Monument Open III

Well, some things haven’t changed.

Round 1
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.

Round 2
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.

Round 3
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

Round 4
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.

Round 5
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.

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7 thoughts on “Monument Open III

  1. Game 1 – your experience in the endgame was the factor. I think it’s a chutzpah to offer a draw being ~500 lower rated, also having an isolated pawn and a knight vs. bishop.

    Game 2 – you couldn’t resist! 🙂 Yeah, you want to sac on g6. I had a similar thing in blitz recently, but it was mate in 4, I saw it.

    Game 3 – yeah, it’s a bad combination – 3rd round + master + unknown sharp variation, so no wonder …
    I wouldn’t play Qe7, though it’s not losing according to the engine.
    His initiative is definitely worth a pawn, and it’s tough to play without knowing the book lines.

    I hope you did good in the rest of the games.

  2. RollingPawns, my Round 1 opponent finished with 3/5 and also got $35. Isn’t that pathetic? I tied with him at 3/5. haha. That kid couldn’t be 3 ft. tall and looks like he is 5, and spends 15 minutes on his game. It’s so horrible, and a lot of these kids do win against 1800’s, quite sad and sorta funny.

    I can’t believe I let a 1900 player beat me a pawn down strategically like that. The third and fifth rounds, last round of day, I was at my most tired in these games, exhausted is more like it. I lost the exchange out of sheer laziness, and he could have done much better according to Fruit. I even considered his Qh4 possibility, yet didn’t bother to calculate it. It just seemed like too much for one day after yesterday’s 3 rounder. Too much chess in too little time. We finally got a 1 hour break between rounds 4 and 5, much needed.

    Anthea got exhausted too, hallucinated and got sort of dizzy, lost making some tactic against a low-rated kid. The thing about classical time controls, I mean I don’t care 2 hours is enough time for me, but it shortens the break in between rounds! And we are playing at an altitude there of around 6800 ft. elevation or so. It’s beautiful, but the air is a little thinner when it comes to over-exertion. I wasn’t even thinking about prize-money, wish I had been, was just thinking about how hard I found it to (want to) play solid when fatigued.

    There are always those “What if’s?” For me, when I didn’t calculate out his kingside attack in round 5, I would have taken a water break, walked around, but the two guys next to me had their chairs almost touching and were locked in concentration, so I decided to sit there and move with my opponent. That is one reason I played ..c6-c5 instead of something like ..Kh8 or ..Re8. I needed to spend the time calculating his attack and it’s quite odd that I did not. It was 69 moves, but 18..c5?? was effectively the last move of the game against a 1900 player. That was the “information overload” point of the game where one has to take a break and regroup because it doesn’t matter if I have 50 minutes or 5 minutes on my clock, if I don’t find that attack.

  3. I will go in reverse order.

    Game 5 – the thing is White is ready to sacrifice a pawn playing d4. I played it because I didn’t want him to play e5. So you should critically evaluate the position. White’s 2 bishops and the threat of opening “f’ line or playing f5 compensate for the pawn, I think. In my 8. fxe5 line, which is drawish by the way, I just decided to give back the pawn and got an equal position.
    In your case, which is more complicated, I think, he played 8. c3 instead.
    8… Nc6, though it’s a first choice, has very bad stats, 91% for White. You had to play 8… Ne6, which is good for Black.
    Yes, you had to defend, Fritz recommends instead of Na7 (which I don’t like) playing Nb8, Bc6, then Nd7. Another plan is to play later d5 and then put rook on d6 with the same purpose – to defend the knight on f6. His idea of that knight’s long maneuver to use that pin on f6 was good, strange that I don’t think I remember seeing anything like that before.

