Round 1 July 2011

Round 1

Note: The above was not the right game-score, look for the corrected game-score near the bottom of this post.

I had never lost to Ken before, but he had tied for first last month. In this game, I got into time-trouble, then took a guess that 20…Qa5 would work. After the game I said that I was winning, but blundered with …Qa5, which is exactly right.

The correct defense is 20…Rf4, and then Black can sac the exchange if Nh4, and then play …e5. I had the feeling I could sac the exchange and still be winning (keeping the bishop-pair), and I also wanted to play ..e5. I never saw ..Rf4 though, didn’t know if I should defend by attacking or by defending.

This was a game where I needed the 40/2, G/1 time-control. I spent a lot of time calculating complications up to move 20, and it took me too much time to do so. It took me half an hour to figure that 16…bxc works, a critical moment in the game where a move simply needed to be calculated.

The game went according to plan. I knew that I was going to get attacked on the kingside with this variation, I just underestimated how much time that it takes to calculate on defense in complications.

I knew to look out for his Nh4-g6 mate, but was hoping my attack would stop that. When he played 21.Nh4, that is when I realized that Bxd4 loses to Nh4-g6+xRf8. So I grabbed the g-pawn with my queen, not even realizing that Ng6+ is protected by his queen. In my mind, I thought that the queen would have been pinned already by a …Rxc3 move, but I was a tempo short of being able to implement that plan.

After I gave up my queen, I thought I still had some chances, but didn’t have enough time compared to him, and blundered with two minutes left, but he was going to win anyway, was looking at strong moves like RxBg7 and Rh3.

I needed to find the defensive move first, and only then see if I could defend by attacking, but instead I was tempted by that big piece of cheese in the mouse-trap, and it always gets tempting to play a quick decisive-looking attacking move late in the game.

I considered that I could bail out of the position with 20..BxNf3, 21.NxBf3 RxNf3, 22. RxR Qg5+, but that seemed like it could conceed my advantage, and it is nearly +1 for White. It seemed as if Black should have something which doesn’t give away the advantage, chess-justice sort of thing, but I simply ended up being the optimist who wasn’t thinking about defense. Particularly after 19.bxc, that is when my pawn push plan is thwarted and I should go back to the bail-out plan, but I still wanted to find the win somewhere.

The other bad thing for about G/90 is that my opponent, as I had predicted, used my time to think so when I did play those defensive moves, his move immediately followed since he had used my time to do all of his thinking. It’s tempting to just move quickly to prevent the opponent from doing that, but that doesn’t work out. This is something which makes defense at G/90 even less practicable. One really has to save their time ahead of time as Black in these sort of situations.

White’s position falls apart pretty quickly after 20…Rf4. So close, and yet play that position wrong (i.e, not playing 20..Rf4) and then there all sorts of ways to lose for Black.

The problem with this sort of position, looking at moves 16-19, Black’s moves were non-obvious, but White’s moves were obvious. As the lower-rated player, this gave him a practical boost. To point out how difficult it would have been to reach an objective assessment on defense as Black, Crafty points out that 17..hxBg6!!:
A)18.hxg6 Qa5! wins.
B)18.h6 Bh8, 19.h7 Kg7 (I saw this during the game, didn’t like the looks of it for obvious aesthetic reasons), 20.Kb1 c3, 21.bxc Qc7, 22.Rc1 Rb8, 23.Ka1 Rfc8 is -4.5 in Black’s favor. This position looks paradoxical to the eye at first glance, and is counter-intuitive to find OTB in a stressful defensive situation. That would have been Kortchnoi-esque defending right there. Yes, this position qualifies as worthy fodder for a Stoyko-exercise! šŸ˜‰ Yes, in this last line White has the h7 pawn for the light-bishop, but Black can win the h7 pawn with ..Nd7-f8xh7 and Black is up -3.

I am so not used to defending castled positions, and yet this was the challenge for me, why I liked this ..d6 variation. I got what I wanted, but winning advantages from these positions do not come cheaply.

