Wednesdays Round 2 – Aug 2011

Today, I played for a “chess lesson” against Isaac. He’s the only player I’d do this against, play to learn, but our post-mortems are interesting, and sometimes I feel that he is the only player I can learn from. He plays well in complications, particularly with his queen, and me, not so much with the queens on. The secret to the queen seems to be how well that it triangulates the board, particularly back and forth across longish diagonals, zig-zagging her way.

Round 2

He handled the complications well. I figured that I could get a materially equal endgame position, and probably outplay him for the rating-points win, or sac a piece and see how that goes. After I sacked, I realize it wasn’t going to work out because of ..f6, which he also found. Still, I thought that my chances were alright until he played ..Qg7, which took me by surprise, probably the strongest move on the board. Of course I saw that g4 was a blunder as soon as I had played it (in time-pressure), but we tried other moves after the game and there is no saving move.

Fort that reason, I could try 22.Kh1 dxe4, 23.g4 Rg8 (he played this move in the post-mortem), and now 24.Re2 is forced, else Black would have 24..Bxf and it can’t be taken because the of mate on g2 threat. So 24…Nf3 forks queen and knight, and that will trade off too much of my attacking material. Wow, that continuation goes on elegantly. If 25.Qf2 then ..Rd8, so continuing on 25.NxN exf, 26.Rf2 (was attacked by the pawn) Ne5, 27. h3 Bxf!, 28.gxB Rad8!, threatening to remove the Rd1 defender of the back rank, so 29.Rd1-b1 Qh6, 30.Rbf1(say) Rg5 (the bishop is no longer defended by the g4 pawn, so that Black pins it to the queen and wins it).

Our post-mortem was interesting, as usual. Isaac has such great board-vision. He saw his ..Qh6 then going down to d2, for instance and attacking my king in conjunction with his knight. I hardly need to come home and look at an engine, as he sort of is like playing against one. Well, I played for fun and the learning and experience, and I got both.

There was one post-mortem variation where he made a lazy blunder that he wouldn’t have OTB, but we played on and I got a winning endgame position, but it’s not wildly surprising as that is my (relative) strength.

There was one post-mortem variation where he goes Qh6-d2, then plays ..h6 defended by the queen, then I though I had him on h6, but he covers it by playing ..Kg7. He saw all of the back and forth sacking on g6 immediately. It feels like watching “Houdini” at work, the way he gets out of stuff when the kings are in jeopardy. In another post-mortem where I thought I had him, he played Bxf5 attacking my Qg4 (which also defends against the mate on g6) and deflecting it from my Rg8, which was also now attacked by his Ra8 – not a tempo too soon, but he saw it right away when I thought I finally had him.

The amazing thing about this game is that the sac isn’t losing, if Black makes a touch of a mistake. Qg4+, that was my losing move, and I had lost confidence in it before I played it, but I did not know how Re3 with b5 plan (I also wanted to play this move) could be alright. If Black does not respond to b5 with ..Na5 then there are drawing and level lines, or winning. Well, it was a losing sac in any case. We did briefly both mention 18.f6+ and shoot it down as quick. After 18..Kh8, Black develops his pieces rapidly and ideally, infiltrating to nice squares.

14.f4 was the way to play for an advantage, rather than 14.Re1. f4 should have lead to a +1 +- for White. Even should I have done that, this is a lot of tactical complexity for a G/90. The Lopez is a much safer G/90 opening for an experienced player playing against a tactical player.

I almost played the Spanish game against him, but was worried that he may play the Marshall well or something like that, but that would seem to be irrational now that I think of it. He probably only knows this opening as well as he does because I play it against him. Next time I will play the Spanish against him.

That f4 line is the black-hole for Black. White builds such a strong structure that Black has nowhere to go. It’s virtually a forced win. I’ve looked at so many checkmating attacks resulting from it, or wins material with Bc5xRf8 – can’t really stop it even when you know it’s coming. F4 is the critical line because it allows White to reposition the misplaced bishop to f3. Of course, I saw this but was looking for more direct tactical chances, which didn’t exist against best play from Black, and he achieved that.

