Another Ringer

I wish the USCF were like FICS, start the newbie at 1800. hehe.

Round 1

So I am playing against a “1200” level player, and feeling like Polly, bringing my “B game” and expecting to get away with that against a younger up-and-comer. This opponent began playing just over a year ago with a first provisional rating of 800. Well, of course it is going to take him a while to get up to 1200. Let’s see, last month he beat Tom (1400) and drew Fred (1431). Somehow I seriously doubt that this guy is 1200.

I felt like I didn’t quite want to be there, didn’t have the nervous energy, it was much like my first round loss to a 1400 last month, at some point expecting to get by just drifting with the tide. Well, my opponent did not disappoint to bring me another ride for my life.

My lethargy colored my game. I did not want to play 1..e5 against his 1.c4, instead I had a strong desire to play 1..c5, but wanted to play it safe with my usual. Oh wait, 1..e5 is anything but safe.

It’s hard to explain some of what I was thinking other than I am not practicing hard enough when I look at my games, and also I felt as though I was too uptight, needed to relax and enjoy the ride more.

Move 15 is where I wanted to play 15..Rc8, then 16..b5, to break up his pawn chain and attack it with my ..Be6 bishop. For some reason, I let myself get scared of 17.c5 response, but then realized after I moved that that would have conceded the d4 square for my use. So I was kicking myself, although Fruit liked my timid 15..Rad8 even better, although I think my ..b5 plan was much more practical. I played it too safe here.

Somewhere around here, I had wished that I were RollingPawns for the first time during a game – I thought “He could defend this”, as I wasn’t quite feeling the desire to do it myself.

Move 21, I never saw his 21.Qc3!, but after I moved I had a hallucination that I could have stopped his winning a pawn with 21…Qd7, but that doesn’t work since 22.fxe is not foiled by 22…Qd1+ (Be1 or Kf2 defends).

At this point, I kick it into sloppy-overdrive. Failing to take his e-pawn back after his Qd2. I didn’t even see f4 or d4 coming when it came; completely oblivious to my opponent’s attack.

I should have played ..Nf8 to protect the ..Be6. This is what happens when one runs out of adequate nervous energy at the board for a G/90 game. The real consequence of this is that White has 26.Bd5! winning a pawn after ..Ke7, etc. Losing would be 26..cxB??, 27.Qxd5+ Ke7, 28.Ba3+ Ke8, Qg8+ and White wins back piece and eats pawns with queen. Or 28..Kd8, 29.Bd6 Qa5, 30.b4 Qb5 (queen is deflected away from d8 square), 31.Qe6+ Kd8, 32.Qe7+ Kc8, 33.Qe8#. The key idea in this bishop sham-sac is that after c6xBd5, Black no longer has a c-pawn to stop the Ba3+ threat with.

So I see that I could take either the e-pawn or d-pawn, and either seemed acceptable, but that was not the case. I play 26..fxd4?? and then comes 27.Bh3! like a bolt from the blue. I saw right away that I was dropping a piece for the pawn, and so did basically everyone else watching.

What do you do? Hope of course, that is your secondary occupation as a chess player, hope and pray, should you remember to. Of course, I felt lost and was hoping to be lucky, and was rewarded!

So we get into this opposite colored-bishop endgame, and I realize it is winding down into a draw. Actually, the game score is off, I played ..a5 as a waiting move while he played ..Bc6-d5. So, I sort of “fake-zugzwanged” him into playing that move.

What do I say after a game like this other than G*d did not want me to lose. It’s quite unbelievable, miracle win there at the end. Hey, I just picked up my 2 points, it’s back to 1800 now. 😀

I would prefer to blame some of my morale drop on Marc Bluvshtein giving up his chess career. Sometimes I ask myself, “Why am I playing G/90? Why am I giving these low and provisional rated players a shot at me?”

Last week I thought, how come these 1950 players drop a piece to a 1600 player (Alex) and still get a win? Today was finally my turn to experience this phenomenon.

I think the truth of this game is that I don’t defend as well as RollingPawns does, and I don’t defend as well as I should, compared to how I can attack sometimes.

