Blunder

I played Jason with the White pieces. I blundered making a silly move. I felt that 12.Ne4 was positionally bad after his 12…Qf5 best move, but then I got a sense of optimism from thinking I had already played Bd3 so that after 12…Qf5 I could play 13.Qg5, trading queens a pawn up.

Naturally as he moved his queen to that square, I could see that I had not only messed up with not playing Bd3 first, but I could see that my knight was pinned to the king, something I had never considered. But at this point I knew my position was lost.

Amazingly, he failed to win the piece and let me back into the game. After he played 29..Re7, I knew I was lost but played 30.c6 after a few minutes because it was lost no matter what, so play to watch him get it right. I should have played it faster though to put more pressure on his move.

Only good thing was that we both had over half an hour left. I’m still adjusting to G/90 though because that blunder was not adequately thought/planned out.

I was going to play 12.Bd3 and 13.Re1. Crafty says his 12..Nb4 is equalizing and that 12.Ne5 is the move.

Anyway, we set this position up for post-mortem. Unbelievably, he plays 12…b5 right away. I forked his rook and queen a few moves later and let him take that back, then I won the ending in a blitz game about 8 minutes total for both sides.

So basically, I never gave him a chance to fail and allow my experience to kick in. I blundered because it’s just no good to be overly clever at G/90 and have it turn out to be a blunder, but I have no problem blitzing him. My problem is that I act like I am playing against Fritz, but I am not, I am playing against non-Experts that make bunches of positional mistakes and mistake based on inexperience if I simply play half-@ssed chess and allow them to make those mistakes. Really disappointing use of time, playing in these G/90 games. Only good thing is my rating is so low already for what it should be based on my knowledge and experience.

Oh man, I missed the tactical shot, same idea, that would have cut out his reply 12.Nd5! instead of 12.Ne4??, and I get the same idea in with no problems. Wow, never looked at it, might of in 40/2, it’s a very optimized move for G/90, but I have to find those things even when playing quickly.

For me, most of the time goes into the positional evaluation, not the calculation of variations – sizing up possibilities, lots of side variations. I should have been able to calculate the main variation though, since I had already made the evaluation. If I spent time looking at positions, just training in calculating variations, no doubt that would help me more than anything when it comes to OTB play, those habits would be worth hundreds of ratings points. As of now, I am evaluating, but then just playing a move. My moves are not following my calculations the way they should, and yet I can calculate well, since once I messed up, I actually calculated for a while, then blitzed out like 5 moves, knowing I had dropped a piece, and I think that blitzing actually hurt my opponent’s calculation, it sort of overpowered him a bit, I think.

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7 thoughts on “Blunder

  1. I am back to calculating variations now, and I feel certain this will have a big impact on my rating. Going over Kortchnoi’s best games, just started to.

    Problem I’ve had is getting warmed up in games, later in the game my calculation gets better. I haven’t been playing online recently, but online just speeds up the brain, IMHO. So, yeah, I could walk in there warmed up from online chess and spot the one-move blunder before playing it, and that would help my results, but that is not going to make me a stronger player.

    Getting warmed up on variations in the beginning (which is where most variations are, anyway) has taken up most of my time, early in the game.

    I have been rifling through books to thin out my collection, don’t have time to calculate when doing that, it’s more like knowledge extraction rather than skill-building, but I already knew that before this week’s games.

    Anyway, now I am forcing myself to calculate the variations/complications as I go through the games. This book has fewer notes, which is better because I can cover-up the moves and think it through myself first with this one. I haven’t been doing that even though that is the #1 suggestion for becoming a stronger player I have heard many say.

    Problem with most books is they cover the opening theory of a variation, which you could care less about to the point where one is like “Just show me the friggin game already” and you don’t want to think about it other than to know the answer right away.

    The blunder in my last game appeared to be a simple tactics failure, but it’s really not. I’ve seen that sort of tactic before. Reading all of the tactics books is not going to prevent that, other than you may see it without even thinking due to extreme pattern recognition, ala MDLM, but anyway that’s misleading.

