13th Annual Southern Colorado Open

Better to be blessed and lucky than good, I say.

Alright, only the first three rounds have been played so far, and I have 2.5/3. So tomorrow, I will likely face 3 strong players that I am supposed to lose to. I’ll play the #1 Master or a strong Expert tomorrow in the fourth round.

In the first round, I drew David (mid-1900’s) for the first time, as Black.

In the second round, I played Gary for the second time as White (1700), and once again won. Ironically, last time we played the same line of the Scotch and he protected his ..Ne7 with ..Re8, so naturally I was expecting that same move to be played when he played ..Bd7 instead. The terrible part for him is that I was able to use the same tactic as last time we played, an f6 push which is a mating attack, or I could just take his piece, so he resigned. Last time, I think I pushed it way too late out of desperation when he was already winning, but I remembered from the post-game analysis with Crafty that f6 would have just been winning.

In the third round, wouldn’t you know it, I faced the Saemisch var. of the Nimzo-Indian. I was getting completely ground down, a real pro job, suddenly, while trying to figure out how he wants to win it, he misses the pin skewer of queen against his king; you can’t make this up, folks.

So, astonishingly enough, I’ll presumably get a crack at a lot of good players tomorrow. I’m trying to win the U1800 prize, whatever that amounts to, but it’s hard not to feel a little giddy when people say I am in the running for first place. I just like playing chess.

I probably had too much coffee because I just want to stay up, analyze my games and all that. It was great talking to people all day, it’s like I can’t get enough of it and don’t want to go to bed.

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5
Round 6


12 thoughts on “13th Annual Southern Colorado Open

  1. Thanks, RollingPawns!! 🙂

    I posted the game from my third round. I know from watching those videos yesterday that my #1 mental stumbling block is pessimism (which is also the thing that is causing my time-trouble issues), but I didn’t realize just how bad until I analyzed this game. I looked at all of the ‘right’ moves and didn’t play a lot of them. I even saw the tactic of trading queens with …Ne4, but I didn’t believe it because it seemed like a fairy-tale come true. Naturally, I didn’t know much about playing the Nimzo either, so I looked at some of Crafty’s analysis.

  2. I finished the second day with .5/3

    The first game, I really should have won, saw how a tactic worked about a minute after I moved. At 40/2, I would have found the …Rg6 rook lift, but I needed to make a move because I had already spent quite a bit of time on that move.

    Second game, I could have played for a win, but offered a draw, but probably should have lost earlier to a nice attack.

    Third game I had it won. I played gxh “with my hands” and then immediately thought “Oh, shoot, Bxg6 would have won” (I had another win earlier as well). But after I captured the pawn I said to myself “I had to take that pawn because it was check, right?” I actually remembered/thought that I had been in check. My motor movements had broken down.

    The hard part is not playing chess. I could play a great game right now, analyze and such. The problem is in time-pressure it is a huge tax on the part of the brain, the motor-movement mental nervous energy. I was having trouble writing my moves. Time pressure is really hard during fifth and six rounds because the motor movement part of the brain is fried when trying to move fast, but is okay moving normally.

    This opponent in the third round had the nerve to tell me that I needed to keep recording because I missed a move, then I looked at his scoresheet, and it was wrong too. And this guy took a buy in the 5th round just to stay fresh. WTF? 6 rounds is an endurance contest.

    I can’t post the games yet because my windows machine is fried all of a sudden, and my Linux machine is being upgraded (but no chess engine on it).

    After I upgraded my Ubuntu machine, it wouldn’t boot. Now I am on my old 3rd PC, a PIII, never thought I’d have to do this.

    A big reason for the blunders in time-trouble is that your opponent suddenly moves, something forcing, in my opponent’s case it was a blunder, but when in time-trouble, even if still 5 minutes left and 30 second delay, when you are tired when it comes to making snappy replies, you just try to instantly respond. It’s natural, probably human nature. He suddenly moved and attacked something, now respond! This is how blunders are made in time-trouble, it’s the instant response moves.

    There was another tactic, easy, I didn’t bother to anaylyze it right, was just trying to make moves. Super-simple win in that 3rd round game, doubling on the h-file, I looked at it, but then just made a safe move quickly.

    I learned about tournament experience, and that was worth some future rating points, I am sure. When in doubt, go with your intuition as it’s stronger than your ability to calculate, particularly when you have looked at a position for a long time and are drawing a blank when it comes to calculation, or it’s just too much for the amount of time to spend.

