Drew an 1100 rated player

Never met him before, but I got him mixed up with another guy who is 1600 (I had never seen either of their faces before until tonight), wasn’t til after the game that asked his rating.

Anyhow, he defended nicely in this game, but made one game losing blunder which I failed to notice. I had determined to attack on the kingside, playing 20. Rbe1, so didn’t see the 20. cxd5 cxd5, 21, Bb5 skewer on the queenside. I was in time-trouble, which probably explains it, and other than that he played a good game. I had exactly 3 minutes left and asked for a draw since I liked his pawn structure plus queen and bishop better than my own. We played a few moves after and he did well, trading queens.

I couldn’t tell that he was 1100 level other than for that missed tactic I see with Crafty. Other than what should have been a game-losing blunder, he defended well. He said he’s been playing for 40 years, and had good composure at the board.

When I missed that tactic and played Re1 instead, it’s obvious that I was thinking there should be something there on the kingside, but he just kept defending, and so finally I just took the pawn, satisfied with a draw since I saw nothing better. It wasn’t until I looked at it for another couple minutes that I realized I did not like my pawn formations and pieces as much as his, even though I was up a pawn.

I had been hoping to get him to lash out with …g5, but he played patience defense with ..Bf5-e6-f7, which took me by surprise. A lot of times 1100 players can play great defense, and that is often an aim, and I don’t even find their defense, because I am looking at more active moves.

I almost played 13.cxd, moved my hand toward it, instead of a3. 13.cxd was the right move and I saw the Ng5 follow-up, but didn’t calculate it far enough after 14…Rc8. White trades e-pawn for c-pawn but then wins the b7 pawn at the end of it, winning advantage, but I didn’t look that far ahead. Petroff is so drawish, one has to look far ahead for the chances.

I went over that ending again and it confirmed what I suspected at the time, that my opponent had dragged me into the one endgame I should know, but don’t. Queen endings are a weakness of mine, but queen and bishop in particular. Going over it with Crafty I can now see there were lots of ways to win, I was just completely oblivious and needed to be shown what to do.

I had 3 minutes and he had 12 when he agreed to the draw. Ironically, the 1600 player came over and suggested a bad move for me g3, which allows him to force trade of queens (I could tell it was a bad move right away though), but my opponent was playing sound attacking and then defensive moves in the post-mortem, so I really would have needed to know what to do and not just wait to get lucky or unlucky, shuffling pieces around. He’s provisionally rated, BTW, and 6 of his games were from G/60 and a while back. This was maybe his 12th game.

The 1600 player suggested he should have played on because of my time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I win against someone like that. Sure, get cocky in my time-trouble and see what happens, that would have been a more typical game, but this guy was cool-headed, I thought.

This endgame would have been a skills contest. Objectively, it’s drawing, but White can outplay Black if Black is weak at this ending and White is strong at it (or has lots of time). The draw takes an extraordinary level of skill for a class player.

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8 thoughts on “Drew an 1100 rated player

  1. Your opponent played pretty well, especially in the opening. Frankly, your mistake is not a specific move (except missing that skewer), but having 3 minutes left after 25 moves. You would definitely continue, having, let’s say, 30 minutes instead. Anyway, this endgame doesn’t look too exciting, after rooks exchange it’s difficult to do anything without queens exchange and it’s an instant draw. Though, you can just play it having nothing to lose ( that’s what I would do), hoping that opponent makes a mistake.

  2. You are right about that. It’s also hard to learn something one does not already know in a G/90 game, so a lot of the learning is post-game analysis. I could see well before 3 minutes that he was offering me this endgame, and I was spending all of my time seeing if I could avoid it rather than spend the time playing it.

    White can play h3, f3, Kh2 and see if the bishop can’t do something, nudge or trade the a and b-pawns. Another strategy is to push d4-d5-d6, when Black needs to play …h5 (and also keep watch over the e7 square, such as with ..Be6). Otherwise, if White gets in h5 first, White can play Qg6 and then trade bishop for 3 kingside pawns, force a queen trade to stop mate, and White’s king and 4 pawns will prevail over Black’s king and bishop. These are more of strategies to ponder over rather than obvious attacking moves trying to induce a simple blunder. Usually, those squeezing endgames are what 1900+ and Experts are good at, it’s often what they play for against me OTB.

    RollingPawns, thanks. 🙂 I agree that with 30 minutes instead of 3, it would have produced more interesting results. I should have, needed to, play a full game to have a chance to score the full point.

    Every time I do terrible on the clock, Mark seems to top me. Mark had only 30 seconds left after 20 moves, then it seemed Alex had won the exchange, but in reality had only won a pawn (which should have been winning, in any case). Alex makes a quick reply, having 50 minutes left, not seeing that Mark’s defensive reply had exposed an attack against another piece which was now hanging, and Mark snatched it up for the win.

  3. Clock management is at least as critical of a skill to acquire in G/90 tournaments as tactics or openings. Do you write your time down after each move? I started doing that. This was not a complex game, and the first 10 moves or so are more or less routine developing moves.. I have a hard time understanding why you got yourself into such severe time trouble. Maybe a perfectionist streak, some kind of compulsive need to double and triple check everything? Whatever it is, if you can identify and fix it, your rating (results) will jump by leaps and bounds…

  4. I decided not to play on Thursday this month, thought about going last night, almost went but did a tiny bit of programming and talked with the client instead.

    Right now, I see G/90 as a function of problems solved in time spent – something like problems/time – and at G/90 this will limit my ability to play good chess. It’s almost useless to analyze a chess game because it’s not being done within the time confines of the actual game. I can spot good moves after, but could I portion out my time to solve them over the course of a game? That is the question. At G/15 on FICS, I find myself making obvious blunders even in winning positions because quality is a function of time, and I can notice these errors during or immediately after the game with no computer analysis even, it’s just glaring – G/15, with 10 sec inc. is a different story for the same reason.

  5. You clearly have a huge amount of chess understanding, so it should be reassuring to know that your main obstacle is not chess-related. Just trying to be constructive!

  6. Katar, I used to write down the times, and I suppose I still should.

    One problem is that I spend a lot of time looking off junk-moves that I may flippantly play on FICS. Another is that I don’t calculate as fast OTB, and I still don’t work as hard as I should on my opponent’s move, looking for their best move, and then looking for a counter for that move.

    Playing online has dulled me. I play fast but make more mistakes, but opponents make even more. I’ve come to understand that 1800 on FICS is only a baseline rating for, dropping one piece during a game and not more. I played through some of the solitaire-chess in Pandolfini’s Chess Life column today and realized how rusty I had gotten, tactically. Now I have to break the habit of throwing out a move and analyzing it later.

    Thanks for the encouragement! I will be playing this weekend in the CO Class Championships. Of course, I want to take first place, since it’s 40/2 G/1 and I could use any prize money, although I know clear first means one has to beat all of the talented kids, and no doubt they are the main obstacle.

  7. I never got your last comment emailed to me. I am not particularly happy with WordPress, as my internet connection dies a lot while posting to it, and I just tried a couple times to modify the last post, but it timed out, but my connection was fine. Takes a long time to load a post, sometimes.

  8. When i was admin on FICS we had numerous questions about the rating. So we talked it over between the admins and came to the conclusion that FICS rating is about as much as FIDE rating – 200 points, more or less. So your understanding might be right on.

    Like katar says, you have the knowlegde.
    Now you only have to overcome what so many of us class players have problems with namely using the right knowlegde at the right time.

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