Mr. Blue Sky

Round 3

My opponent’s past relationship woes we spoke about after the game reminded me of this song from E.L.O. Chin up, as they say.

The game, yes, well first I’d like to say what I kept to myself. It was really annoying for me during the game how at this site everyone walks by close and looks at the game, even someone who wasn’t playing. This is really okay, but the venue has the tables scrunched together and I found this to be really distracting. For example, I had seen that 20.Nxg6 would be a blunder, before he played it, say that I could get my knight out with Nf3+, but once he played it lots of people started walking by to see the combo and it was driving me nuts inside. So I didn’t see it once he played it and I thought to myself “Okay, just to stop everyone from looking at my board, I will take his knight, because I know it is a good move.” Simply didn’t see the Nf3+ working at that point, but thought I had seen it before.

I love the venue where we play at on Wednesday’s, but on Thursdays I put up with playing here because that’s what I have to do to play against higher-rated players. It’s simply tougher to focus when people stand next to my board because the aisle between tables isn’t even 2 ft. wide, and sometimes we even play in the middle of the restaurant. It’s very bright in there and makes distractions more prominent. I’m really lucky that the game ended up as well as it did, because I am not calculating all that well lately, and particularly not there.

In any case, my opening preparation sucked, as usual, but I got lucky when he played NxBe7, trading one of his best pieces for my worst piece on the board. I was planning to play ..Bf6, not noticing he can play g5, hitting it, until right after I had played ..Nd7. Not sure how the game would have gone for me had he not made that trade, probably pretty badly I suppose.

My opponent was a gentleman, and I like playing him. I have to say that he was working and away from chess for 6 months, so he is rusty and the win was not unexpected. But with rating points, you take them any way you can get them of course.

Dan, my opponent, saw a ghost when he played 19.Qe1. He was afraid after 19.Qe3, that I would play 19…h6 and his bishop “has nowhere to go”. This isn’t true though. After 20.NxB, he was 21.Bh5.

Next Thursday I play Anthea, if nothing changes. She just came back and won her two games this week looking/playing very serious in the first time I can remember. She beat Alex with 44 minutes left on her clock to his 4, and he usually has an hour left. Alex beat me with the King’s Gambit in blitz, but I don’t even remember the last part of the game because I was talking to Dan about his girl-trouble woes while playing (I wasn’t even hitting my clock). I’ll probably play Alex on Wednesday is my guess (as White), as we both have 1 out of 2, but I’m not as sure of that matchup.


15 thoughts on “Mr. Blue Sky

  1. Congratulations on the win, it looks you back on track.
    Despite of what I thought, f5 is OK in this line, you have to play 5… Bc5. Though you should be wary of 7. Nxe5 if 6. O-O O-O.
    I don’t quite understand, why didn’t you take his queen on e1 after Nxg6, is the score right? He has only 2 pieces for the queen and after Nxe7+, h6 and g5 he loses one more.

  2. RollingPawns, thanks for bring that sac up, it got me to look at it again. He played 20.NxBg6 intending, I figure he was, 20…NxQ, 21.NxR RxN, 22.RxN and I have a queen for bishop and rook, but didn’t realize how winning that that line is. For instance, both sides have lots of pawns, which is practically decisive with the queen still on the board. Plus, Black can sac and exchange to get in on White’s king position and eat up all the pawns with check there.

    Ne7+ is a computer move, based on the fact that his NxBg6 was a blunder, no one would intentionally play into that line.

    What I missed was 20.NxBg6 NxQ, 21.NxR Nef3+ saving the knight with the tempo so that I have my queen for a rook. I had seen this line before he even played Nxg6, but I had also noted before he played it that his Nf5 is what I am worried about, and that it would be a joy to see him trade his strong Nh5 (which I told him after the game that it was) for my bishop.

    Once he did play Nxg6, I got more nervous of course and said to myself “I thought there was a Nf3+ somewhere!?” and I was trying to see it but couldn’t for some reason, and was distracted (I was very angry even, which never really happens, but I kept it completely inside) at the people walking by. Imagine being somewhere bright like the examination room at a doctor’s office and someone walks by standing 6 inches next to you, then starts rocking back and forth analyzing your position. About three people walked by and did this after his move and it drove me nuts a bit. After the game he said that he lost because he was unfocused. He looked very focused to me but even he had to stare at one guy who was simply standing next to the board for a couple of minutes. I don’t even know who that guy was, might be a chessplayer but he’s not in the tournament. Frankly, I was hoping that I wouldn’t snap since the start of the game, and was trying to get used to it as a “tournament condition” and said nothing about it afterward. Nobody really likes playing at that location, so there isn’t anything to talk about really.