    Here is round 6 I would have blitzed 45.Kg1, but tried to analyze it, couldn’t by that point, then played the losing Rf1 after a couple minutes. It’s meaningless to say that “I should have played 45.Kg1” because I knew that instantly. The problem is I only knew it inutuitively but couldn’t calculate it, though it’s simple looking at it now.

    The big misconception about time-trouble is that it’s about time. It’s actually an “energy management/conservation” issue. It’s not, “Oh, I only had a couple minutes for this one move” It’s “You just had to cram in a bunch of moves in a row, and your brain needs a rest” It’s not that one move that is the problem, it’s all the moves leading up to that one move that wears one out, so that one cannot think on said blunderous move.

    BTW, he said that when he played Bd6 to mate on h2, he didn’t even see that I had Bf4 to defend with (which is completly 100% obvious), so to set the record straight, I am not the only one seeing bone-headed things, and he spent a couple minutes on it. Inevitably, my opponents also got down on time, all of them I think. I could have tried to pick up a win in round 5, garbage-time win, but it just didn’t seem right. We were both tired, and to decide an interesting game like that didn’t seem right, and I didn’t feel like I was in it anymore after 4th round loss. Yet I was told that if I had won my 6th round game I would have won $75 in a 3-way tie, which is not what I wanted to hear after that game, adding insult to injury.

    What I felt like after 6 rounds was that Irina Krush comment, basically “We’ve been reduced to a bunch of clock-punching monkey’s” or at least that’s how I felt about it. I would prefer G/2 or longer, straight up.

    It was G/60 with 30 second increment, which sounds like a lot “Oh boy, a whole 30 seconds more every move!” A problem with this is when you are down to 5 minutes on you clock, you still feel like “It’s just 5 minutes”. Even though 10-20 moves later, it still says 5 minutes, your brain sees 5 minutes and says “Just move!”

    Another thing is, sometimes you just want the game to end, you want to know how much time is really left when asking for a draw. With G/30, it’s like playing the infinity game, there is no natural time to ask for a draw, and so you also don’t know how to save your energy because you don’t know how long you will be sitting there, could be 5 minutes could be 25, more time keeps being added _BUT_ more energy does not keep getting added to your body when the game keeps going on longer than you thought it would.

    A 5 second delay is the right amount of time to win an obviously won game, and still not enough time so that if you offer a draw with 2 minutes left in a tricky position, that your opponent will not see it as not being an understandable request. With 30 second delay, offering a draw in a tricky position, your opponent will only be annoyed at the offer and likely reject it. So to sum up, you don’t know how long you will be at the board, no idea, not a clue, this means expending even more nervous energy than you were planning on.

    I think the older players suffered more at this time control, and it benefitted the younger players. One 1540 rated girl got 4/5 in the Open section. My friend David, who I let sleep on my couch, he had 2.5/3 but lost his 5th round game to that girl. Said he was winning the whole game and missed a mate in 1, she blitzed him somehow. The more games, 6, also favors youth. They don’t know to be tired in the 5th or 6th rounds like adults do, they look very fresh still, and I was lucky to get older opponents in my last two rounds (1900 level). The girl I lost my 4th round game to, also got 4/5, she’s 1800 or so. They were probably uplifted by their victories, but if I were really out to win at all cost, I think I would have picked up a couple more wins. My attitude faded on the second day, as it began to seem more like a marathon of springs. At 40/2, G/1, I probably would have finished closer to something like 4.5-5 out of 6. By day 2, it all seemed like too much for me, not the 6 rounds but having to move fast in every game, like all that mattered was who wins. “F*ck chess, I just wanna know who wins”, that is what it feels like to play that many fast games. It’s a lot of pressure over nothing, like playing “Rock/Paper/Scissors” for a million dollars. A lot of pressure over nothing of a game.

    A big reason why I agreed to a draw in my fifth round game is that chess isn’t “Make a move every 30 seconds.” Standard chess to me is “You spend a few minutes, perhaps 5 of time and slow energy coming up with a strategy, then you blitz out that strategy.”