So many subtleties. The Bxd4 variation doesn’t work after the c3 push and bxc. The reason that hxg6 is so strong is that White’s follow up move of g6xf7..Rxf7 gives Black the free tempo of ..Rxf7. During the game, I originally wanted to play ..Rf7 after ..h7xg6 Qxg6. This loses because Black has just drug the queen to g6 for free and spent a tempo on his/her own dime to play ..Rf7. ..Rf7 fails because of Rh8+..KxRh8, QxRf7 with Rh1 mate to follow (lucky for White the Nf3 is covering that light diagonal of Bb7-h1).

Here is another difficult move that I looked at. Instead of 16..bxc4, play 16..f5. There is a trick to this one. 16..f5, 17.gxf6 bxc4!, 18.Bxg6 Nxf6, 19.h6!! c3, 20.bxc3 h7xBg6, 21.h6xBg7 Kxg7, 22.Rg1 Qe8, 23.Rh3-g3 and it is curtains for Black. Naturally, I didn’t see anywhere near all of this at the board and simply had to pick the variation that looked best to me at that point in time at the board.

After this game I had one thought on my mind “Forget about the opponent, playing the board is what is hard in chess.” It’s not who I play, it’s how much time do I get for positions like that. I could quite likely be an Expert by now if all of my games were 40/2, G/1.

After I played 20..Qa5, I had 12 minutes left, and my opponent 52. It was so hard to not play such an obvious attacking move and instead, had I done it, try and solve the position. I need to be solving the position all of the time except when the advantage is very clear and in time-trouble.

Here is a variation that I almost played, but refrained, and then stuck with my original plan:
6..c5! (Crafty likes this move), 7.Nc3 cxd, 8.Nxd Nc6, 9.Nd4-b5 d5! – I didn’t see that this move was possible, I only saw myself as having the backward d-pawn on d7, when Nd6 is a clamp. This particular variation is -+, around -.7 or more.

Round 1 (Corrected)

After all that analysis, I remembered that I had had a choice between ..Kf7 and ..Kh8, and I spent exactly one minute choosing between the two, such that I had 11 minutes left afterward. So …Kh8 was the losing move. I knew that Ng6 mate had to be prevented should I play Kh8, but This is where I thought that Nh4 = Bxd4 in reply, and I did not calculate it at all. It seemed as if every move was a major decision and at some point I would have to play major decisions quickly, but this is not so, merely a distorted perception. The game does calm down into a reasonable blitz position soon after a move such as ..Kf7, when White is +1 but would probably lose the game in practical terms.

..Qa5 was also quite the mistake as well because I had ..hxg which is winning (It’s interesting that a defensive move is the winning one). This is quite an obvious blunder looking at it now, but at the time I missed that ..hxg, Qxg Rxc3+, Kb2 RxNf3 – I hadn’t thought about that the Nf3 is being attacked three times and defended only twice, I had only noticed that RxN seemed to lose an exchange (and if Black doesn’t play ..RxNf3 there, then Black loses). I simply played too quickly here, it wasn’t time to blitz yet.

Lest we think it’s a wrap after Black plays ..RxNf3, it would still lose the game to then continue Nd2xRf3 Bb7xRf3??, Qh7+ Kf8, Rxf3+ Ke7, QxBg7+, etc. OTH, Nd2xRf3 RxNf3? only leads to a draw by perpetual with best play from White (although I doubt he would find best play, and same goes for me). So the immediate ‘bowing and scraping’ to immediately regain the piece on f3 does not work. Instead, after Nd2xRf3, Black needs to play ..Qb6+!, Ka1 Rxf3, Qxe6+ Kf8, RxBf3 BxRf3, Qf5+ Ke7, QxBf3 Bd4+, RxBd4 QxRd4+ and Black is up a knight for a pawn – exchange queens and wins. If Kc2 instead of Ka1, then Black doesn’t even worry about regaining the piece on f3 (White has rook and pawn for two minor pieces) but rather uses the bishop pair to help in a king-hunt mating attack where Black is up nearly -6 after playing the nice idea ..Rf8-c8+ followed ..Nf8, kicking out the queen from g6 and also defending h7 and e6. I have to admit that I had I still been looking to make quick moves without calculating, I feel that I would have played the Bb7xRf3?? move. So what likely would have happened then? I think there’s a good chance he misses Qh7+ winning and plays Qxe6+ Rf7, g6 Qb6+ where Black can force a draw by repetition with queen attacking king, and if king moves toward the center it gets mated. But I think he may have found Qh7+. I told him to study tactics a couple months back, and he is seeing them quickly now.