    The real problem, and I knew this was my problem since last week, is that one has to be comfortable systematically analyzing variations, and it’s a hollow feeling to only do this OTB because you make your one simple amateur mistake and it’s done. It’s very clear from this game that I have not been practicing calculating variations lately, which is the most important thing BTW. I calculated some individual variations accurately, but that is not the same as calculating in a position with possible branches. Calculating a forced mate in 5 is very much still in the realm of tactics without much branching of variations, including some positional considerations.

    Here’s another curve-ball. My opponent said he is rated 1500’s online but 1800 OTB. We have blitzed after and before games a number of times and I seem to beat or hold him at blitz, even though he is good at throwing out oddball moves. If I simply played my weak Bd3 move and he played …b5, well I was winning our blitz game. IOW, it’s not really a time problem for me, although it is that too. The problem is that he is calculating the variations better than me with the extra time, and my calculating is too weak early on when it matters. I am just thinking “Oh, oh, it’s game in 90, better not think too long.” But that is not the real-issue, only part of it, more like a description of the problem rather than the problem itself, as Katar alluded to.

    There is a G/60 tournament on Sunday, but that would do nothing to correct my problem of having not trained by studying/calculating variations. In fact, I would get best results by going in there and blitzing people off the board with my weak moves. If I actually try to calculate and play well, I will fail because I haven’t practiced my calculating enough away from the board. Playing G/90, G/60, or FICS Standard games is not going to fix that.

    This was evident when I suggested a bunch of bad attacking moves in analyzing your last game, RollingPawns. But online, I will play bad attacking move after bad attacking move, and the other person, even 1800’s and 1900’s, they wear down and lose. Heck, it even works against me if the play is too fast. But then I look at a game and think there is nothing to it, nothing there, but there is a lot there, a really lot, but I have not practiced studying variations so all I see is just throw out the most aggressive moves and work with it, and I am comfortable doing that and adapt confidently to the situation at hand in a blitzing way. But OTB, in longer games, that completely falls apart and takes a different sort of game-preparation (not opening preparation, that is not so important at all really at the Class level)

  2. I learned to play very carefully against Scandinavian, especially gambit variations. You get behind in development, lots of open lines and you can be is serious trouble.
    Maybe I won’t even castle queenside, but I am not sure there was enough time to castle kingside.
    That Ne4 is not so positionally bad, as tactically bad, because knight is hanging without any attacking purpose (which should be it’s justification), like you said Nd5 – typical jump with queen being on a5.
    After losing an exchange, the game was over.

  3. Yes, I completely missed the pin on my king, probably because I am not used to having my king over there. The reason he needed to play Qf5 or Qd8 was because NxN would shatter his kingside pawns, and I am already a pawn up, so if I could deflect his queen from my king, that would help. It’s sort of like the first layer of reasoning behind the Ne4 justification.

    But that wasn’t much of a blundercheck as much as a confirmation that I wanted to play that move. I looked at the resulting position with my knight defender gone, and if is queen stays queenside, but that wasn’t working for Black, I concluded. Without the pin, I could have played NxN+ QxN, and in no way am I losing.

    I just went over another Kortchnoi game, I like this book for training. He says a ‘?’, and then there is a blank, so I can try to work it out and I find the six move combination. Didn’t find a counterchance which was even a worse reply, but found the principle combination. But in G/90, I probably don’t even look for a blunder there, but if I could give up 10 minutes of clock-time for someone to whisper in my ear ‘blunder’, I would take that offer.

    If I were looking more deeply, I would find the pin against my king. That’s the thing, that is not so much a tactic as it is looking deeper into the position. Nd5 is added time really. One first has to assess the NxN+ gxN, and then look at resulting attacks for White and Black before one can even look for or determine whether or not they like Nd5. That takes time to assess the position in opposite castling situation, those are usually the most tactically complex. Finding the better tactical method/solution is more about adding another layer of time and solution to the problem. It’s really worth spending the bulk of time in the opening there, even though it means one will always have screwed up endings in G/90. An early error can be unrecoverable. It’s wrong to spend the same time on each move or hurry the opening unless you are an Expert already.

