Well, some things haven’t changed.
I won against a 1300 rated kid, who must be massively under-rated.
Thank goodness for first round seedings. I was missing simple tactics here.
17..RxN, 18.QxR Rf8, 19.Queen moves Bxf2+ followed by BxR.
18..Qh5, 19.d4 RxN, 20.gxR Qxh3+, 21.Ke2 Qxf3+. Somehow I was jumbling in my mind how the difference between how that tactic would be played out on this move and how it was on the previous move. I was seeing it ending up as ..Qg2 and Re2 defense. Don’t know how I was seeing that.
His 20.d4 was a blunder, but I recognized it as a good move in disguise. This kid plays a lot of rated fast chess, and he played fast. I think that someone like this is a strong player, such as with the move Kf1!, but they play a lot of their moves immediately. Meaning, when they think they can actually find an Expert move, but they are rated 1300 because they play so much fast chess/moves.
The game score is only accurate for 42 moves and after that it is wrong because I was down to 3 1/2 minutes. Won it with around 46 seconds left. He sacked his knight for the h-pawn, and luckily I had the right colored bishop to promote the a-pawn with. He offered my a draw 3 times, while it was even, and I told him “no”. I was down to 1 1/2 minutes, and I still did not accept the draw, particularly after last night. But there was no delay set on his clock! So I had to ditch the score-keeping at the end.
I won against a nice gentleman whom I had never played before. This was my best game of the day, still I had issues. I went ahead with the combo without calculating everything correctly, which is a good thing because he spent a lot of his own time on it. I hadn’t figured out how I would get in Bh6 with the Qg6, whilst also holding onto the e-pawn. This is the thing, chess is not all calculation, if I knew WHAT to calculate (i.e., the ideas), then it would be easy to calculate it. Here, the answer is obvious once Fruit shows me. Queen check to h5 and hold the e5 pawn with the queen from there, then play in Bh6, and if he trades rooks and Bf8, then check the queen back down to g6 then play Rf7 wins. It’s these ideas that are hard to find. If one told you these ideas, you could calculate them. 😉
I smugly figured I had the win in the bag, but I misplayed the continuation. I thought that 26.Bc3 ices it (not the best move), but I had considered getting the rook involved instead. I was expecting 26..d4 (instead of his 26..Rf8??), 27.Bxd Qd7, 28.Bc3 then push e6 for mate. I noticed his Qc6 would mate one move too late as well. But, he has not 27..Qd7?, but 27..Bxg! This would have an unpleasant surprise, where White must respond with 28.Kg1, but it is still +- +2. (White will win a bishop under the right circumstances, then be up pawns)
The winning move is 26.Rc1, close to +7. Basically, the idea is to continuously slap Black’s queen silly with your rook, bishop, and or e6 pawn, which retains initiative in the attack. White may continue with Rc3 or Rf1, for example, depending.
I lost against Life Master Brian Wall, whom I have never played before either.
There was no break between rounds 2 and 3. We finished our round 2 game with 26 minutes remaining, so that was all the break I got, so I went out and got a burrito and brought back a coffee. I was still tired, dazed and confused, and played against the Scotch timidly until my coffee kicked after a lost opening. At least now the intimidation factor is out of the way, and I wished I had played him long ago for that very reason.
I was completely unprepared for the Scotch Gambit and had lost confidence defending against it last time I played online, but didn’t brush up on that opening at all. I need to badly brush up on it, but I stopped playing it how I used to with ..Nf6 and ..d5, which I have had good results with online, but didn’t know if it was okay enough to play against a Master, I guess.
This is only like the second time I have played that ..d6 variation, and my head was spinning with the possibilities for White before it calmed down. Brian pointed out that if I played ..Qe7 because I were afraid of the e5 push, then I should wait until e5 is played before playing ..Qe7.
He didn’t commit his queen early like players do online, and in my tired state this got me seeing every ghost of a tactic that was possible, but was difficult to put it all back together again in my scattered mind. I wish I had sat down and studied this for Black seriously the way I do OTB. I need to have my openings for Black much more down pat than I do right now. It seems like eons since I have cracked open by MCO 13 openings encyclopedia, for example.
I missed the obvious defense to Qa4 (threatening mate on e8) of ..Qd6 followed by ..Qd7. Instead I played ..a6 so as to defend against it with ..b5 if needed. After I played it, I felt he would play 27.d6, winning, but I didn’t see his idea, follow-up of 28.Qc6.
