blame myself for the blown opportunities. Round 2 was real howler, that is the one where I had no business losing such a won position. It’s one of those games where I don’t need anyone to stumble onto this blog like a week from now and point out one of super-obvious blunders that even a Class D player wouldn’t have made.
He missed a tactic early that cost him a piece.
In this tournament, I saw my blunders immediately, but I also figured out the part of my blundercheck that is wrong, it’s called needing to predict what the opponent will actually play on his next move before making one’s own move. I dropped a piece when instead Bf6, as I saw even then, was a huge advantage. I had decided to play an experiment and make fast moves and I played for a combo quickly there, then no sooner had I played it than I realized he doesn’t take the bishop. Later I had equalized to 0.0 but “took him at his word” that there was rook sac on my g3 pawn, which doesn’t work. In time trouble, I defended with my queen but just as quickly realized he would simply improve his bishop. An “ouch” game, for sure, had no business losing this one.
My opponents suggestions after the game were even better than blindly following Crafty’s suggestions.
I went into this tournament more results-focused than ratings obsessed. I spent a lot of time looking at …dxc followed by …e5 breaks, but ultimately decided that if he doesn’t open up the position and make a blunder, then I will be satisfied with a draw. I was tired and not in the mood for any funny business for the sake of not losing a bunch of rating points.
Arguably this miniature was the most interesting game of my tournament. I have more respect for Anthea as a chessplayer than any other player that I have been playing recently, and would play her if I could only play one other person. Her games are tactically inventive, and she actually has a lot of talent, not just another overrated player due to experience or gamesmanship. …Bf5 was obviously the losing move, but there was more to this game than meets the eye. For what I know this Kf1 variation is a novelty than I invented OTB, although I’m sure someone’s played it before somewhere. Crafty has a lot of bad moves stored in it’s DB for some reason, so the e4 sac would seem to be a blunder for White. She should have played …Nf6 back, and kept the single pawn advantage.
I was even or had the tiniest advantage until I blundered, according to Crafty. I saw my blunder as soon as I took my hand off the piece, another horror moment, but I’ve done it before. I think he took close to a minute verifying before he took the knight. After the game I asked him what he would have done had I played the obvious …Re7 instead. He replied “I dunno”. So I basically threw this well played game onto the garbage heap.
What happened is that I started to get tired after having barely slept for the past two nights. At 28 minutes I told myself to stop doing a blundercheck and play fast (under 30 minutes) right before playing it. Famous last words. What a blundercheck should be, and now I’m clear on it, is to ask yourself what your opponents next move will actually be (best, reasonable, or most immediately forcing move) before playing one’s own move. This is what I didn’t get, although I often did it when I was spending lots of time on moves.
After the game, I wondered if I had played ..Re7 instead followed by doubling rooks on the c-file, before focusing on his isolated pawn. Crafty also liked the doubled rooks on c-file. The thing is though, best I could come up with was a 70 move draw. I realized that his style is not to worry about advantages in the opening as much as maneuver in an equal yet playable middlegame, with some initiative, until I, his opponent either mess up due to the clock or blunder, pretty much one and the same. Saving 28 minutes against his style is not enough, since one must go the distance to assure a draw.
Incidentally and rather ironically, Black has so many tactics against White, that if I had played …Re7 the NxNd6 move becomes virtually forced anyway to avoid losing. Another example of how a “true blundercheck” is actually finding your opponents next move, and not simply “Oh, nothings hanging or loose, so I must be okay.” Not so.
Another form of “bad blundercheck” was show in round 2. Verifying that your calculations are accurate doesn’t mean much if your opponent plays an entirely different move that you didn’t even consider, particularly an obvious one!