Enjoyable little game

Between me and Rhett. We had only played once before, where I had won to tie for first in my section at the Bobby Fischer Memorial. Rhett likes to take all of his time, so that for once I can actually say that I played a 3 hour game at G/90. This is what makes the game so enjoyable for me, win or lose.

Round 2

Ostensibly, I went over there to help Anthea with her last games’ endgame at her request, but it got me to play whereas I otherwise wouldn’t have. So I got a bye for round 1.

I don’t know why I played this pawn sac in the opening, as it was really a blunder, quick move. At first I planned on playing 9..c6, so that after 10.dxc Bxc I would have nice play with the bishops, for the pawn.

But then I went for 9..Bg4 instead, which isn’t good, but he replied 10.Qe3, which was my luckiest moment in the match, as now I got a real initiative. 10.Qg3 with the idea of Qh4, and Ne4, and Bg5 even, could have really salted away his extra pawn. All I knew at the time was that 10.Qg3 definitely seemed best.

On the following move, after 10..Nxd5, I expected 11.Qd5 Be6 with an interesting game ahead, but now he finally moves Qg3. After the game, I told him that he wasted a tempo with his queen instead of playing Qg3 the first time.

I played 11..f5 and what is it with seeing drawbacks as soon as one is moving a piece? As I am moving the pawn, I see that he will play 12.Ne4, but then I became oddly happy that he took up the gauntlet, playing it while his king was still undeveloped.

I considered 12..Be7, but then 13.Qxe5 0-0, 14.Qe6+ looked too slow for Black, and I didn’t feel that his queen was getting trapped, so I castled instead.

Now he started spending a lot of time, not liking his position evidently, and neither did I. He played 14.Bg5 to gain some development, although nothing looked quite satisfactory for White. I thought that 15.Qh4 was a blunder, and it is.

Now here is where the game gets wild and I make some sub-par moves according to Fruit. Apparently 21…Qg5 instead of 21..Qc5 was winning quickly because of the discovered mate on d2, as well as the Nxg2+ threat. I choose to go after the f2 instead, during our mutual time-scramble. I was expecting him to sac a pawn to castle queenside earlier, but he said that that was just losing.

He plays 24.Rf1, and suddenly, having not even considered this move, I realized that my advantage is gone unless I do something quick. I spent around 2 minutes on the move which seals it, with 24..Nxg3, and luckily his back-rank mate threats were defended against perfectly. True to form, he had seconds left on his clock at the end, whereas I had 2 1/2 minutes. He didn’t see 24..Nxg3 coming at all, but it’s sort of hard to look to defend against that sort of move in time-trouble in any case. I had been expecting 24.f4, in which case ..Ng3 is still the reply; so, the move wasn’t far from my eye.

After last night, I guess I remembered not to play too crazy. This game is a good example of why to study combinations. I think I saw that whole continuation in around 2 minutes, and most of that time was spent regretting how Rxf8 no longer works. Once I spotted the Qe3 idea, it only took me around a minute to see that it works out before I played it. So, the important thing wasn’t just that I saw the combo, but played it quickly too, and that added to the surprise effect when he saw it and thought it was probably simply a blunder.

I haven’t studied any combinations for the last two days, no internet chess warm-up (I haven’t for quite a while), only my game analysis with Fruit, and analyzing RollingPawns’ game without a computer. It didn’t feel very taxing to play that combo either. The combo study paid off. I’ve known that a lot of Class A players can do this, though, which is why I’ve had to learn how to as well.

As I would explain this game to TommyG, I caught him attacking into my attack. If he had played Qg3 the first time, it would have been his attack, but because he sort of lolligagged with his queen for that extra tempo, it suddenly became my attack.

This is how you beat 1800’s, just as with the game against Isaac last night, development was not smoothly balanced between the pieces. I had all of my pieces but the Ra8 developed, and he was caught struggling to develop.


4 thoughts on “Enjoyable little game

  1. I didn’t like his play in the opening, and then he really got behind in development, as you already noticed.
    That was a nice combination, I am not sure I would see it, especially with a little time remaining. Yeah the key is to see Qe3+.
    By the way 27. Kd2 Rf2 28. Rxf2 Rxf2 29. Rg1 Qg5+ 30. Kd3 Rxe2 31. Kxe2 was better than mate, but still losing.

  2. Yes, after the game he wanted to find a way out of that combo, and insisted that 27.Kd2 was better. Of course, I couldn’t see how it could saved his position, but like you say it avoids mate.

    It’s easier to find that combo than it is to play on in a position where neither of use have enough time, although I was ahead on time. But after last night’s sac for a measly pawn, it was really easy to find the combo/part with the knight tonight. 😉

    “Micro-drills” going over queen+rook and pawn endings from your actual game are far superior to MDLM’s example of Micro-drills, I feel (admittedly I didn’t try his, but his seemed geared more for below Class A). Talk about practicing one’s free-throws, I can’t believe how much I had to learn about queen-endings, even if I always had known that this was my weakness. It’s actually late middlegame/endgame tactics which offer a plethora of chess improvement, and it probably directly relates to one’s chess-rating as well. Another nice thing about these micro-drills is not just advanced technique, but looking for mates instead of stooping to pick up a huge material advantage.