The hard part to imagine is that even had I played all the way to ..Rc8+ and instead of playing the ..Nf8 idea on the next move, which does not readily spring to mind, but instead gotten lazy at this point and played ..BxNf3 (just to play a quick move, right?) then either Qh7+ or Qe6+ are majorly winning for White.

To further clarify the complexity of the position, ..Rxc3+ is not even the best move. The best move after 19..hxg6, 20.Qxg6 is ..Qa5 winning. 21.c4 (everything loses quickly here) Qf5 (trading queens leaves two pawns for the piece and not for long at that). 22.Qh5 Nb6 (-6) when the cheeky 23.Na4 fails to QxRh3, ..g6 (threatening mate on h7) 24.Rxc3+ NxRc3, 25.Qc3+ Kb1, 26.Be4+ Rd3, 27.BxRd3 mate.

When I played …Qa5, I still wasn’t sure what to do yet on my next move, I was playing hope-chess in terms of being able to think on his clock time, which didn’t happen until the game was already in the tank. I had wondered if this were going to be another one of those games where I could win if I played it down to the nubs on the clock, and it probably would have, but I obviously didn’t want to go down that road, though should have.

Now I know why it is so much more difficult for me playing Black at G/90. One big reason is that, for example, it’s difficult for Black to whether ..Bxd4 will work in response to Nh4. Black has to spend time calculating whether it will work or not. OTH, if White merely notices that Ng6 is mate, even an 1100 player could play Nh4 (good chance they don’t notice ..Bxd4 reply anyhow) and after ..Bxd4, they would HAVE to play Ng6+ followed by NgxRf8 anyway, whether it works out or not. It’s up to BLACK to avoid this variation altogether, like many other variations that were avoided.


19 thoughts on “Round 1 July 2011

  1. I want to mention another subject/aspect of studying this game. I just saw the same mate appear in three separate places, corner, side and middle of board. Here is the pattern Qc3, Kb1, the king has only two escape squares, the one he is currently on b1, and a2. With a pawn on a2 Bd3 is mate. If we could extend the board one file to the left, then a light-bishop left of the a-file could mate by covering the a2,b1 diagonal.

    Bobby FIscher teaches chess empasized mates. I think these mates need to be internalized. You can’t just hope to find them at the board. Lazlo Polgar’s book was a thousand or so 1,2 and 3 move mates, mostly 1 and 2 move mates. He had his daughters study these. I believe it is no coincidence, given Judit’s style to play for mate.

    People think to study endgames, openings, tactics, but studying mates is the most important thing in chess besides calculation, IMHO. One has to be like a fly on doodoo when spotting mates, and have to calculate them seriously, just as I didn’t when it came to the Bxd4 move.

    In the ..Qa5 variation that works, Black wins if he sees to sac a bishop and then exchange for the mate, and if not then loses. It’s almost as if whoever ends up with the most material in these sharp variations is probably going to wind up being on the losing side. I think everyone has the Silman rule so engrained “If you don’t know what to do, grab a pawn.” But you really do need to know what to do in chess, it’s not a game of luck.

  2. I will go in more details tomorrow, my kid is playing in Canadian Youth Chess Championship, so I am kind of tired. It looks he is ahead with his attack and his Bxg6 looks very intimidating for the time left.

