Jumping on me early

Round 2

There was nothing unusual about this game from my perspective. Spent a lot of time in the opening, mostly to look-off bad moves, yet still never quite playing anything resembling a world-beating opening, just normal stuff.

Well, my opponent beat me last time we played. I had a winning position, and then played some losing moves quickly. That was the game which began my downward spiral of losing to 1400 level players. Sure enough, he must have gained some courage from that result as he was trying to “punk me” early, I guess.

It took me no more than a minute to calculate that 13.Ne5 is dropping a pawn, and then I spent one more minute looking at f2 sacs. So 13..NxBc3 was one of my fastest moves in the game, which is somewhat regrettable because I didn’t see his Bxh2+ sac, and yet it didn’t feel right at all that he could attack me so early this way. I was rather confident that I had a winning advantage when I played 13…NxBc3, and it simply seemed just that I would win a pawn out of it.

For his rating, he was going for too much against me. After that, it was a matter of technique. I could have played the finish more boldly, but for me the most important point was that I had 11 minutes at the end of the game compared to his 4 minutes. IOW, I could afford to slack off and make quick moves, being up a piece, compared to his position where he had to try to make something of it (the sac).

Maybe this will signal the end of my and RollingPawns’ unlucky streaks. 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Jumping on me early

  1. I envy you playing Nimzowitsch, I have to resume my attempts to play not only Benko when I get 1. d4.
    In the game you kept your cool under fire, that’s very important. I am also not sure I would see Bxh7, though I would see the perpetual coming if Kxh7.
    The rest was indeed technique, he doesn’t have any compensation for his material disadvantage. Yeah, I would hope about these streaks, at least in the last game I felt better than before.

  2. RollingPawns, thanks for your comments as always. 🙂

    Yes, unbelievably, I spent 9 minutes on ..14…Kf8 after 14.Bxh7+. It’s important to remember that these little losing shots still eat up clock-time, mainly because of the psychological effect. His “win” was probably getting a perpetual against me as White, as awful as that sounds. Much like last game in that club where I lost trying to avoid the perpetual, which is “good enough” for them. I also didn’t bother to see until after I played ..NxBc3 that he also had 14.Qh5, although I would have responded with 14..g6, which is still winning and winning a piece.

    I just now looked at 14..NxNe5 out of curiosity and after 15.Qxh7 it is a draw, or win for White if Black tries to play on, so there was some danger if misplayed.

    I went over the game with Alex and he said that his Bd2 in the opening is not even a move (main-line). So, equalizing was not so hard. I wanted to play ..c5, but that would have freed his Bc3, made his Nd4 unassailable, and left me with a bad Bb7 bishop. I spend time to avoid doing something crazy like that. I guess it works in some way because he was moving more quickly and was the first person in the life-raft to start drinking the saltwater and trying to swim for shore from the middle of the ocean.

    Alex said that instead of Bd2,
    Nc3 is the Kasparov variation,
    e3 is the Rubinstein,
    Bg5 is the Leningrad,
    (and of course f3 is the Saemish, I added, but perhaps that is not the right moment/way to play it).

    Alex likes getting in an early ..c5 for Black, but I rather dislike that that allows White to play d5 in response, which is more benoni-ish, but may be your cup of tea, having played the Benko so much. In any case, we shouldn’t be worrying about the opening so much against 1400 and simply play/try what we like to try out.

    16.Qh5 was stronger than bxNc3, but White is still winning. This move would have been above both of our levels. Like I told him after the game, he went for a combo above my level, when he should have played a simple move like Rc1. When he went for the combo I was thinking to myself “There is no Class C level combo here, you play it like an Expert or fail, assuming it was a good combo in the first place.”

    I sort of won on all three criteria:
    1. Combos
    2. Endgame
    3. # of moves/the clock.

    He could have improved his play on all three counts.

    I really haven’t played the nimzo online, I am doing it all OTB. You can do it, too, RollingPawns. 😉

  3. This game was also important from another perspective. In the past, every time Kathy (an older lady, Class D player) comes over to my board when I am in time pressure, I always drop a piece trying to impress her for some reason with a bad sac. This time she looked my way late in the game, and I changed my expression to one of “I’m maybe even losing” even though I was winning, because I wanted to break that jinx. I didn’t get any more excited with others watching.

    I did not control my emotions too well, as usual, and really wasn’t calculating very well partly because of that. That may not appear to be the case looking at this game for the reason that combinations are different. Combos are forcing, and rely on both pattern-recognition and intuition. It’s not the same thing as calculating in a kinda-sorta-maybe-maybe-not forcing position.

    I still think that studying combos are the #1 key right now until 1900 or until proficiency is reached. It helps to calculate the forcing stuff quickly/confidently at G/90, because it’s really all the other stuff that is mainly a drag about speeding up at G/90, not the combos. hehe. But I suppose quite a few class D players would probably think that it’s the other way around.

    I’ve studied 984 combos from the CC book and am still learning patterns, improving. If someone were to study a couple thousand tactics before their first tournament, then enter an Open section in a tournament, they could easily start out at 1800+ if they strictly play in Class A sections and above. All they need to do is clean up against the tactical mistakes of tired and defeated Class A players, and they will be 1800, even if their endgame is relatively poor.

  4. I’ll reply to your last comments, it’s late now, I just came from the club.
    You guessed right, my losing streak ended, I beat 1755 guy. All the game I thought he is 1600+ and also mixed him up with another guy, to whom I painfully lost last season, so wanted revenge. It looks like both these things helped. :). It was very “Marshall-like” attack and the same origin typical piece sacrifice in the end. Eventually my Marshall studies brought me something. 🙂

  5. Ha! My lack of studies against the English, or lack of wanting to follow what I studied just as accurately, made me play into a really passive/dumb position with a bad dark bishop tonight.

    I figured you’d shake yourself out of it. Good for you, friend, I’m happy to hear that! 🙂

  6. I played Gruenfeld against Alex in skittles. He knew the ..NxNc3 line well and won with an extra pawn in the endgame. I had the feeling that the opening decides the outcome of the game too much in that opening.

    I surely liked the look of it from seeing your games, though.

  7. Grunfeld Exchange is interesting. By the way, if I can’t force myself to play Nimzo against 1. d4, Grunfeld could be good.
    The guy that drew with extra-bishop (bad color corner) played it with Black and it looked like he knew what to do. He got 2 strong bishops for the price of doubling “a” pawn and ended up winning opponent’s pawn, so eventually he won a piece for the his passed “a” pawn. I noticed, that endgame is good for Black there, because you have “a” and “b” pawns vs. “a” pawn.

  8. It’s good that you know the Gruenfeld. I think book knowledge is very important in that opening.

    “I noticed, that endgame is good for Black there,”

    That’s my impression of the Gruenfeld Exchange, too, knowing how to play that endgame. You do well with it, given your experience.

    Nimzo-Indian can be played by feel more, you have to watch out for the e5 onslaught. Like f4, e5, f5, f6 (or e6), there is a bit of that sort of thing to keep in mind, since White will never miss it, if allowed.

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