    Anyway, the key to handling this is not to let yourself feel that you or your position (or your clock) are being judged by others while playing. Nothing is as simple as it appears to a passer-by. Even up the exchange, there were plenty of tactics which I could have lost to, it’s just that my opponent didn’t find those traps to spring, or other forcing lines or ideas. We played a post-mortem where he does play Nf5 and wins with 3 connected pawns against my knight.

    Actually, during the game, I wasn’t so sure about ..Bg6, spent a long time looking at ..a5, which Fruit likes better (looked at it and I don’t see much), I also looked at ..Nb4, a3 Nd3, Rc3, but that didn’t appear to do much either and is a much more complex line than I had realized or would have wanted to calculate OTB. I basically had to choose which line I liked best, but it was not so clear-cut. Really, ..Bg6 appeared to be the simplest line.

    Thanks for the opening analysis! and the congrats! 🙂

  3. This was one of my best games as Black, and is a nice little system, even with ..Be7. I have to get more used to playing these refined closed, strategic, defensive looking systems.

    In the game, I was fine after he played e4 early in the opening, so I was looking at e3,d4 systems. But playing d3 followed by Qb3 is the normal way that White plays (with Be3 in front of the e2 pawn), with a small advantage, but is very positional.

  4. Nf3+ decides here, right.
    Experience in closed, strategic, defensive looking systems comes handy when you play with the higher rated.

  5. Right, It’s a system with plenty of subtleties, …Be7, and …Nf6-d7.

    994 Combinations completed; this seems to be the best training so far. I am still a bit weak at it.

    I looked at Polly’s latest post. She resigned in a (very) winning position against a 1900 level player. This would seem to be a good reason to play on until there is mate on the board, not simply in one’s mind (they both thought it was mate).

    I would like to study the C3 Sicilian and play an intelligent game with it, but right now I am probably just as good with the Open Sicilian (probably better). I don’t have the mental energy to study openings right now, with games/analysis/combos competing for my attention, and those are far more needed currently.

    1,000 combinations completed. This has been very helpful. I like to do them in the morning before more mindless work/tasks, and late in the evening before going to bed. It’s been great for erasing tactical weak-spots in my game/my thinking.

    One tip is that if the queen is worth two rooks, or more than a rook and a knight, then you should treat her and your opponent’s queen, as with the same amount of time/consideration which you would spend for a couple of other pieces. It can’t really be treated as a single piece. Dropping a queen is like dropping two rooks, and it has such firepower when used against the king and other pieces.

  6. That was interesting to see Kasparov play “your line”. I think Kasparov is head and shoulders above anyone playing at the World Cup, for instance. The only people that should play Kasparov are probably Kramnik or Anand, and Carlsen is out since he knows too much of Kasparov’s openings. hehe. I think Kasparov was the best, so I suppose the only reason for him to get back into chess would be for the money. For fun, he could try to beat Fritz at home or something. ;-p

    One of these days, I’ll finish that book “Test of Time”. He already has a best games book that he just published (Vol. I), so you probably don’t even need “Test of Time” anymore.

    People were so wowed by Fischer because he “blew away” his opponents with 6-0 or 6-2 match scores. The thing to keep in mind is how many draws that Kasparov gives out when he is winning, because he only cares about winning the match. He gave Karpov lots of draws when Karpov was lost, just to clinch the match or when he had such a big lead that he only needed to draw the last few games. He was not egomaniacal like Fischer, and people seem to love that quality from a champion, even though it pushes people away.

    I had Fischer’s game’s once, and gave that book away. It seemed that 80% of Fischer’s games were against no-name American players, possibly a lot of Experts and Masters. Spassky playing Petrosian was like another day at the office for those two, but for Fischer it was a rare event. His advantage was probably that he didn’t play them much, and that was probably also his disadvantage.

    His opening repertoire probably would have become more solid and well worked out, if he had to play them regularly. You can see why he would have favored novelty and surprise against them. It’s not as if he could simply play main-line Caro-kahn and try something different on move 25 next time they played. He didn’t get casual opportunities like that. Really didn’t play enough to get to that point, IMHO.

    Robert James Fischer
    Number of games in database: 984
    Years covered: 1953 to 1992

    Efim Geller
    Number of games in database: 2,268
    Years covered: 1946 to 1995

    Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
    Number of games in database: 1,946
    Years covered: 1942 to 1984

    Boris Spassky
    Number of games in database: 2,285
    Years covered: 1948 to 2009

  7. Yeah, he was rated number one for twenty years, it says something.
    I like his current efforts for promoting chess in schools, it looks like his prestige is very high and helps to advance it. I think it is much better point of applying his efforts than politics.
    He has enough money and probably can’t be at that highness as he was before, that’s why he doesn’t play. If he would return hypothetically, it would bring an enormous attention to chess again, but it won’t happen.
    His is still big, even his coaching of Carlsen brought the results right away.