  3. Cool. šŸ™‚ Go, son!

    That does sound more interesting than our games. šŸ˜‰

    One thing I could add about my game above is that I played ..c3 at the right time, before ..hxg6. IOW, I had played it right up to ..Qa5, should have played …hxg6 then.

    The comment I wanted to add is that, although his sac was bad, I knew that he would play Bxg6. For one thing, he knew I had spent a lot of time and was probably unsure (IOW, maybe I respected it, and he picked up on that). For another thing, if the sac is bad so what? He only loses 4 rating points, but gets 22 if it works, and I knew this very well at the board. Just wanted to share that, this is the sort of stuff one has to watch out for when playing down.

    I looked at this position again. In the game, I played ..Qa5 already with nervous fatigue and my hand was shaking a bit, which doesn’t usually happen, combination of fatigue, time-left, and the position itself. Where I messed up here, the position is very “wide”. At ..Qa5?, it was the “widest” position in the game. So my position was best in the entire game for me, but it was now at it’s widest. There is a secret for cracking this position. Something I discovered long ago, but had put into the dark-recesses of my memory from so many chess battles. The secret is square-control. Chose the variations and analyze first the ones that give you the most square control. Human nature is that we want to look at the lines that give us the most material, but in sharp positions material considerations are usually the wrong approach. Checkmate for example is square-control, not material domination.

    Black does generating mating chances of his/her own, but the critical squares to control were the light squares around Black’s king (the Bg7 controls the dark-squares). This is why the ..Qd8-a5-f5 (best) maneuver is so effective. It also explains in another possible variation why ..Nf8 would have been so effective. Capturing on f3 is not as effective and sometimes losing because it makes no attempt to control/stop the White queens control of the light squares with Qxe6+. Similarly, allowing g6xh7+ increased White’s control of those White squares. I was thinking in term of specifics OTB, but the generalities mentioned above should lead one to look at the lines with most square control first, and only allow a line giving up square-control as a last resort, no need to play with fire. Adding extra control to g7 can also be important in some variations, but if one controls the light squares around g7, then one doesn’t need to add to g7’s support as that light-square control will indirectly support g7.

    The above is also why 20..Rf4 followed by 21..Nf8 in the game would have give me a solid -+ advantage (-1.6). Actually, 22..Qc7 is on-tap and Black wins very quickly, tactically.

  4. Where I really went wrong in this game, and he gave me two moves to think about it, yet I didn’t take more than two minutes thinking about it, was the pawn recapture situation around my king. I gave him my h-pawn for a tempo, but that’s like selling the house to have enough to eat dinner. If I had recaptured ..h7xg6, White has won a pawn in front of my king for his bishop, but by letting White play g6xh7, I have given him three pawns around my king for his bishop. That is just losing in a big way, no two ways about it, even had I played ..kf7 instead of ..kh8, it’s still 3 pawns there. Those pawns with rooks, queen and knight to support their push and attack are far more useful than his bishop which is in the way. I don’t “win” a tempo for the pawn as he would have to expend a tempo to win that pawn anyway (two pawns really since I didn’t recapture myself) – IOW it’s sort of like two pawns for expense of one tempo, and it ended with gxh7+ winning back the tempo. So it was simply two pawns in front of my king for free! Now my king and pieces are tasked with stopping those pawns from queening, and my king becomes even more accessible to his knight, which can play Ng6xBh8 and even that is a winning trade for White.

    Originally, I was going to capture the pawn on g6 but then “changed my mind”. I went from avoiding a tough yet -+ position to giving him a ++- position. I gave him two pawns to keep him from playing Qg6, and Qg6 is double-edged for White anyway; in fact, it’s actually losing for White defensively.

    I was thinking “I really want to spend time on this pawn situation”. I felt guilty I hadn’t thought of this new possibility before, but I needed to allow myself to sweat it out on the clock. Essentially, I lost this game with 12 minutes still on my clock.