    It would be more efficient to forget about whether or not it’s a good or bad idea first, but to look at whether there are tactical flaws to it, and then determine whether the idea is actually any good or not, that is another way to go about it. I determine things positionally first, and then look to see if it’s safe. I imagine others do the opposite. But to me, I first ask whether or not I want to cross the street before detemining it’s safe. A lot of chess is like determining whether it is safe before one even wants to determine if they want to cross the street in the first place. I am sure a lot of people play this way and is how chess differs from life. In the end, people look at a chess game as to whether or not a person got hit crossing the street rather than what was on the other side they were trying to get to.

    In real-life, people talk about all of things a person was doing before they died, what there life was like. In chess, it’s “Ew, look, bug splattered trying to cross the street, alligators eat the monkey crossing the river!”

    If someone had suggested that the best thing to do was to exchange knights, I would have found Nd5 after a few minutes because I would have had time to look at multiple ways of exchanging knights. 90% of the time was spent on whether or not exchanging knights was an idea that I wanted to pursue.

    If I had played Nd5!, it would have looked like I had solved the position. But Nd5 is not a tactic, it is a solution. If trading knights had been bad, that could have just as well been a blunder. The idea was not a tactic, but the execution of it was.

    I think I may just stop playing G/90. Not just because in 40/2, I would have allowed myself the extra time to find Nd5, but the thing that annoys me most is when people treat a chess rating as if it were independent of a time control. I go to a club where people are mostly playing G/30, G/60, and G/90 tournaments and I hear this overly long conversation about how Zierk became a GM from a 1500 player in record time, and it pisses me off a bit because so many people nowadays think G/60 and 40/2, SD/1 are the same game, they are not. It would not surprise me if I played a GM at 40/2 and beat them while they had to play at blitz, and also, it would have to be a sort of ‘suspended animation’ sort of thing where they could not think on my time.

  4. I found that managing time in G/90 is a pretty complicated task. Usually Botvinnik rule works for me in the opening – i.e. ~20 minutes for 15 moves. I don’t rush to get exactly under 20 minutes, but it’s better be not much more. Middlegame – you need to spend time there, right, but again at some point, not much less than 30 minutes left I have or finish the game or be in the endgame. 10 minutes left – this is usually crucial time when I can blunder.
    Having less material or still being in the middlegame helps a lot to do it.
    I laughed at your comparison with crossing the street, I don’t know what I do first, probably depends on position – how tactical it is in general.
    I don’t know what to say about you playing G/90, I thought that you eventually will be able to manage the time, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like that. You can’t spend a big time on one move here, no matter how great and nice that move looks. You have to use your intuition sometimes instead of that. I could spend a lot of time in my last game calculating very early sacrifice on e5 after dxe5, or 15. Bxg5, but I just saw that his king kind of escapes from the immediate threats, so I choose more quiet continuation.

  5. RollingPawns, thanks for comments, advice. 🙂

    Yeah, good suggestions, although the game is usually determined OTB on like move 18, for some reason, so I wouldn’t want to spent just 20 minutes up to that point. 😉 But I can’t have a “big think” in the opening, like you say, have to keep it FICS-ish, yet conservative and not try to determine the game early, if I can do that without surrendering initiative. Have to try winning it later or even in the endgame.

    Some of the notes to books now, when they say “He couldn’t have done this 7 move line, or this 8 move line was preferable, or also worth consideration was this 6 move line.” I just think “spare me”, no way can I even contemplate that sort of iffy stuff in G/90, yes I have to give the other guy a chance to fail, that is mostly what G/90 is about, giving the other guy a chance to make bad moves. Experience should help me more in shorter games than finding best moves, if I play it that way.

    If anything, I got a little “too” jumpy in my last game, trying to mix a long think with a quick move at the end of it. It’s like a patient-person suddenly having a seizure at the end of it, it’s not steady. Need to spend time in a more steady manner.

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