    I’ve looked at all five games. It took me about an hour an half just to recreate the part of the game where I messed up in round 3. I had offered a draw, which was scornfully refused, then we were both playing in that 30 second increment zone more or less. It’s even worse because you have to keep score, which doesn’t sound bad…at first. I’d much rather blitz and not keep score, much. Anyway, it was hard to recreate because the score was 0.00 or I had lots of ways to win, too, but I just made a blunder. She attacked my bishop, I should play Bxe, but instant made an instant reaction move of threatening here rook, which loses because she takes bishop with check. Really dumb mistake, but a time pressure mistake. It’s also just as importantly an energy-pressure mistake, because the nervous tension of time pressure, on the second day, eats up energy big-time.

    I seriously did feel that this was more of a stamina contest than a chess contest. Who can win the most games from even positions in time-trouble, that is the big skill. 😉

    I shouldn’t have allowed time-trouble. It’s easy to think you have a few minutes and keep getting 30 seconds added, but the stress there is greater than if not in time-pressure, so it robs you more. Can’t play 6 rounds in time-pressure, but that is what everyone tries to do to you. Only my second round did I avoid it, finished early, which helped me in my next round and gave me a chance to talk to friends for a couple hours.

    If I had won that last game, it would have motivated me to continue to want to play in any of these tournaments. If I had played ..Bxg6 en-prise, or doubled rooks on the h-file as I was planning. It was so easy to see, but I didn’t want to think. It was definitely past the enjoyable stage by that point and on to the “You will only be happy if you win” stage.

    Round 5, I had 6 minutes to his 4 when I accepted the draw. Under more normal circumstances would have played on. That Round 4 game is the one that ticks me off the most. I should have played ..g5 and let her do her piece sac again. That threw off the equilibrium of my mood, I was just in a bad chess mood for the rest of the day after that one.

  3. You know, I predicted your result on the second day, knowing that you will get higher rated players and also probably will be tired. It’s OK, time control is something close to 90/G and I think you in total did well for that control and your rating will go up.
    I will look at the games. Your draw in game 5 seems OK to me, you have maybe 0.5 pawn advantage and 6 minutes is not a lot.

  4. Thanks, Rollingpawns, that makes me feel better. 🙂

    I still can’t say for certain the score of that 4th round game. It seems that is how I lost it, but one is never 100% sure, more like 99%.

    Once we got into mutual time-pressure in round 4, she did it right, the old trick of recording both moves only after you have moved, whereas I was trying to record every half-move as we played. The score-keeping, I have trouble with it anyway, but in that situation it made my chess worse as well, and then I would write White’s move down twice, and then get messed up there, and then forget to write down a half move. It is so much easier when you know you only have to get to move 40, and only need to have a few seconds left when you reach it. When you are playing on indefinitely, well I didn’t know how to budget my time, and wasn’t even keeping track of the moves as well like I would with “Okay, that was move 36, four more moves to move 40”. I couldn’t focus like that because there was no such goal, and so I also needed to keep more time. Weird experience, wish I had stayed way ahead on the clock in my games, instead of behind.

    I miss having that second time-control in big tournaments, it keeps me focused. It’s really nice, after say 30 moves especially, or 40 moves, to get that next block of time to relax, refocus, and have some dedicated time toward the ending.

    All these games in books that we study, they were getting that second time-control, that is classic chess, that is Caissa with a plaid dress. These SD time-controls with the 30 second increment teaser, that is like Caissa as a cross-dressing, transexual prostitute. Well, that is how it feels anyway, if there were such a thing metaphorically speaking.

    I remember back when I was 1300 and thought that the Chess Palace time-controls of 30/60, G/1 were too hard (30th move blunders). Now I look longingly to it, that would seem like an oasis in the desert for me, a safe harbor. But lo, what is the best we typically get these days? A G/90 with an opponent who typically plays G/30 and spends 15 minutes on your game to play it safe.

    That second time-control make chess more fun, enjoyable, interesting, relaxing, exciting. Playing on indefinitely at a blitzing sort of pace, recording the moves, is like being a slave to a master that never stops cracking the whip. After a while, you aren’t even thinking about the work anymore, just about the whip. Possibly, I am the only one feeling that way, but that is how I felt. That second day, it was fun to play those games at first, but half-way into those games chess stopped being fun, and I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about it, it just seemed like a grind where the only solace was a victory.

    Not having to write down moves 5 minutes before a time-control (I still do in a way, write down my moves every time at least) or before the end of the game focuses me into playing my best chess. Even during the normal part of the game, recording moves is a little distracting. 30 second increment while writing down moves is an abomination for me.