    In the future, I look forward to playing more of these positions which combine offense and defense. These positions can’t be played intuitively or just by looks, they have to be understood, analyzed concretely, and not guessed at.

    My two biggest weaknesses that I am working on are:
    1) Square control – a big reason I am a poor blitz player, yet play well at G/2hr (I get caught up in plans, forgetting which pieces are currently controlling which squares, after either side moves). Studying simple mating patterns is one way to improve in this regard because it focuses one on simple squares; it’s amazing how easy it is to miss a mate in one or mate in two and only see mate in three.

    2) Balancing attack with defense – this is probably an advanced stage of chess understanding for any class-player. It’s easy to see just attack or just defense, and not balance them properly, which means playing for the best future positional possibilities and not just calculating the home-run, all-in, as the position stands.

    Best way to put this is that I am not “mentally” getting into my opponent’s position often. I do it in spots to justify a move here or there, but I am not doing it on and after every move as I should. It’s no wonder I get into time-trouble, and amazing that I notice as much as I do just-in-time to prevent more losses.

    IOW, if I did this I would have a better, larger “working-set” of positional considerations already formed before I see my opponent’s next move and then would have a quicker on the clock, better reaction/counter-plan once I see my opponent’s next move. But it all comes back to square-control for all the pieces. Can’t simply notice only captures. Need to see the mobility of each piece in each position, notice all of the squares that each piece can currently reach, not simply treat is as “What’s hanging?” exercise and then ignore everything else, while patting one’s self on the back for merely noticing that LPDO (loos pieces drop off).

    I need to talk to myself more during a game, describe the pluses and minuses of the position, not simply try and calculate like a computer; I don’t want to become what I perceive of as Topalov’s thinking style, not that I wouldn’t mind having his rating.

    I would measure a player’s chess development now from the standpoint of how much complexity that they can create and navigate through well. I created such a position yet utterly failed to navigate it, but have spent many hours navigating the position after 19..hxg6, 20.Qxg6 Qa5 in post-analysis; I know all of the lines from that point, to checkmate.

    BTW, I just corrected the game-score on move 19 of that link. I must have fixed it immediately after I had uploaded it.

  5. I’ll try to get back to your blog. I was completely overwhelmed by the event my kid was playing in. You will understand if I’ll say that my work is 1km from there, still I didn’t go there after dropping her and didn’t try to work remotely – just took vacation. She was the lowest rated in the group of 14 girls and I worried a lot … She did very well and before the last round had 3 out of 6 and hopes. She lost to her local rival, with whom she had =2, -1 before and was upset.
    Still she got 10th place which is good I think for the national event and taking into account that she didn’t play for 2.5 years, only 6 months lately.
    I myself now play in the huge event, I am superstitious and wouldn’t say more, but you can find on the internet what is that. I drew with a master (currently 2194, was a bit more earlier). It was a huge game, one of my best. I slept only 4.5 hours before, spent a nervous half a day before with the kid, went shopping for food, but still was calm and concentrated.
    I got perpetual in Q+P vs. Q ending on the 80th move. 30 seconds increment saved me, I had 7.5 minutes vs. his 40 in the end. I would lose on time with any other control – it was 1.5/40, SD/30 with 30 seconds all the time. Now I understand all what you are saying about that, it was a first game ever for me with the increment.

  6. Wow, that’s a pretty awesome draw. Yes, the increment is goofy, sometimes you have two minutes, sometimes 30 seconds, but you develop this survivor’s mentality that all you have is 30 seconds and must go for the draw, even though it’s not true. No time for planning on your own time, unless you want to risk going for a win.

    4.5 hours sleep is enough time for a first round game (and I get close to 10 hrs a day, probably). It’s in the second round that it is difficult to maintain energy and focus, and by the third round of the day, one is grabbing the wrong bishop and putting it on to the wrong colored square, such as I did once (the bishops were next to each other).