Also, I was going to play 15.Nf3, but again I wanted more. There’s something about G/90 that makes me want to get more of a cheapo advantage before getting into time-trouble. In a 6 hour game, I would be playing all of these solid moves, if not finding the best attacking move, such as 14.f4. For a G/90, I was following the tactical trail, but it never lead to anywhere.

If you think this is a bad defeat, Anthea lost as White to that 1200 kid that I narrowly beat last week. It was an even ending, he offered a rook exchange and she had to take it, but would have been better or even anyway (probably would have won for White if played correctly), but she refused the trade and lost. That is crazy. Folks, I know we talk about “must-win” a lot, but that goes to show that a draw is better. Around a 600 rating point difference between the two.


6 thoughts on “Wednesdays Round 2 – Aug 2011

  1. TommyG started a discussion about tactics, here:

    Here is my reply:

    TommyG, you should have more time, OTB, if you save a lot of time for later in the game (this is why it’s good to, not because openings aren’t important, but because of this).

    I saw a good move tonight, played it, of course my opponent kept finding answers, but I said to myself “I don’t see his checkmate!” and of course that is a complete joke because his pieces were so far from checkmate you could hardly fabricate a safer position for my side (White). But to give you an idea, that was my blundercheck. Pretty much covers it, my position was solid.

    That sounds like a nice blunder-check, TommyG, but that doesn’t cover all of visualization. A lot of “visualization” isn’t necessarily visual (but if you want to visualize correctly, close your eyes to do it). You can also look away from the board but that is not seeing it the way closing the eyes is.

    A big part of visualization is linking together of ideas. I push g4, therefore this other square is now un-covered, and the pawn is blocking in these pieces from doing these actions. Or, if this piece moves from here, that is great that it will be attacking that over there, but it will no longer be defending these two squares that it is currently defending. That is a big part of analysis, sizing up those trade-offs in an equalish poistion where a different move indicates a different plan and one has to decide between multiple plans. I can do this rather quickly from having played so many games, unless I am exhausted of course, from too much chess.

    Someone asked Life-Master Brian Wall how to get better, and he had told him “Lose. Just lose. Lose lots of games.” IOW, I think he meant by that “Don’t be so uptight about your rating that you don’t make any progress in your chess.” Bent Larsen had a similar sort of advice for those starting out, and still improving.

    I think that if someone isn’t afraid to lose, then they can also develop their intuition, instead of simply using the knowledge that they already have.

    β€œDon’t move until you see it.”

    I wouldn’t say that this applies for me, exactly, in G/90 because there is not enough time to do that. At some point, it becomes a time-scramble either way. In a “5 hour game”, such as last weekend, I feel like I am following that maxim more closely, and will not take any undue chances, but at G/90 I feel I am guessing at some point, whether it’s a crazy guess or a solid guess. πŸ˜‰

    Actually, a 6 hour game is where I shine. For example, in my round 2 endgame loss on Saturday (5 hour game), I was still guessing in my time-trouble, but it was the craziest thing. I was going to blitz out a ..Ba6 move, which would have prevented his b5 giving me doubled pawns, etc, and I would have nailed down the position cold. But he unexpectedly spent so much time on that move that I changed my mind and played ..Bf5?! instead (because I wanted to exchange bishops right away rather than patiently waiting to), which allowed him to play b5.

    Time is like that. Either you get plenty of your own clock time and can see everything, or sometimes you are better off going with your blitz move and completely blowing off the sort of nonsensical quest for the best move. In our study, we can always look for the best move.

  2. It’s funny, that if you just play 17. Re3, after 17… Nf4 your sacrifice gives you a 0.5 advantage – 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. Qg4+ Ng6 20. Qg3. If 17… Nxd4 then 18. Rxd4 19. Nc6 Rxd5

  3. RollingPawns, yes, Black is so positionally “on the ropes” that many things work, even that sac variation instead could have been more colorful than in the game.

