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