  8. I think that chess sucks up too much time, although possibly not for him, but I imagine there is a way to prepare and look at opponent’s games and such, which requires some quality effort.

    He wanted to focus on politics so that people would have a choice who to vote for instead of “vote for Putin, Medyev or don’t vote” sort of thing, or at least that is what I gather.

    I always wished that chess could be used instead of Math. I had to take Math every semester that I was in public education, and I almost never use any of it besides basic math. You need a Master’s in Engineering to get a job that uses advanced math, usually, or at least around here for the govt. jobs.

    I think he could play in top tournaments, if he wanted to, and shape the chess world. Right now, tournaments disappear, I think Linares is gone, for example. Without the prestige you don’t gain the sponsors. Tennis has always been a prestige sport, so it has sponsors like Rolex and Mercedes. Without prestige, it looks more like chess-bum status, like John Madden NFL video game championship status. Okay, not that low perhaps, but that gets more TV time in the USA than chess, for example.

  9. He wrote books too after leaving chess.
    The idea of choice is noble, but being a greatest chess player doesn’t mean you can do anything else at the same level.
    He doesn’t have the features necessary for the politician, he is too good and naive and this is a lost battle.
    Russia actually doesn’t need democracy, it’s too big and chaotic for that, they always needed and wanted a “good tsar”, believe me. They found it in Putin, that’s why nobody supports Kasparov. Even his physical living in Russia is an act of patriotism, I think, but nobody appreciates that.

    The number of Fisher’s games vs. others is interesting, I think Tal played even more than them.

  10. The USA seems to wish it had a “good tzar” as well, as they think the President can control domestic politics, not simply foreign affairs. The power of the president here is a tease. There are things like “line item veto” that get debated, yet the lobbyists control congress, congress controls the president. The only people controlling this country are the ones robbing the piggy-bank. The USA has to be the dumbest, prosperous (compared to third world) country in the history of the world. Everyone seems to know this on some level, and it’s virtually documented for decades, so it’s not news, but the “Hollywood” version of our country that people buy into is that the office of the president matters. I don’t even know if there is a line-item veto, but everyone knows it would not get used much because can’t upset congress, and congress can’t upset special interests, and most likely neither can the president.

    Here is an interesting game where Grishuk should have had a +- position, and should probably win the World Cup with this game, yet loses it with a blunder 25.h3? This is the sort of blunder if you or I made it, we would be getting on each other’s case and take a break from chess. hehe. They obviously play too many games at the World Cup. In a “normal” game, I doubt Grishuk makes this blunder, but this is too much OTB chess back to back, IMHO.

    I wonder if Grishuk came up with the TN, OTB. He plays brilliantly until the blunder, so I’m thinking he was mentally fried (exhausted) by that point.

    I think I see what Grishuk didn’t see now. He must have been afraid of the …Bxe5 threat as pointed in the note to move 24.

    This is what I think that he missed:
    25.b3 Nc3, 26.Rd3 Bxe5, 27.BxBe5 NxBe5 (else Qd4, anyway), 28.Qd4 and Black has three pieces hanging which can’t defend one another, and even mate against Black is almost hanging..But then 28..Ne2+ forks the queen. Gimme a minute…

    Yeah, 25.b3 Nc3, 26.Re1 and now ..Bxe is not possible because of 27.BxB Re7 and the bishop can move (28.BxNc3 QxB and White has time for h3 luft), and if 27..NxB, 28.RxN and Black can’t add pressure in time. The thing isn’t variations but that that Nc3 is misplaced. Nc3 isn’t protecting the dark squares any longer. +-

  11. I played something like 25. h3 yesterday in a simul with Nigel Short, though the position was already bad and I was distracted before. It was very interesting anyway, will try to post today.

  12. That sounds very interesting! 🙂

    I’m not sure if I would want to play or look over his shoulder and watch how he dispatches his opponents (..err, wins his games).

    World Cup prize fund of US $1.6 million. Winner took $96,000, so a lot of the top players must have gotten something for their troubles(!?)

    I’m always amazed how long these players take while playing open or semi-open positions with no bad pieces. A closed position, okay, I could understand then, or that first round Open Sicilian. I shouldn’t talk, since they are playing G/90, but I tend to think they play the most freeing variations, which should be well-known.

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