    But check this line out. Fruit doesn’t chose this line that I like (so technically I am outplaying Fruit for a couple of moves), but White gets a big advantage:
    17.Re3 Nf4 (forced, BTW. 17..NxBd4 drops a pawn due to rook pinning knight to queen, but I did not notice this tactic during the game because I had only looked at the recapture on d4 rather than RxNd3 which gets all that pin action, although I am sure Isaac would have seen it and played ..Nf4) 18.Bc5 Rd8, 19.Qg4 (it’s weird how I was instantly attracted to this line, but it was the sort of thing I was looking at OTB) ..NxBh5, 20.QxN. Now White has more than +1 according to Fruit, more like +1.25.

    So Black could try 20..b6, 21.Rh3 h6, 22.Rg3! (threatening Qxh6 followed by Qxh7 mate) f6, 23.Be3 and now Fruit says it is around +1.9 as Black’s kingside is under attack. Black has so much trouble developing anyway, that it made me regret going for a sac when it probably wasn’t needed.

    Once he played ..Qb6 and I replied b4, in the opening, I think that this position would have been a routine win for a GM as White. If anything, it’s the G/90 format that gives such a positional blunder an aire of respectability, which is a big part of why tactical players can win even after they blunder. Could you imagine if this were before the days of clocks? I’d have all day to put the win away. hehe.

    I looked at this some more, 19.Qg4 in that line is just winning by force, so ..Nf4 is losing, so Black should capture on d4, but that whole line is losing for Black I can see. Not just because of winning a pawn but because of the advantage in development/piece-placement.

    You know what’s funny, I looked at your line OTB, RollingPawns, but did not spot the idea of Qg3, which lets the bishop out before taking on g6. It’s easy to think that one doesn’t have the tempo to spend for such a luxury when analyzing. This is specifically the sort of thing which leads to confusion OTB, when analyzing.

    Yes, the ..NxBd4, RxNd3 variation winning a pawn, that was the key tactic which I missed OTB. I spent a long time looking at that BTW, only thinking about whether I wanted to sac the b-pawn after recapturing first on d4, followed by …Nxb4 when I figured my development advantage would outweigh the cost of my pawn. So even there I wasn’t thinking tactically direct enough!

    Actually, Black is better after I give up the b-pawn. And 17..Nf4 isn’t necessary either. Black is up after 17..Ne5. So, I really needed to calculate right and see the tactic with Re3 followed by RxNd3. Not seeing that simple tactic (which wins!) was costing me the game there. The thing is, it’s a forcing capture. I failed to look at an immediate capture. Wow, that is what I was trying to do, look at immediate captures, and I still missed one.

    One thing about playing a tactical style is that you have to accept some inconsistent results because it’s like walking a tightrope, one mistake (meaning not finding a best attacking move usually), can spell the game.

    Playing for the endgame usually leads to more consistent results. I remember back when I was in the Army in the 80’s and I could beat everyone in my training unit (A.I.T). I did it by trading queens and then winning an endgame, as I must have been atrocious with queens still on the board back then.

  4. Hey LinuxGuy!

    Thanks! I am going to try the closing my eyes thing when I calculate during a game. I have got my eye on a tournament in two weekends. My leg is much better but I don’t want to push it as I need it for the up coming college year and for various performances. But I think I can hack one tournament in two weekends.

    I am still basically staying away from internet chess (except some correspondence) and am instead playing one or two G/90 against the computer. At least this way I get long games in to practice visualizing.

    Oh and I was just browsing through Edmar Mednis’ “Strategic Chess’ to get some pointers on the Nimzo-Indian defense.

    Mednis writes and explains better than almost anyone! I learned more about that opening’s plans and ideas in two games he annotated than a whole book on any other opening. I wish he had written a lot more!

  5. Internet chess, I played that once.

    The truth is that for me there is all the chess I can need or stand locally, like too much of a good thing! πŸ˜€

    I hope you can make those tournaments, TommyG. You will have chess dillemas OTB that you wouldn’t have in another context. In my game above, I made a false dilemma in my mind, thus the sac instead of finding the best move.

    My favorite book of all-time was “How Karpov Wins” by Mednis. I saw it again a couple years back, forgot it was in descriptive notation. It’s probably the only book worth owning in descriptive notation besides Alekhine’s, which I gave away for that same reason.

    The closing of eyes works because once a piece is moved, you see it at it’s new location rather than where it is on the board.

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