    I’m glad that your daughter did well. It seems like she was into it, or she wouldn’t have gotten upset by the loss, so maybe she continues her interest in chess at times in the future. Yeah, being a High School champ or something like that may give them more confidence toward their future endeavors.

    I’m glad you finally got to play at a longer time-control. If it weren’t for G/90 pressure, I might not have switched back to tactics study. I’m still focusing on tactics with my chess-time when not playing. On to the Queen Sacrifice section now, which is about either mate, or the queen zizagging, or drawing off a defender. If you study anything, I recommend “building up a base” with tactics, as Silman calls it in his rebuttal to MDLM. I still think the most important thing to study in chess is mate in 1 and mate in 2, because it builds up an awareness of square control and move exhaustion, particularly mate in 1. Sounds like B.S. probably, but now I know why Katar would practice those as speed drills.

  7. Thanks. I am playing 1 round per day. I found that the queen endgame is a draw by Nalimov, I am glad that I found the exact moves. It got there after a pawn endgame which I stupidly avoided before having R+pawns vs. R+pawns, seeing that we both get queens at the same time, but being vary of a queens running around – that he will win my pawn and then see some forced exchange. But you just have to be careful and keep your king in the farthest corner from the knight pawn queening square, I intuitively did that. He gave me another chance to exchange rooks and that time I did it.
    The funniest thing is that the first pawn endgame was actually won for me Fritz says, but I probably wouldn’t find the pawn sac that it required to win, so it would end up exactly the same as in the game. To be fair I have to say that he missed his one chance to win the rook endgame after I avoided exchange the first time.
    I think all what you are doing is right, just continue.

  8. Drawing a queen and pawn ending sounds difficult. I look forward to seeing that game, if you have the score to it. Probably you played the endings you felt most comfortable with, maybe he did the same, and fate meant that that equaled a draw. I am not so comfortable trying to draw with queens by perpetual so you can probably teach me something there.

    I am at problem #200. Queen sac section, I wish they would call it ‘checkmate’ section. The queen sacs that involve winning material, oddly enough I find those ones very easy, it’s the checkmate ones that are more complex to me.

  9. Yeah, I have all the moves, will post tomorrow.
    I played round 2 today, got 2120 kid. Pressured him in Scandinavian all the game, missed once the move giving me 2.2 advantage, then it looked like he escaped and I started to think that I wouldn’t win and the position simplified and suddenly he offered a draw and I impulsively answered “Yes” and like as a blunder realized right away that I probably could win his pawn, but it was late.
    I forgot about the Larsen’s motto on your site, too bad.
    I came home and ran shootouts and if it is a 11-ply deep or more, it’s a win, 9-ply – draw and win, but with a 7-ply – 2 draws. My calculation depth is probably closer to 7-ply :), so it’s a little consolation. Of course, there were practical chances, we are not computers. He had less time. I actually felt very tired right after I agreed to a draw, much more than yesterday, exactly like you described, even second round is on the next day.

  10. Yes, when you are spent you are spent. After losing on Wednesday, I was driving home, looking down at the speedometer and I was going 52 MPH right as the freeway transitions from 65-75 MPH speed limit. That is probably the same sort of tired you are talking about. I had eaten very little that day, losing weight, and sort of ran out of energy at the end of the game. Sort of like ‘the train stops here’, even though I had plenty of time on my clock when I made those bad moves quickly.

    It’s good to know you were pressing home the win as White while you still had your energy left. Tomorrow, I suppose you will have Black and that is a much more difficult, physically/mentally/if not spiritually demanding assignment.

    I read this comment by BDK:

    So true, after I read that I started cranking through these problems. I’m on #230 with 5 problems left in this section (done), and previously completed the next section, so these are the ones I have done now.

    The Pin
    Queen Sacrifice

    And will be starting on problem #304, the ‘Knight Fork’ section, which will take quite a while it appears.

    Ripping through these problems (as my book falls apart, so probably for the last time/circle) I started to feel dangerous. Now I know how Isaac thinks at the board, he looks for mate on virtually every move where has an attacking chance. Sometimes this is not warranted and he makes a fool of himself, so to speak, but now I know why he is crushing when there is one.