    Game 4 – I can’t imagine the quality of my play if I would come 45 minutes late. After I missed Bxf7 a couple of times, I called myself something that I can’t reproduce here in all the languages I know and it helped me to see it next time. You can try the same. 🙂

  4. I just added this part —-
    Without ..h6 and ..g5, this position becomes impossible to defend. It was the one thing I didn’t want to contemplate OTB, yet it is probably the only way out of it which White can’t prevent, as the game progressed. The game was effectively over as soon as he had played Ng4. He’s a good attacking player and I think either of us could have won it as White (and I believe he would have), it’s just that I had the added duties of playing Black and looking for some activity, and wasn’t thinking enough about what White could do. I should have been spending more time thinking about what White could do rather than what Black could do. —

    RollingPawns, thanks! 🙂

    My instincts were to play ..Nb8 and that was my longest think of the game, whether to play a ..Nb8 plan or this ..a6,b5,Na7 plan.

    I did critically evaluate not playing Bxd4, but I can’t let him push because after the e-file is open for Qe2+, but I suppose that would still be okay after queen trade on e7, not sure why I thought that is a big deal. I looked more at …Nxe, Nxe Ne6, and then kicking his knight with ..d6 and getting a queenside attack before his f4-f5 hitting my Ne6 and e6 square. In the end, getting a pawn seemed better, but I did not want passive defense. I guess with ..Ne6, even after f5, perhaps the knight has a better square to go to.

    I was looking at plans like Nc8-b6, but he can prevent that with a5. I succumbed to the psychological of attacking to distract rather than defending. I saw his Ne3 coming from before he began moving it, but forgot about Ng4 until right before he played Ne3, and then I was upset by that and didn’t want to calculate a new defense to it. The 45 minutes of extra sleep was probably more valuable than the clock time against 1400 as White. 😉

  5. RollingPawns, yes, a mistake in the score. That is right where I messed up keeping score, and I can’t figure it out because somehow Black loses a move right there for it to look right to me. Ah, I must have played Rb6, attacking his bishop (even though it’s defended), then he played Bf5, that’s it yes. I didn’t write those 2 ply down.

    with the Nbd7, Bc6 plan, I was worried that he could jam my bishop with b5, and if I play ..b6 then it drops a6 due to the presumed battery of Qe2 and Bc4. What I didn’t realize is 1) The a6 pawn is the one to return back to gain equality, and 2) He is never getting in b5, or it would take an extraordinary long time to prepare it because Black has tactical refutations based on taking on e4 and pushing d5 with Qc5+. I really needed to calculate some mean defense to hold onto that position. Calculate defense (as Black against 1900), not offense is key.

    When I missed against f7 a couple of times, I was able to mentally persevere more knowing that I was playing a 1400 as White, and that I could still complicate the position tactically, which, sad to say I was probably right to think that. hehe.

    Memorable quotes. I told my round 5 opponent that my play on the queenside was to distract him from the kingside and he replied “It was worth a shot.”
    My round 3 opponent, Master Brian Wall, told me that he had never played someone who thought so hard as me during a game. That’s funny, I usually think my opponents think harder. My fifth round opponent, I know that guy always thinks hard, but it’s easy to think hard to figure out a win when you know you have one. It’s tougher to want to think hard just to defend or equalize, when you think it may only be for a draw and no financial or ratings reward.

    The simple thing that killed me in Round 5 was not getting in h6 and g5. My a6 and Na7 would have been fine if I had played those kingside defensive moves before it was too late. 16..Bd7 was really the losing move. I thought it was bad, but couldn’t come up with anything good. Again, that was the last chance to play ..h6 and ..g5.

    I think that class players tend to lose more often because of simple positional miscues, even though in the end it was appears as if it’s some losing tactic or combination, and it’s easy to think that and for MDLM to write about. The tactic is mainly a result of the positional miscue, IMO.

    8..Ne6 is definitely better than 8..Nc6. Thanks for the insight! ..Ne6 immediately “puts the question to the f4 pawn before giving White the chance to play b4, and after f5 Nc5 the knights are attacking e4 twice, making White’s development awkward and giving Black a small edge. Black gets in ..a5 before White can get in b4, that is the key idea here.

  6. I played yesterday, lost, published the game.
    It was exactly tactic as a result of the positional miscue.

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