Thursday Round 3 – Jan 2011

I don’t even want to post this game, as I’ve sort of had it with G/90, it’s almost pointless, although I could still incrementally improve on the clock as I did waste plenty of time on moves that I saw coming.

He moved very fast and the only reason I gained an advantage is because I am, get this, actually taking the time to observe the board when my opponents just make their quick moves, which isn’t chess since they don’t see it coming, just react intelligently. I saw his feeble counter-attack coming with ..Bxf7+, couldn’t believe he actually played but I had already analyzed it, but then it doesn’t matter because I take too much time making sure.

Once I got into time-pressure, my game completely fell apart.

For instance, I was going to play 20…Bf6, but then failed to notice that I can stop him with 21.BxB exB, 22. Qxb7+ Bd7 (did not notice this move even as I had considered …Kh8 with …Bd7 and …Bc6 previously).

I was going to play 30…Nd4 FTW, but then wasn’t sure what to do after 31.e5, not noticing that although it removes the queen as defender, the Rf4 is now defending the knight.

Once he played 31.Ng5, I did not know how to stop the fork, should have taken the chance since I am losing anyway, on 31…Nd4 which actually wins for tactical reasons that no way did I have time to analyze.

He had about 50 minutes more than me, and didn’t start using them until I got into time-trouble. This whole game was an exercise in futility, since he wasn’t thinking a whole lot, mostly just won on my clock, hence he avoids the trades and my first huge blunder was some sort of desire to trade queens in time-trouble.

The game went on to a rook vs. knight ending with an extra pawn, but there was no way I could hold that ending together, even with more time. He eventually won my knight, but by then was already winning the pawn endgame even if he had traded rook for knight.

The USchess.org site looks like they messed it up. Maybe that is an omen to quit chess. It seems pointless right now. Okay, they fixed it.

Getting back to my move 30, though. Immediately after I played 30…Qd6, I though “OMG, why didn’t I simply triple on the f-file!”, it’s one of those “zen moments” one has such as after dropping a piece. On the way home, I thought if I had tripled and he still could have defended with 31. Qd3 Nd4, 32.QxN RxN, 33.QxQ RxQ, 34.f3 and he may still draw. Of course, 31…Nd4 is not the thing to do, the thing to do is to apply more pressure with 31…e5, which I had even considered momentarily during the game as an intelligent “pass”, but even then there is some sort of way I need to keep up the complications as Crafty has Black up by -2.76 if I do that, but I simply did not have the luxury of spending that much time.

Ah! …e5 bolsters the …Nd4 move, which will be a rook and pawn endgame with two pawns to the good as White has lots of isolanis on his fourth rank. Or even better, for example 31…e5, 32. b4 (White is in zugzwang) …Nd4, 33. Rc3 NxNf3, and after trading the remaining pieces on f3, Black will be up a queenside pawn for a sure-footed win.

If this were my old club where 30/90, G/30 prevailed, this game would have been a sure win, as would so many others have been wins or draws rather than losses. My G/90 rating is like having half my brain tied behind my back. I never got nervous during this game, though, only stupid on the clock.

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14 thoughts on “Thursday Round 3 – Jan 2011

  1. Don’t get too upset, I lost yesterday too to the guy like yours. He played rather well, I played horribly. Will post, even like you don’t want to, need to understand what happened. Will look at your game, of course.

  2. Yes, it’s difficult to play one’s best at G/90. Not only did I have to take my opponent’s moves into account, which I had until time-trouble, but I had to take the actual better moves that he didn’t play into account, which ate up some time even though they didn’t get played.

    Yeah, I guess I am not upset now, like you say. I think it takes time to combine best play with clock-prudence. One also gets better at ignoring bystanders who stop by whenever there is a sac or time-trouble. Naturally, one is more self-conscious during those moments, but it goes away, something one would never have to get used to playing online.