So, two more rounds tomorrow. I keep getting paired against low-rated under-rated players, and tomorrow may be more of the same. I had fun, anyway. 🙂
I’ll post the games when I get a chance.
Day 2 – Disappointment
I was 45 minutes late for the early round, but won against a 1400 player, Fantasy Variation of Caro-Kahn
Wow, I can’t believe that I miscalculated so badly in this game, my opponent made me look good. I got there tired, with burning eyes, so I kept my eyes closed at the beginning of the game and tried to rest or relax. I saw both 7.Bxf+ after I moved (had only considered the follow-up of Ng5 during the move), and 8.Bxf+(double-check).
So I was like, okay, I am awake now and have been messing up. So I looked at 9.Bxf7+ for a long time, and miscalculated it, so played Kh1 instead. I had no idea that I had time to play Kh1 AFTER I played Bxf7+. I was too worried about what was going on down at the b2 square (didn’t follow the threat trail back from b2 to g7 probably, which gains a tempo forcing ..Nf6. Plus if..Qb6, then Qb3 and queen and bishop mutually defend one another, plus double-attack the knight, if ..Qb6 is played before ..cxb2. It looks like one line, but it is very branchy and all branches look similar except for move-order, quite tricky to realize this at the board.
This is one of those games where I was calculating badly, I suppose, but my opponent didn’t make me prove it much, so I guess I simply gave him more of a positional lesson.
One thing I had got right was the question of 17..Ne5. I was planning to play 18.f4 and give up the minor exchange after ..Nc4. Fruit says that’s approx. +1.5. My knight will be at least as strong as his bishop, if not much more so. Plus, it doesn’t yield initiative as 18.b3 would.
I used RollingPawns opening variation to win a pawn! I wanted to congratulate you right then and there RollingPawns! I didn’t even realize I could win a pawn, just remembered it’s what you played. I was looking at crazy bad stuff, as usual.
Early in the opening, I was going to play defense and try to hold onto the pawn, but then had this sort of moral dilemma. Should I go for a suspect attack to distract him from the kingside, or should I hunker down and defend. My instincts told me to defend, but I was thinking “What if I am a pawn up and only draw by defending?”. But I learned something. Against weaker players, attack, against stronger players, defend, always defend, there is no dichotomy. Defend by attacking or defense, but always defend. Don’t get lazy and only attack.
I thought of playing a more positional strategy, but figured someone would tell me I am being too defensive on this blog. Like, “I go backwards with my knight too much”, sounds like something ChessTiger or Aziridine might say. Screw that, that is how I win, with strategy, it just doesn’t look impressive because my opponent is 1300 typically.
I was thinking a pawn structure such as, for example the moves ..0-0, b6, Bc8, Bb7, Nc6b8,Nbd7, Rfd8, a5, and even h6 and Kh7. Perhaps then even c6 with d5 break is possible, or use the a-file for some trades. I should have employed a solid unassuming positional strategy. Instead, I figured I’d get initiative with a6 and b5, but that it was positionally bad to have my pawns on light squares. I got so carried away with this attack that I completely neglected kingside defense. However, if I were playing positional, I would have been in the mindset to look for the plan on defense. I just can’t believe I played like that. He played well, but that was not my game, nor very sensible.
BTW, I saw his RxBc6 before he played Rfc1, there was simply no way to hold onto a piece other than for hope-chess. I knew my last tactic there would probably lose, but the alternative was a sterile endgame. I should have played solid though because I never paused to remember that endgames are his weakness, not tactical situations. It’s hard to have presence of mind in these latter rounds, and I definitely did not have it, and I knew it!
27..Nxd5 was the “losing” move, but what was the alternative? There’s no way I could see to get those pieces unstuck, and that is why I knew it was probably bad going into it, looked like it may not work.
It’s harder not to simply lash out when tired. Yet my problem last night when tired was being too defensive. If I had simply drawn that game, I would have won $175 instead of merely earning back my $35 entry fee for the loss. $225 for the win.
It’s obvious looking back at this game that I never wanted to defend. Didn’t really even consider ..h6..g5, at least not ..g5, which is fine. I should have pushed back on the kingside, but I guess all of this strategic play was too much for me, overwhelmed me for a last round game. I’ll have to remember this. For once it’s not an analysis of all the checkmates that I should have found, it was all about defense. This was an older gentleman and he brought his “old school” game against me.