Okay, after going over these lines again, I’d like to refine that. I can defend, and even Fruit’s only clear win seemed to be the obvious Bh3+ line (it goes ..Ke7, QxNd7+ QxQ, BxQ KxQ, e6+ followed by BxBg7). The specific truth is that I have never been comfortable or knowledgeable enough with queen-endings, so once again I learned a lot by looking at those with Fruit.

I used to see the endgame as some kind of “resolution phase”, but if the tactics don’t happen during the middlegame, then most of the complexity will get pushed off into the endgame. There is a lot of technical strength that goes into defending an ending; that task is just as involved as pulling off a middle-game combination. Defense is just as sophisticated as attacking, and even becomes the attack later on possibly.

I never asked for or received a draw-offer during this game. It just seems like bad etiquette to ask for a draw in a “fast” game, so maybe I have given up on that now. In any case, it would be win or lose until the opposite-bishop ending got fully played out.

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6 thoughts on “Another Ringer

  1. I am not sure I would play f4 in the opening. b5 I think opens more diagonal for his bishop on g2. If you want to attack the pawn chain, you should attack the base – b3. After 20. f4 the best is 20… Qa5 Bc3 21. Qb6 and you are OK.
    Then you got lucky and also woke up. 🙂 The rest demonstrates the expression: “A weak player always will find a way to lose”.

    Giving up by Mark his chess carrier affected me too, it’s sad.
    He doesn’t know how boring it is to work from 9 to 5, also nobody guarantees you that for life unless you work for a government.
    If I would be in his age of 23 without any obligations and having 2600 rating ….
    Frankly, between us (if it’s possible on the blog) maybe he missed some time since he had really good results (like becoming GM at 16), maybe that same studying in the university, I don’t know.

  2. Mark’s rating is much higher than Lenderman’s, and I think Lenderman makes a good living simply by winning these chess tournaments in the USA. My mother was born in Canada, Vancouver (Matsqui), and moved to the USA and became a citizen. It’s not that big a deal, and you’d think for someone like him it would be a shoe-in.

    Investment banker, that’s something you would want to do in NY where the easy/BS money was made, but I hear they have just laid off workers on Wall St. like crazy, about a quarter of them. This is the wrong time for that profession.

    20… Qa5 Bc3 21. Qb6, that is a great suggestion. Yes, do more with the queen. By move 21 it is already too late to play the more active strategy of 21..c5?, 22.fxe Nc6, 23.Nf4 Bxe5, 24.Qc2 BxB, 25.QxB Bf7, 26. Qf6 Ne7(this is what I was afraid of earlier in the game, queen and knight coming in like this), 27.Ne4 Nc8, 28.Ne5 Nd6, 29.g4!! fxg, 30. Nxg h5, 31.Ne5 Ne8, 32.QxBf7+ QxQ, 33.NxQ KxQ, 34.Bxb7 winning. White also has the nice threat in that line of taking on f7, then Bd5 pin.

    Bizarrely, Fruit doesn’t see that final position as losing, which probably explains why it also rates g4 as no big deal (I wouldn’t trust my lunch to one of these engines in an endgame, as they are still dorking around tactically rather than seeing the strategic picture). Perhaps/probably it was okay to play ..c5 with Nc6 earlier in the game, in conjunction with …e5, giving up d5 enough for White to get a d5 passer if desired, but I think without looking yet that Black could handle that line.

    17..c5, instead of trading rooks, and if Black puts a knight on d5, then BxNd5 is practically equalizing. I had thought BxNd5 during the game, but for some reason I wanted to get my Nc6 after that, but the game is not about what Black wants, it’s about countering nicely what White is doing, and the knight can then most likely blockade that pawn anyway, if not win it somehow. That’s me, always thinking I have to get my own attack in or all is lost.

    There are a lot of these non-prestigious tournaments where the 2400 or 2500 player can “clean house” with regards to the prize-fund. The World Open, if it weren’t for MDLM giving it major props. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won because half his opponents got sick or couldn’t stand the tournament conditions there. hehe. I heard somewhere on the internet that MDLM has kind of a gimp arm or hand, so maybe he takes adversity like that extremely well. The problem with the World Open isn’t taking everyone’s money, it’s everyone has to show up for you to take their money, seems like thousands of players play in that. I would shudder to see what the bathroom looks like during the middle of a round, let alone nearby restaurant crowds.