    Good luck tomorrow, and have that self-belief. šŸ™‚ Their moves never look as dangerous after the game. šŸ˜‰

    If I were to change that tag-line above now, it would read “Never run out of energy, desire, willpower, never.” My problem is not accepting draws, it’s offering them. šŸ˜€

    My problem with the circles is that I have the memory of an elephant. like I had just started out on this one problem “Omigosh, I am seeing these great sacs!”, then I remember that it’s from a Fischer game and that I had seen it before. If I can solve based on memory, then I am not stretching myself. The best is when you first start out studying tactics or studying a section of tactics, and have to solve the problem for reals, it’s hard and takes a long time to see simple things. Once you’ve seen it before, it is often mostly testing one’s memory. IOW, the “law of diminishing returns” does kick in at some point. If tactics is one’s weakness, then it is especially applicable to study tactics. If one only studies tactics, never plays, and never has studied GM games, then that wouldn’t redress that particular person’s chess weaknesses so much.

    The nice thing about playing-up is that they are actually playing chess and will try to do the right thing. At 1300,1400-ville, of course they will sac that piece just to confuse you. It’s irrelevant that the sac is bad because they are “playing the man” instead of the board, quite frequently (creating complications in your time-trouble, etc).

  11. I am glad I can take the subway to the tournament, I get out after the game feeling almost dizzy. I can see the traffic lights when I walk to the subway, but that’s all. It only happened many years ago back in Russia when we played 4-5 hours games.
    I am starting to understand one more thing you were saying – about 90/G games. It starts to look like those 1-minute games, that FMs and masters played in the parents room at the previous event. Pieces were dropping and moves didn’t make much sense but they made the time control almost all the time, I can’t play that fast. At the end one FM that I know very well said: “It’s not chess”. All those errors I made having 10-20 minutes left…
    Just the quality of the game is different.
    I envy your perseverance with the tactics study, it is very important.

  12. I’ve had the mentally dizzy feeling before. It sounds like you are describing that point where your eyes no longer want to see what is in front of them. I try to close my eyes now if the position involves calculation OTB. It’s important not to look at the board for too long, burns out the mental circuits. If I stare at the board during complications, it’s too many emotional thoughts entering my head “Is he winning, am I winning, should I, shouldn’t I”, it’s like mental vacillating vomit which kills a lot of time. But when I close my eyes, it forces me to conceptualize the squares and sequence much better.

    My biggest problem from too much chess study/playing is that it feels like a pulling at the middle/back of my brain where the motor-skills are at, and I want to physically rest to restore my brain. The front part of my brain that does thinking is fine, but the part that tracks movement (of the chess pieces) is shot.

    There has to be a tactical flash of brilliance in each combo though. Here, I play by wrote, obvious-looking move isn’t good enough:;action=show
    Here I play the pedestrian 37.Rf4? (even RxR could be a winning advantage). Instead, 37.Rf5 is winning because ..Qg6 38.Qh4+ Qh5, 39.QxQ mate, and if 37..QxRf5, 38.QxQf5 RxRd6, 39.Qf4+ followed by 40.QxRd6. This is where seeing those mate in twos comes in. It’s a geometric visualization deficiency. The only way to really see the geometry is to visualize it one’s head, if this particular tactics is not yet second nature. If going by looking at the board solely, then one has to have some pretty good “looking” skills, which I often enoug h don’t possess. But if you visualize it, you are forced to conceptualize the problem accurately, else you can’t understand it. “Looking” at the board, one can trick ones self into thinking all kinds of stuff is understood that really isn’t. Probably why pattern-recognition is so highly touted. If people had “looking recognition” which is based on seeing things how they really are in every particular circumstance., then they wouldn’t need “pattern-recognition” (right?) which is based on memory by defintion.