  3. You played well in the opening and later – first 30 moves and yes, that 31… Nd4 was crucial.
    You have to set milestones like first 15 moves, 30 moves or endgame … and convince yourself that staying within time limit – let’s say 20 minutes, 1 hour for the above is more important that finding the best move, just stop looking for it at some moment.
    Dan Heisman had the whole article about this. Most of the times you (or me) won’t find it anyway, Fritz will do it.

  4. I think I’ve figured this thing out. I need to play f-up moves quickly! Not my mistake but rather my opponents’.

    When my opponent played Bxf7+, that was a clear f-up move and deserved an immediate response. Allowing my Bh3? Another huge f-up by White. I shouldn’t sit there and think about White’s best plan, screw White, White f’d up and deserves ZERO credit. Ba3, obvious crap. Why should I think about shite moves? hehehehe. Well, that’s what I am thinking now.

    He certainly didn’t spend any time coming up with those dogs, and then beats me on time afterward, as planned. He made a bunch of horrible moves quickly and then waited for my blunder. I think I lost more than he won.

    In spite of my terrible time-trouble, I was spending all of my time examining …Nd4 there before blurting out my awful ..Qd6 move for sake of time.

    RollingPawns, thanks for the link and the encouragement. πŸ™‚

  5. That was a great article.

    My last ten moves in that game, I had only 2 seconds on my clock. I can say that that is not time for thinking; it is 4 seconds to move, and 1 second to think.

    The most important thing in a G/90 game, IMHO, is identifying all of the candidate moves as quickly as possible. Analyzing a line only once, to save time, is also important – the closer that goal is approached probably the better.

    At one point, I must have looked at around 12 possibilities in two or three minutes, whereas my opponent took a long time to find …Nh4 after I had played …Qxa2, and yet I knew before I took the pawn that that was his only reply. A stronger player wouldn’t have walked away from the board as much as he and would have blitzed that out. I could tell he didn’t see it until right before he finally played it.

  6. Had a quick run over your game. Maybe somebody else mention it already but instead of the played 15. Bxd5 white better had played 15. Nxf5 gxf5 16. Bxd5 .

    Also i am wondering what you are doing with those queen moves (Qf6-d6-f6)? Did you consider 30. … Nd6 ? If yes, for what reason(s) yu didn’t play it?

    Maybe you have played to much and need a week rest. Do something away from the chess board. Relax, get drunk, … . So that you can come refreshed back to the chess board and beat the living daylights out of your opponents. .-)

  7. “15. Bxd5 white better had played 15. Nxf5 gxf5 16. Bxd5 .”

    Yes, is this not completely obvious? But he actually spent quite a bit of time on this move.

    When I played …Qd6, I had under a minute left on my clock. That is how I realized right away that I had played a dumb move, instead of …Rf8 which keeps the win. …Qf6, I simply did not have time to figure out how to defuse his unstoppable fork (which doesn’t mean that it can’t still be bad as well).

  8. You beat yourself! This should be encouraging since YOU (not your opponent) are in total control of these factors. With some humility and resolve you can fix your time management problems and make a huge leap in practical playing strength. First you MUST stop complaining or comparing G/90 to other time controls– just as athletes can’t complain about the basketball goal height or the football field length. Doing so will just focus on things you can’t control and make you feel helpless. Instead you can focus on time management (which you can control) to convert your weakness into a strength. So next time some guy gets an advantage on you, he will be the one to crumble in time pressure not you. Instead of seeing it as an unfortunate and “unfair” or luck-based part of the game, you will appreciate it as another competitive aspect that adds to the richness of our game.

