In this game I had Black against Alex. I lost on time as I was making the move ..Rg6, then I saw the mate with ..Rd8 and ..Rd4, plus the king gets mated no matter what it does. I saw 4 seconds and waited until I saw 3 to move, but it takes 3.5 seconds for me to move, apparently that’s as fast as I can physically complete a move.
My opponent angrily said “Flag!”, so I told him “you don’t have to yell”. I would have said “good game” since it was over.
Afterwards, Mark pulled out a book and lectured on what theory says about this opening even though neither of us wanted to here it since that wasn’t what this game was about. Of course he tells me to play safer and time-pressure is bad, and my opponent gloats and shoots out the scoresheet for me to sign (it’s really just a formality). People get so amped up. I was upset for about a minute that I lost of time, but the whole mantra of “you must be playing like crap because you lost” is a complete turnoff and if I were to stop playing, that would be why.
I wanted to congratulate my opponent, win or lose, on the fact that he went for a job interview. I find it semi-disgusting that everything has to be about chess nonstop, and that I don’t make any friendships or hang-out outside the playing hall. It would be nice if people would simmer-down and take it easy. It’s not as if $100 bet were riding on the game, although $40 first place should excite me more to win. It’s 5 rounds, and I didn’t get very nervous during the game, just there to have fun. The really important stuff is what we do during the day.
Yes, he offered me a draw with a minute, but I told him “Naw, I don’t want a draw”. What fun is that? How am I going to learn to be responsible with my clock if I take an easy draw offer. The draw wouldn’t have bothered me that much either, but I am trying to improve for when I play stronger players some day, I am not trying to “game the tournament.” My opponent had actually prepared for this game with Fritz but I didn’t like that line, but then they are trying to convince at first that I am wrong. Good gravy, I won a piece in the opening, and tried to explain that wasn’t the issue in this game, it was playing through complications and time-management.
He did have just under an hour on his clock, but that wouldn’t have made any difference, I simply didn’t realize that I was taking up too much time with my moves, and forgot that I needed to try and finish the game with at least 10 minutes remaining, that thought slipped my mind. I don’t believe that I “suck” just because I lost a game or that my opponent has now suddenly “improved” his game after being lost pretty much the whole game – he plays fast, this time it helped him.
Right after move 20, I saw that …e4 instead of trading queen for rook and piece was probably stronger, but even then I knew that it would have been more time spent to analyze that line. I realized with the queen trade that that would make it difficult for me on the clock but it looked fun and challenging. Incidentally, he had made more queen checks with his queen, but under 5 minutes I stopped recording so I didn’t include them all.
Mark’s suggestion that I don’t play that line against him because my opponent trained on it with Fritz, or that he now knows hot to play against the C3 Sicilian because the database says that …g6 has the highest percentage of wins. Look, I respect that people have prepared their openings, it is an admirable quality, but it should be completely obvious that an OTB game in chess is about sorting through complications, not about tricking someone with an opening line. Well, guess I had to get that off my chest – I basically said as much there in so many words. I have played the line in the game a few times before. My opponent first said that my …Qc7 in the opening “was a mistake”. Oh, lets see what the book says (an old beat-up Batsford chess openings encyclopedia is produced), book says …Rb8, which I basically knew but didn’t prefer that line. Yep, that’s what happened, I forgot to play the right move on move 3 and lost the game, I hate when that happens. 😉
I don’t understand why I go to play chess to have fun and socialize a bit, and then get treated as I am going through “customs” from Afghanistan after a game. Me and my opponent were on good terms before the game (still are), so I wasn’t there to prove anything to him, even felt a little sorry for him during the game. I am really not afraid of anyone OTB. Sure, there are some higher-rated players than me that have won against me, but I hardly ever get a chance to play these higher-rated opponents, anyway. Everyone takes it so seriously, it’s not very gracious. I even thank my opponents after the game sometimes, even on the internet we do that sometimes. Sometimes I think “Why does everyone act like I am getting paid to do this?” and by they I mean the people that I play with. “I coulda beat you!” So what? It’s just a game, and they probably haven’t put into what I have, either.
Here is a miniature that I just played on FICS:
Reason I show this is that I play with no fear against higher-rated. I can even solve the combos from the anthology book, it’s simply mis-managed use of time at the board that can do me in like nothing else, I suppose, and I really didn’t need all that time, simply didn’t allot it correctly and even stopped writing down my times like I usually do. For some reason, I stopped caring so much about the clock, but I knew that I wasn’t budgeting my time well. My biggest problem is that I do have to budget my time because I often need a minute a move to play comfortably. I’ve stopped doing that heart-palpitating blitz stuff, just isn’t worth it, my heartbeat doesn’t even pick up that much and I am definitely not as nervous as my opponents. If you play enough, that is what happens.
Botvinnik said not to play 2 weeks before a tournament to keep that hunger, but I know what he meant. If you play too much you normalize to it, whereas if you don’t, you become an excited freak and love to blitz in those cliffhangers and get like an egomaniacal wildman. That is not my chess ideal, but I suppose it may work when it comes to crosstable results.