Unfocused

I haven’t been sick once since I’ve been in Colorado, but have been feeling under the weather the last couple days. When I get sick, I can’t concentrate and stop drinking coffee to let my immune system work. This time, immediately before the game I had a sandwich at the venue, but should have ordered coffee instead as I could use have used a focusing performance boost.

In this game, I played another Alex, a Class A player that I had drawn once before as Black. He did the “fake the Najdorf, play the Dragon” which is typical of what I see from Black players (although that may simply be book), but I was in the mood to play either opening.

Not until I got into the game did I realize that I could still calculate, but wasn’t focused, and thought about grabbing some coffee but didn’t. I was surprised by his Nxe4 because I didn’t think it worked, but we both missed that he could win two pieces for the rook simply with …Rxd4, QxRd4…BxBh6. In the combo, I thought I was getting two rooks for queen and pawn, which I shouldn’t be allowing anyhow, but I missed at the end of it if I play Bh6xRf8, he has the intermezzo Be3+, saving his bishop before recapturing on f8. Actually, now that I look at it again, even without the check …Be3 would have been preventing my bishop from getting back out unless I sack back the exchange (chase the bishop with rook to f4, Black plays …e5, then RxBf4 allows the bishop to get back out – Bh6).

For some reason, I just didn’t want to face a pawn storm and the bishop pair, figured that might be too easy for him, so I ended up trading Queen for Rook and dark-bishop, which looked interesting afterward, but it was the result of a blunder. Some mental fatigue hit me, so I decided to move, then saw ..Be3+ immediately. Toward the end, just when I thought that I might get in Rf4-f7-g7 mate (yeah, right), he traded his rook for bishop and pawn, and I immediately saw the point of Qe5+ and said “Ahhh, I thought I might have had it.” – he smiled – which is my way of saying that I am playing on in a resignable game. I could have resigned right there but played on to witness his technique. Interestingly enough, we both missed his mate in two with …Qe1+ instead of …Qe5+. Later, I figured Rxb7 was best, but wasn’t much interested in playing out the rook vs. queen and played a tongue-in-cheek move instead, not seeing that it drops the rook.

Incidentally, if I had played Kf2 instead of taking his rook, I would still lose either rook or bishop on the d-file depending on my next moves – Crafty says -6.

Well, it was a fun game, he deserved the win, and I’ll have to be more careful in the opening next time. I sort of knew that this game might suck depending on how my body reacted, if my concentration began to come in waves. But you can’t time these things, ideally it would happen in a game against a lower-rated player. Needless to say, I haven’t been able to do hardly any mental work in the last two days.

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6 thoughts on “Unfocused

  1. I just recently reminded myself that I need to be careful with withdrawing d4 square supp0rt by moving my bishop to h6, I am playing such type of positions with Moscow variation. I think you were somewhat demoralized by N:e4, I frankly don’t understand that queen sac, you do not have compensation for the queen. OK, you can learn from this game and move on.

  2. RollingPawns – the queen sac for rook and bishop was a blunder caused by mental fatigue, but it seemed interesting afterward. I liked the fact that I had two pieces for the queen, lots of attackers, but learned that his queen could simply keep making threats.

    Ne4 wasn’t demoralizing because I thought I could win the two rooks for queen and pawn, but I think I was also in a sort of semi-delusional state because I wasn’t feeling like I was in my right mind, physically.

    You are right, I didn’t realize how tough it is to withdraw d4 square support; unless I play something like Nc3-e2, I don’t even see how it can be done.

    I wasn’t seeing tactics well in this game. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the Nxe4 threat and more specifically the variation that he played, but it’s almost as if the part of my brain that was calculating and the part of my brain that was evaluating the position were not communicating with each other. Surely, in a fast game, I could make a mistake like this all day long, but I had plenty of time to look at it. It seems like I temporarily blew a circuit in the part of my brain that controls analytical judgment – I was even making lots of basic typos when I wrote this post. I feel better today, perhaps some coffee will help. 🙂

  3. I guess you were in a very bad shape if you blundered like this. I just recently looked at one of my OTB games, and was wondering how I could miss winning an exchange or piece as a result of fork or fork in 2 moves or pin in 2 moves in 3 out of 4 sequential moves. And I blundered in the end and the result – draw with -250 rated.
    I played yesterday, posted the game.

  4. That’s what happens when one is not at their best, it becomes easy to miss obvious tactics. I think you were right before, when not feeling well, don’t play something like the Open Sicilian – I was optimistic in spirit.

    When you say you missed those tactics, I bet little did you realize that that is where all the extra rating points were at (Say, if an Expert were playing your side). All that work given away by missing the tactics.

  5. He was rated 250 lower and it was a start of a very bad tourney. So, it can be even for a while. That’s why I tried to get out of this spin (previous lost in Scotch) as soon as possible, preparing for yesterday’s game.

  6. Oh yeah, the Scotch game, I had already forgotten about that one. 😉

    Ah, yeah, had to look at that game again. That’s right, you simply missed a tactic. I think that is perhaps the weakness to both of our games, on average, is missing something in a position of a tactical nature.

    I think you are phenomenal at positional play and preparation. My strength tends to be calculation, which will work out more in my favor in future games, if I can just stop being such a “head case”. My calculation skills were starting to improve until I ran into this game, got lazy in “his” combination.

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