    I think what happened on the second day is that I ran into the more determined players. I am not intimidated by anyone that I played at longer time-controls. I could see it in their eyes, the were trying many times harder than I was to win, looking at lots of variations. Quite honestly, I feel like if I could play them all at G/60 where writing down moves is not required, I have a good chance of winning all those games. In fact, writing down the moves for me is like a different side of the brain, and I am almost incapable of doing it while playing chess. Not writing down the moves would be like adding an hour to my clock almost, I’m virtually dyslexic when playing chess. If we ever live to the day where we can stop keeping score, I feel like my rating will jump up a couple hundred points. I can concentrate well at the board, aside from that aspect of it.

    Now that I think about it, I have been a “dyslexic writer” my whole life. I have to write really slowly because there is tendency for me to either write the last letter in every word only, when I start writing too fast, or I will start with the last letter and work my way backwards often times, because my mind is getting ahead of my ability to write, whereas I don’t have that problem at all when typing. So I have to allow gobs of time to write down my moves, if I ever wanted my scoresheet to be legible. I need at least 15 minutes a game just to write my moves down. That’s one aspect of my time-pressure troubles that readers here probably didn’t know about. Naturally, I also do like a lot of other players who blog probably do, I’ll write down d8 instead of d1, or I’ll write down c1 instead of f1, and then I’ll get confused and correct my score-sheet a bunch of times during a game. I am constantly doing this and probably should even write down my moves when I play internet games (just to practiced handwriting and the combination of writing and moving in time-pressure). I should seriously do this, except that I’ve already had enough of internet chess for a while.

    For example, I would never miss the ..Bg6 move if it weren’t for I was more focused on how to write down gxh5 on my scoresheet before I even played it. Yay, I know what to write down on my score-sheet! Perhaps he was doing it to, but without his “blunder” …h5, he would have lost rather easily, I felt – my knight is scooping up his queenside pawns.

    I’m definitely at that stage now where I could book up on openings to save time. For exampe, in round 6 against the Philidor, I know that Bc4 is the move, but I also know that Black is planning that Noah’s Ark Trap sort of stuff with ..Nb6 and if ..Bc4, then ..c5, ..c4 trapping the bishop. Perphaps …Nb6, Be2 is the way to play it. I just don’t know because GMs know the theory and the rudimentary responses often don’t get played.

    Eureka, I’ve got it. From now on, I am always going visualize (say) the move to myself before making it, and while considering moves. I am not just going to look at what the move is but say it to myself mentally, such as Bf5 or Bg6 before I decide on the move, so that I will be thinking in terms of the notation of the candidate moves as well, and actually this will probably improve my analysis as mental placeholders.

    I wasn’t going to play on Wednesday night, but now I think I’ll play a game this week just to practice my new technique of saying the move before I play it and saying what the candidate moves are, and even saying something like “…Nf8 drops a piece” so that I don’t forget what the result of analyzing a move was. The players on those chess videos, I don’t know if they really talk to themselves during a game, I’m thinking they do, or that at least it’s a good idea for memorizing. Otherwise I am like “…Nf8, didn’t I analyze this already?”

    Yes, I will visualize the notation along with the moves from now on. For example, ..Nf8,Nh5 g6, f6 trapping the bishop. I visualized that last week before I forgot and played it anyway, but this time I will visualize and or say to myself the algebraic notation of the sequence that I analyzed so that I will for certain remember the variation and what to write down what I played without needing to look at the board and say “Okay, what was that move again, now am I White or Black, which side of the board is it and how many spaces.” lol. I think it is said that if you remember something with three senses, you won’t forget it. Visualizing, writing it, and speaking it, before playing it, are like three separate senses.

    I just discovered a new drill that I think is going to make me, correction, just did make me, a solid 125 rating points stronger starting this moment forward. I know that sounds “hokey”, but it’s the same concept as one of those Chesstiger drills. So here it is:
    When going over a game, I am going over ‘Solitaire Chess’ game by Pandolfini for example, say the name of the candidate moves like this Ra1 (dark-square) x Rd1 (light-square). Give the complete algebraic notation for both starting and ending squares. Also, you must say any checks, for example Rd7 (light square) x Rd1 light square, “check”.

    I did this for some long variations (I did all of this for just one position, that’s all it took!) and noticed captures that I wouldn’t have bothered to think about before, such as all of the checks, continuations into quiescent positions, plus trades such as queen for rook and knight that one normally doesn’t bother to notice.

    Also, I started to notice a lot more replies, and was startled by how many candidate moves and tactics (such as removing the defender) that I was looking at for both sides.