    The amount of time you spend on a move should correspond to the level of commitment. As a rule of thumb for G/90, spend about 1-3 minutes on “routine” moves and up to 10-12 minutes on “committal” moves or moves that initiate a new plan. Except in very rare cases, never spend more than 10-12 minutes on a single move unless you have a bail-out option. (Like if forced perpetual or if opponent offered a draw.) In life, deciding whether to wear a blue or green shirt, i spend 3 seconds. Deciding whether to go to law school, spend about a week. There are analogues in chess. For a safe normal-looking move, there is no need to spend more than 3 minutes or so. Eventually you will spot a more committal move/sacrifice and that is the time to spend 10 minutes. Committal moves change the fundamental nature of the game. I also think that confidence helps a player to avoid second-guessing and wasting time feeling insecure about his choices. There is no time for that… If you can’t have actual “confidence” than at least fake it by having contempt for your opponent, ie, “He doesn’t have the technique to win this– the only way he will win is if i beat myself.” On the flip side, the way to beat lower-rated players has nothing to do with chess skill. Just make normal moves and hang around awhile and they will find a way to beat themselves with time pressure blunders or otherwise. πŸ™‚ GL

  9. Thanks, Katar. πŸ™‚

    I think you are right, have to accept it for what it is. At G/90, have to make moves out of prejudice, it’s not enough time to second-guess original intentions – perhaps a couple times can get away with that, in a long game.

    Here is an example of that from a game today on FICS. Move 17, it is Black’s turn to move. Black may have an edge here, but practicality tells me that is is much easier to play this position as White, and I felt that way about this similar position before the game even started. Sure enough, Black blunders right there, and the rest of the game serves as a warning to how quickly Black’s position can fall apart, even with all the errors:
    FICS game

  10. I have personal experience in overcoming the same sort of problems. I used to be bitter about losing due to “swindles” or b/c of time-pressure blunders. I also used to mentally “give up” in losing positions. But somehow in my transformation from 1750 to 2000 rating, i am now very tenacious and resourceful in difficult positions. There’s a player at my club “Max”, about 2100, who probably gets 65% against me in blitz. (i.e., his chess knowledge and intuition are superior to mine.) But in slow games i have 3.5/5 against him because i work harder during the game, i fight hard, and i use all my time. I am inspired by this Reshevsky quote: “My strength consists of a fighting spirit, a great desire to win, and a stubborn defense whenever in trouble. I rarely become discouraged in an inferior situation, and I fear no one.” -Sammy Reshevsky. These factors can compensate for inferior chess skills.

    FWIW, this video is a good example of what i am talking about. http://www.chessvideos.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7956 I’m playing “Max” a 2100 from Minsk, Belarus, who really wanted a piece of me since i had stolen tons of rating points from him. I’ve talked to him, he summed up our different approaches to chess: “You calculate a lot, you like to calculate a lot of variations. I’m too lazy to play like that.” Max is a great fighter– Max will even refuse draw offers in worse positions if he thinks he can trick the player who is offering the draw, especially if the offering player is down on time.

  11. The competitive tricks know no bound, particularly on the internet. I was beating this 1900 player and he was clearly lost, then said gg (good game), then kept playing, and started asking me all of these questions such as “One of my opponents is labeled an ‘abuser’, what do you think that means?” Just total BS to distract me, but it worked. All I had to do was take his free piece, but I was so busy answering his BS and thinking he was about to disconnect or something that I blundered and lost on time in a position where I still had a slight advantage. (15/0)

    Next guy I play disconnects, down a rook, reappears, but then is not available somehow. Definitely faster time-controls only increases the BS “tactics” that people throw out, and blitz chess, well we don’t even need to bother going there.

    I do try to simply play it straight and not blitz out quick, schlock moves OTB in order to win on my opponent’s time-pressure. Some people would rather win than get it right (naturally everyone would rather win, upon reading this, but that is not my drift). My opponent was whipping out moves such as h4 in my time-trouble, which is obviously horrible, but it’s a “tactic” to win on time.

    What I am saying is that a lot of people are going to play this way as a general strategy against a slower moving player – play bad moves _quickly_. Mark, who was once close to 1900, also had to settle for a draw because of his clock in a winning position, but everyone who plays fast knows that that is their only chance against him.

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