    But now that I have conceptualized it internally (blindfold), not just looked at it, now “Oh yeah I am going to mate him on h5” is obvious. People are conceptual thinkers, this is what separates us from a lot of insects, and chess is a conceptual game. Visually appealing, yet still a conceptual game. Maybe I just sucked at putting the round block through the hole or something when I was little. lol. But even then I remember conceptualizing. The pins in this position were also reached by subconscious previous conceptualizations, else my opponent wouldn’t have allowed them, if he were so accurately aware of them himself. If were weren’t conceptual thinkers then no one would be absent-minded, we would always only look at what is born obvious to us, and not abstract any further.

    The reason people don’t do this is because it is easier to see if something is hanging than it is to conceptualize that which is hanging. But sight betrays, and later in the game it can go “blind” altogether, whether out of greed, fear, etc.

    Sure, when I am playing online I am looking. It is lazy chess.

  13. That was a funny FICS game. GMs know hundreds of these patterns, that’s why they are better. I just yesterday enjoyed watching Mark Bluvstein’s game, where he had R+B vs. R. It’s a theoretical draw, but there are practical chances, usually the stronger player has them. It was interesting to see it in Nalimov DB, how IM went in the beginning along draw lines, and then made a wrong move and it was mate in 20 or something. After 6 more moves he resigned.
    I played yesterday with a guy I had a draw with White in the club, 2140.
    I had Black, was vary that he will play King’s gambit, looked at the lines, was a bit late, was nervous that I will be late and was not concentrated well as a result. I had trouble in the opening, escaped, then made 4 bad moves in the row and blundered in the end. OK, it’s a lesson.
    I posted the first 2 games.

  14. I find the King’s Gambit very difficult to play against as Black. Even though I play the Falkbeer Countergambit, I still find it to be the most tactically incisive opening from White that I face as Black.

    It sounds like you had a good game out of it. It is very difficult to play either side of that opening, but particularly for Black.

  15. No, he didn’t play King’s gambit, it was 1. c4 Nf6.
    I played today with ~2050 guy, local boy about 16, I had White. It was my Moscow variation in Sicilian, I was doing very well, he went for the wrong combination, I think, and ended up being down an exchange for the pawn. Then it got into the endgame were my rook was bad and his knight good and I eventually lost. Thought I would win that game. At least I gave everything I could, even came 45 minutes earlier. Will try to post both games tomorrow.

  16. Speaking of Knight vs. Bishop endgames, I played one on FICS today. You know it’s a “FICS game” when you drop a piece (and a pawn), but still manage to win convincingly. šŸ˜‰;action=show

    my 9…b5 is a blunder because after 10.BxBe6 fxBe6, 11.Qb3 picks up either the b5 or e6 pawn. ..Na5 instead of ..Be6 is preferred by Crafty in the opening. I could sense that the position was harder for White to play after I had dropped the piece.

    Well, at least you wont lose too many rating points from those games. You will be more ready for these higher-rated players in your next tournament. That’s good that you enjoyed it and learned from it. It’s difficult to make that transition from “I’m winning a middlegame” to “I’m winning an endgame” when the position isn’t so clear.

    I like seeing your games when you play ..d5 against c4. I like looking at games with that variation. It looks fun for Black (with ..g6), but I never decide to risk it, even though after …Nd5xNc3 it looks safe at least.

    Good luck tomorrow, if you are still playing! šŸ™‚

  17. I just played a great game with the girl rated 2000+, current Canadian U18 champion between girls. I was under a strong attack, but sacrificed 2 pawns ( Fritz says it was too much šŸ™‚ ) and eventually forced a rook endgame, where I even got an extra pawn, but Fritz says it’s a draw. I wasn’t sure about that, her king was very active and I made a move after which either it was still rook endgame, but which I thought was at least not worse for me (still draw) or a pawn one leading to Q+2P vs Q+P, where she got perpetual right away.

  18. I won today. It was the reverse scenario of the 3rd game, with me getting advantage and then him blundering.

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