    This is how you study chess! I know there is that rather amusing school of thought that you study a position deeply from a GM game and then annotate it deeply. I thought this was hogwash because it seemed largely like a bunch of mundane positions except for one or two kill-shots.

    Actually, the purpose of the study should be practice analyzing a position (Stoyko idea). The position doesn’t matter, what is happening with the chess doesn’t matter in a way either, what matters is that you find some way of practicing visualizing annotating deeply and wide what is going on in a position. The main thing is depth, accuracy, and mentally noting all of the tactical ideas, deflections and such. It’s not about chess, it’s about YOU, and yet you will be more focused on chess, like a computer, than ever before. I also practiced writing smaller, so that I could be neat, and in algebraic long form. Not just cxb, but rather c3xb4 (and say and visualize to yourself that they are both Black squares. You will get a mental image of the entire chess-board (blindfold) much, much more easily when doing this.

    Also, before you make your move, say your move, and then blundercheck, you may find a lot more before you move. Then say the move again before you are planning to move if you didn’t move it the first time, then move it and write the move down on the scoresheet without looking at the board.

    It is, dare I say extremely easy to remember entire long variations when doing this. This is important particularly in time-trouble when memory begins to fail that even doing this glibly, quickly OTB should produce great results, such as when creating Kotov’s tree of variations in a difficult defensive position.

    I spent an hour doing a “Stoyko” analysis on this position:
    White to play, move 16.
    White’s move is natural, but has to be calculated, as Black has deflection moves starting with a b-pawn sac. Black even has a double-attack that Bruce doesn’t mention (he mentions only the 16..Rxd1+, 17.RaxRd1 BxNf5, 18.Qc2xBf5 as being good for White). Even in that line, one needs to see that 18.Rd1xQd8 is losing the knight, for White.

    What he doesn’t say is that after 16..b3, 17.Qxb Rb7 double-attack, White must continue with 18.QxR (18.Rd1xQd8 Rb7xQb3 and both Nf5 and Bb2 are attacked, winning a piece for Black), 18.QxR and now Black’s best is 18…Bc8xQb7 (18..Qd8xRd1+ is only developing White’s rook a1, and remember that Black is down the b3 pawn that was sacked) 19.Rd1xQd8 Rf8xRd8, 20.Rad1 Rd8xRd1, 21.Be2xRd1 when White is up a pawn and Black will probably want to move his Nf6 to prevent a Bb2xNf6 in another two moves (after c3xb4 or b4xc3).

    There is more to look at with the Bc8xNf5 variation as well. Also, it should quickly be noted that a double pawn sac by Black of both b&c pawns does not work.

    Yes, do all of this without using an engine. 🙂 An engine is good for knowledge, but at some point one has to “get good” at working this stuff out and “being the computer” over the board.

  5. I think that I was playing this tournament at a bare minimum of 1900 strength, but that I had the mental stamina of a 1300 player (largely because of undisciplined, and unstrengthened analytical habits), and that I was recording my moves at the level of about a 200 player.

    It’s important that that Stoyko analysis, IMHO, isnt’ taken literally for every move, when playing OTB (for studying it’s okay) because one should go on the uncalculable intution after some preliminary analysis sometimes. But when in a concrete position where you need to analyze it tactically and right, it’s handy to be able to pull out some deep analysis on your opponent’s clock while waiting for his move, just in case it’s needed (yes, we all want to walk away from the board and hope they let us off the hook, that’s not the point, the point is to be prepared and not caught napping).

    BTW my rating went up to 1809, but I consider this to be a wash as my lost to Imre (1930ish) last Wednesday will probably bring my rating back to 1800. I can’t keep relying on easy wins against lower-rateds and losing to 1900’s, it’s intolerable and unacceptable. Very poor habits that I could see needed to be corrected. I practiced my score-taking/handwriting today even. Need to do more Stoyko analyis in the future, this will speed it up OTB and give me more confidence and precision in analysis.

    Solitaire Chess, I just barely got 1800 score on it. I missed a neat idea in the opening that was, well, brilliant (getting the queen to c5 by playing c3xb4), but I found most of the “lights out” shot(s) in the middlegame, which Bogolyubov played Kf2 (how lame, right?) instead of RxRd7.