    I guess if I were Mark, I wouldn’t be thinking “What if’s”. The lamest excuse in the chess lexicon goes something like “I couldn’t beat Kasparov(regularly), so I had to give up chess because I am a winner!” haha. You hear people in other sports say that sort of thing/equivalent. Also, I agree with what you are saying about the job-market, it’s not that stable. You just about have to be a grandmaster to get a job these days. 😀

    Now that I think about it, if one was playing for a year as pro with sponsors or the equivalent of a Samford fellowship, then it would only make sense to play in the biggest tournaments, favoring competition over chances of winning prize-money, so of course the prize money isn’t going to seem as lucrative.

    I’m starting to realize that from now on it’s going to be strategic/positional/endgame strength which carries the days. Tactics/combos are very important in being able to analyze correctly, and quickly, and for defensive purposes, but strategy will only get bigger and games longer as time moves on.

  3. hey LinuxGuy,

    I found what looks to be a really nice book today at a beautiful local used bookstore! It is the match book for Kramnik-Kasparov, 2000.

    It is a duel effort by Andrew Martin and Nigel Davies. Davies is NOT one of my favorite chess authors. His annotations always seem lazy to me BUT he seems to be NAILING it in this book. Better prose by far than I am used to from him. Martin gives a little prologue to each game as well.

    AND a very neat feature is that they included all the games that Kramnik and Kasparov had played up until that point (2000). These are also annotated (although a little bit lighter which is fine)

    It might be worth a pick up. I am going to dive into it today.

    Oh and I posted the Rubinstein rook ending (without the answers this time–those go up tomorrow!)

  4. Oh no, well you get what you pay for.

    Wasn’t that the match where Kasparov agree to short draws as White when he couldn’t find an advantage. Plus, Gazza had to agree to short time-controls, a quick match. Not to mention him hailing Kramnik as his future successor ever since he lost a G/30 to him or something like that back in 1990(?)

    I still see that match as sort of a fiasco for having all of those elements. It’s like going to ask Spassky to defend communism against Fischer out of pride and love for it. Oh, wait, Spassky has been living in France for how many decades now?

    Other than that, I am sure it is a great book. 😀

    I have done 600 problems from the ‘Combination Challenge’ book. Have been making lots of errors in the ‘Discovery’ section, so I’m glad that I decided (was bored enough) to go over them tonight.

  5. Hey LinuxGuy!

    You nailed the Rubinstein ending. 🙂

    So far the first three games in the Kasparov-Kramnik book have been interesting. No short draws. Plus it is interesting to see the Berlin defense. I like to play the Ruy as White so it is cool to seem some games with it. Although it seems White could do well to turn it into an exchange variation early which could prevent the early exchange of queens. What do you think??

    Maybe I will study that and post on it?!?

    I am also playing through a book of Nimzo’s games and a book on Alekhine’s games. I am a nerd for game collections. 🙂

    I think my leg is getting to the point where I can maybe look at going to a tournament in the two weeks or so! WOOHOO.

  6. TommyG, thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    I’m happy, and surprised, that I got a GM game right. 😉

    I’ll have to look at the Berlin Defense when this tournament is over.

    If you read my blog, you’ll get an accurate feeling of what to expect at a tournament. The superGM’s all have impeccable manners OTB. Many class players, particularly Class C and below, or new players, do not. So it will make it more difficult to sit there and analyze if you don’t block it out effectively. I cover my face quite a bit these days. But even when I don’t and try to look across the room, my opponents will try to make facial contact with me to let me know how psyched they are. It’s sort of a drag, but you have to build up coping skills at the board, too.

    Probably what happens is that the amateurs don’t play enough OTB tournaments, or it is new to them, so they get sort of chess-crazed. The super-GMs play all the time. If you watch them move their pieces, it is like Bambi or something, you don’t see any egoism in any of their gestures. It’s amazing they can play fierce moves like that.

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