  3. I’ll show you something in a game that a grandmaster understands, but a class player almost surely wouldn’t, and actually I think this is the sort of secret strength that RollingPawns has, this sort of strategic/maneuvering ability that I will show here:

    Okay, in the game, White should have played 10.Qg3, and now Black plays 0-0 (in case of h3, bishop moves, Qxg2). 11.Ne4 Bd7 (White was threatening to remove it’s defender with NxN+), now an easy mistake for White to make, but which looked appealing to me, is 12.c4, permanently protecting the d-pawn, but then Black grabs the initiative with 12..NxN, 13.dxNe4 f5 and Black’s initiative compensates for the pawn. It would be a mistake for White to now play 14.f3 because after ..f4 Black can aim to get in both ..Bc5 and then ..Qh4+, actually gaining the advantage, and White’s queen isn’t exactly actively placed, if not a target herself. 14.Bd2 fxe is best, according to Fruit, since after 14..f3, 15.Qf3, White still has that pawn advantage.

    So instead of 12.c4, 12.Be2 or 12.Bg5 would be better. Most will play 12.Bg5 of those two moves, so 12.Bg5 Nxe4, 13.fxe (forced) f6, 14. Bd2 f5 now if White “gets smart” with Black and tries 15.Bg5, then f4, 16.Qh4 Qe8, 17.Be2 Bc8! (letting out the queen) 18. either 0-0 h6 (trapping White’s dark-bishop and forcing it to trade for 3 pawns), or 18.Bh5 Qa4, 19.0-0 Qxe4 and material balance is restored, Black is now back in the game.

    But of course he saw all of this. hehe. kidding. Rhett’s “problem” is that he repeats this same opening every time, so that another player could prepare a shot like this, even if it’s a little strange to. Our last encounter followed the first one for essentially the first 10 moves, if I hadn’t sacked the pawn, which incidentally gave him more chances to go wrong I guess, since he was on his own earlier in the game.

    Even in this line, White can gain a +- advantage, so I wouldn’t recommend my pawn sac, but if you knew this line ahead of time as Black, White probably doesn’t find all the nifty sacs and best play OTB (White sacs a rook for 3 passed pawns). Black has a better understanding of the ideas in the position now.

    Another trap for White is 12.Bg5 Be7, 13.Qxe5? Re8, when White is usually giving all of that advantage back. White should trade minors on f6 to retain the extra doubled-pawn in a same-color bishop ending.

  4. I just realized something about getting tired and having poor results whether online or OTB. When I get tired, I start to over-focus on one small area of the board. Of course, I calculate that area accurately, but what I completely miss are the long moves. I just played on FICS, won the first but then started to lose a bunch, and at first they were games I should have won, but they all had one thing in common, I was missing “long-moves”, rook, bishop, or queen going from the a-file to h-file for example, get completely missed. The knights are actually the easiest pieces to keep track of! Because they are the only piece that doesn’t generally do a long-move until the very end of the game. Like I missed Qa4+ picking up a bishop on b5. But what’s funny is that I had seen that before, but as I got tired I started to rely more on my eyes as in “I don’t _see_ it, therefore I’ll play it”. So, I stop seeing those long-moves, have to stop relying on the eyes so much, and think about how everything is defended. The eyes help on attack but not defense.

    It’s like any capture where a piece moves five or more squares, it’s as if I missed every one of those moves after a while.

    So I go back to my tactics book and am getting all of them right, although diversion is one of the easiest sections for me. But, the diagrams are small and the first thing I make sure of is that I see the whole board and focus on that before even examining the problem.

    I play well on park benches because the seat isn’t jammed up against the table and I get a good view of the board. Some places one has to be careful, such as when I play at Panera and some tables aren’t much bigger than the board and if you scoot your chair in too close, you no longer get a nice perspective of the board, face is smashed too close into the pieces. This is important and irrespective of skill. Probably I should make the board tiny whenever I play online.

    Yep, that totally works. Was just looking at one diagram, and it seemed hard for a few moments, then put the diagram even further away from my face and the answer became completely obvious as I was putting it further away. Once again, it was 6 square long capture.

    Diversion is like shooting fish in a barrel. I am on problem #685.

    Easy correction, wake up fresh next day, miss no long-moves, win 3 games and back to 1800. I don’t miss long-moves in the morning, anyway.

    Here is the last game that I played, against a Latvian Gambit:

    I should have played Kb1 a move sooner, but moving that f-pawn as Black doesn’t seem like a good idea.

    I think 3..fxe is more challenging than ..Nc6 and there are lines where White perhaps continues 4.Nxe d5 then either Bb5+ or Ne5 with Qh5+ coming. But why not simply 4.Nf3 I wonder if Black develops comfortably when White doesn’t sac, maybe Black does, dunno. I think that 3.exf is the most common reply, but Black should know how to develop all the way up to ..Kh8, and might even throw in an ..h6, but that looks risky. I’ve seen it before back when I was around 1300’s.

    After 10..Rg8, I was planning on playing the ..Nh5 line that equalizes, but 9.Be2!!. Sheesh, just play that and Black is busted already.

    I once played a lot of games as White against the 3..fxe line. The Qh5 line for White, I think it’s at least a draw for Black. The Bb5 line is probably better, but a quiet way is probably easiest at G/90, if you haven’t played or researched it before. 3.exf is simplest, of course.

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