    And then I blew it on endgame in-accuracies, although got most of the moves. That’s essentially what happened in that round 6 games, although there I missed the “lights out” moves, and then one mistake in the endgame is all it takes to lose. In the endgame, you have to find brilliant moves for peanuts (well, a win I guess). The problem with endgames is that you are so tired from finding all of the middlegame shots. This is where a lot of 1900 level players (not all) get most of their points. It’s in this “You’re tired, and they know what they are doing.” phase of the game, which is best avoided on practical grounds. A lot of 1900 players barely now what the heck they are doing in the middlegame, although they are smart and know how to survive it, and then they try to punish you with their endgame experience.

    Another thing about 1900 level players is that I’ve never met one that gets tired before move 50. A huge component of their rating is being able to maintain their energy level at the board (not to mention unshakeable confidence).

    For me, the fatigue factor has gotten to be less and less and I could see it being only a very small factor in the future. I’ve already recovered from that tournament and done all that analysis and feel great still, very competent in analysis. Often, I have been totally shot in the past after a tournament. This tournament was more physical than mental, but only physically draining while playing. Over time, I will do a better job of maintaining an even-keel energy level during a game.

    Round 4 was an interesting position of chicken. She keeps goading me into playing ..g5 against her in games. This time it should win, but I wasn’t feeling so familiar with the Nimzo, and didn’t have the confidence to want to gamble it all on the opening.

    8..g5, 9.Nfxg5 h6xNg5, 10.Bxg5 Rh8g8, 11.h4 (f4? is a blunder..RxBg5, then ..Nxe4, ..Qxg5 and assault the king)..c5!, followed by BxNc3 to win e4 and Nc5 outpost. During the game, I was worried about a d5 push by White cramming the center closed and squarshing (squishing) me.

    I never saw that if White pushes with d5, then Black can push the a-pawn all the way down to a3 and even pile a Ra3 onto that Nc3 pin with Bb4. Hard to suspect that possibility.

  6. I looked at your game 1 and it looks like the guy outmaneuvered himself, helping you to close the position, something like cooperative mate. 🙂
    In game 2 it’s a nice tactic with f6, he had to remember that. This is why I stopped to play Bc5 in Scotch, i don’t want my queen on f6 to get harassed.

  7. RollingPawns, yes, that’s funny how he helped me out in game #1. The more he closed it up, the easier it was to calculate, but you are right in that my statement is also an obvious one. I told him after the game that he should have attacked my queenside, and he took my advice and won doing that against his next opponent who played what I played. Once he played g4, I knew immediately that I was going to be find, and after h5, I was really fine. 😉

    Game 2, hmm, I play this line as Black, perhaps you are right. Black should be willing to play ..h6 and yet no one wants to. I looked at a video online of Kasparov playing against Short in their World Championship match. Short actually played ..g5 in this line. Short played a nutzo move, whereas Kasparov had played a safe variation Nd4-c2…Bb6xBe3, NxBe3. That is actually a solid variation for both sides, but then Short played ..g5 for some reason (Kasparov responds f5 and eventually gets short to play ..h5 as well to protect his then Black pawn on g4, to which Kasparov sacs a piece for that g4 and h5 pawn. Kind of funny in a way, to see him play that aggressive against Kasparov, but it was his natural style.

    I went over some more tactics diagrams, they were double-attacks so not so hard to find, even the hard ones. But I would tell myself the full notation of the moves, and colors of squares so that I can get better at seeing the board and analyzing a position ‘blindfold’, a side benefit to this is being able to write the notation on my scoresheet without having to look at the board or figure out the notation of the square.

    That was a problem that I had during this tournament, it seemed like 15 of the 30 seconds were spent figuring out and writing down the moves, particularly when the opponent moved right after me, such as in round 4 where she gained time on the clock this way even though she went under a minute (30 second increment). I don’t want to get in that situation again, and wished I had tested her earlier with …g5.

  8. I’m almost done with the ‘Double Attack’ section on tactics, solved at least 30 today. At this point it is almost ridiculously easy seemingly not tiring at all.

    There is a point where I would disagree with MDLM, or these are my thoughts so far. 1) I don’t think doing circles for speed is a very wise idea. One go through of 1,000 puzzles on all themes should be enough. Perhaps 6 months or a year later have another go through, but I think right now that this is one of those things that one needs to do only once in a comprehensive way. If I went over this book a second time, it would be for retention, but even that is a ridiculous notion. There were some hard combos at the beginning of each section and solving them for a second or third time was mainly good for solving harder problems from the point-of-view of being a stronger chess-player the third time through them. Most problems, you just have to notice the double-attack.

    Another thing is when you get going too fast, you stop noticing or counting defenders of a square and start to blindly capture things. This can’t be good, and is rather useless. Because most of the time you are completely onto the solution, but didn’t take more than half a minute to notice that the defenses need to be removed first. I’ve solved 3 in less than half a minute, that’s how fast I got going at times. You know the theme, so it’s not as if one doesn’t know what they are looking for. So I don’t think it’s well to take it too seriously.

    Still, I think this is the best training for under 2000, combos. At 2,000, they should be seeing all the combos just like you, so this training should be rather useless i would think for > 2000, unless the combos are hard, like in the Middlegame Encyclopedia.

    I don’t really plan to go through this tactics book fully a second time, but I am very glad that I have been doing it.

    IOW, I am definitely convinced that everyone trying to make Expert should do ONE circle, and also tackle at least two books on tactics. I read that other book, the Alburt one, FOUR times, although it wasn’t as many problems as this one. After this book, I will have the tactics thing down and can spend some time on other things, such as openings with Black, or endgames, but I am not looking that far ahead just yet. Tactics should get me to 1900 easily, no problem, although I could lose openings duels to 1300 level players and lose that way, yes, but I am not supposed to be playing them anyhow, and the main concern is winning (won games especially) against 1900+ players.

    Hmm, this might not be accurate, I am probably close to 2,000 tactically already, last week has made a big difference. I just spotted the forced mate in 4 in a double-attack puzzle.

    But I think it’s easy to get to 1900 with tactics and time-management. That’s what these kids are doing, tactics/calculation, time-management, and energy. In a word, it’s “fast-tactics”. Physical fitness, I think now, is highly-overrated. I had some of my best results on a few hours sleep, and go fatigued when I had been trying to stay in some physically shape. One will get more tired OTB if they don’t know their tactics, than if they got sleep and and are in shape. Take a good look at chessplayers. Try to think of ONE player who looks like they are in shape. hehe. Actually, my round 6 opponent, really old guy, looked to be in the best shape. So yes, you can ‘live for the swindle’ if you are in good shape, I guess – oh wait, he took a fifth round bye, that’s right.

  9. Finished the section on ‘Double-attack’.

    Who knows how long it will take to complete this book, but tactics will be the #1 priority for my chess studies for some time to come, for months at least, possibly much longer if I take breaks from chess.

    Honestly though, I am going to take a break from studying chess. Next big tournaments are in August (there is one this month in Denver, but I can’t afford to go). So, it’s time to put chess on a shelf except for possibly playing on Wednesdays.

  10. In the game 3 i don’t like his Ke2 move. Looks really weird, and that attack on the kingside looks strange to me. So, Ba6 was an appropriate punishment. 🙂

  11. RollingPawns, thanks!

    The second day I began to feel physically tired, and regret much of how I played. I probably don’t even have the right score for game 4 at the end, but I believe that all of those moves were played, so it makes little difference. I was still keeping score, but missed a couple half-moves it appears. If I could have a redo, I would have played much better, tired or not. I should have taken a B-complex vitamin (which is almost like cheating for me), but didn’t sense the fatigue until half-way through games.

    The weird thing is that it wasn’t mental fatigue, until the very end of round 6 where I couldn’t think well and blundered the game. It was physical fatigue from making all the moves, punching clock and writing them down. I know this because it felt like someone was grabbing the back of my head, where all of the motor-coordination is. I was having trouble with physical movements, even after I got home, bumping into things. I was surprised that I was able to drive home so well. I could have studied chess even then and did the next day. Quite odd, it didn’t wear me out mentally, only physically. So I learned that I need to be cautious of how I spend energy OTB.

    Colorado is also “still” a “dangerous” place for me to play chess because of the altitude. I like to jog down the street between rounds, or up a flight of stairs to the bathroom during a round, but then would come back to the board, sit down and feel dizzy. This is not so recommendable when playing over a mile-high in altitude. They do seem to have a bunch of joggers who will run a marathon together, and there are these jogging clubs, but I hardly ever see joggers here individually, and they all look like max 170 lbs in weight and usually much less than that (I am just under 230 lbs).

    Already, I felt like a different person in Wednesday’s game, as I was not expending nervous energy or getting over-excited about how the game was going, or allowing myself any sort of time-pressure, and was very calm and felt in control after the game. I felt like a pro. 😉

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