Tri-Lakes Open

Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5

I am playing in a 5 round tournament, G/90 + 30 second increment.

I arrived 25 minutes late, considering it an accomplishment just making it there as I was out of it last night and this morning. When Buck runs a tournament, that is about when it starts, but I found out that it starts on time with Fred (I can’t remember a tournament here ever starting on time before).

So in Round 1, I had 25 minutes less, and botched it in time pressure. First, I gave up the exchange because I really didn’t have enough time to calculate a ..Ne4 sac, didn’t see it, that would avoid the mate of 3 captures on g6. I figured this might not be an actual threat, but that takes lots of time and nervous energy to find that defense. I was going to play ..h6 instead of ..g6 at first, and then noticed the triple-attack on g6.

Later in the game, it was close, but I quickly played Bd6, seeing that I could get it to g7 in 3 moves, then realizing how stupid that was, should have played Bg7. She was much stronger than I realized, never played her before. In any case, I overlooked the 21..Bh6+ which is -+, picks up the Nf3 after Qg2+, which is why she so adroitly played the correct Rg1, upon my flawed 21..Bxe5 capture (only trades a pawn, instead of wins a piece).

Round 2, got lucky enough that Black decided not to castle, returning the exchange, which would have been around +1 for Black. After the game, I told him that he should have castled, played ..Nd7, etc. The winning move for White would have been Nd4 rather than the b4(?!) move which I played.

Round 3, I got the brother of the girl in Round 1. This kid played the opening fast, then suddenly he spends around 8 minutes on Qxh7 (which was obvious to me and expected when I captured on d4). I didn’t play h3 before that combo because Black could sidestep it with Qd3, I figured.

Then Justin spent over half an hour on the Be3 move, and I had already lost my chess composure, and it was like starting the game all over again as if I were cold. I had seen Ra1, before and after I played Rxa2, but after waiting so long to move, I was willing to play anything that wasn’t a blunder. Now I see what that does to a person when the other person takes so long on a move. It’s very hard to pick up where one left off. Anyway, I didn’t have the discipline, and I went over it with Fruit. There is a “Karpovian” way to win that seems almost unbelievable at first, by pawn-rolling the f and e pawns while White is in zugzwang. Anyway, I was not that capable of a chessplayer, particulary at G/90, which I am so accustomed to now. The positional stuff is pure hell at this time-control, and this all we really play at these days G/90ish time-controls. I include defensive positional play in that comment.

The girl in Round 1 was rated 1082 at the beginning of this year. This tournament is as I dreaded and knew was coming, attack of the killer kid, under-rated chessplayers.

Anyway, the London System is one of those few openings that I have no answer for in my repertoire. You can see that I faced it twice, against the brother and sister and tried something different each time. In round 1, I should have taken the Ne5, and that was my gut reaction. Also, I could have played a ..Nh5, but I didn’t realize who I was up against.

I feel like I am lucky to get a draw against any of these opponents; all three are quite capable. I don’t expect that it will get any easier in the final two rounds. Maybe I will face some higher-rated players tomorrow, that way regardless of result I have less to lose to some extent. But I would lose a lot of rating points almost no matter who I would play. This is why when the really high-rateds lose a game, they often pull out of a tournament, probably knowing that continuing on is a lose-lose proposition and therefore a waste of time.

I’ve learned quite a bit about this London System going over Round 1. The thing about this opening is that the person who knows more of it’s positional ideas will have the bigger practical edge.


5 thoughts on “Tri-Lakes Open

  1. Game 1 – the White’s scheme looks here more dangerous than in Game 3. Having 25 minutes upfront in this situation is a recipe for disaster.
    It was a real threat of capture on g6 and Ne4 is just losing, I think.

    Game 2 – I liked your exchange sacrifice. Staying in the center for that exchange doesn’t look like a wise decision. You attacked well and it was a clean win.

    Game 3 – it was better played opening than in the first game. You kept c4 threat and didn’t let his bishop on d3. Probably getting an advantage with Black requires more experience with this opening. It started to look drawish after queens exchange.

  2. RollingPawns, thanks!

    Yes, I feel that the 25 minutes late cost me the game, definitely, because I was analyzing all nervous because of my time when I started blundering left and right. I felt happy for Deanna (12 years old), my Round 1 opponent, because she won the upset prize for beating me, and gained 99 rating points from this tournament.

    This was the the theme, though, my terrible use of time. My biggest jump in results, I feel right now, would be from better time-management. When I get low on time, and get nervous (If I don’t get nervous, I am still usually alright), then I start seeing all of those phantom threats or possibilities, or simply stop playing defense, etc. Remember in your last game, RollingPawns, where you said you saw a bishop skewer for half a minute, then realized that your knight on h3 was covering against it? That is what it is like, really silly stuff, and I can’t take those bizarre, sporadic ghost, or laziness in time-trouble thougths with me to the 1900 level, I realize this.

    My rating after this tournament only dropped from 1835 to 1823. Going into this Open tournament with 4 new opponents, and the 5th opponent, this was only my second game against (although I felt comfortable against him), I was hoping before the tournament that I would only lose around 12 rating points, and that’s exactly what happened. 🙂 It’s great, I got to face new opening schemas without paying much of a price for it.

    My Round 4 game against Alexa, really sweet teenager and we went over the game afterward, I botched the end of the game rather hard, tactically, but luckily she was oblivious to my RxB sham-sac for mate threat. Kevin S. 2100, went over this game with me, and he spotted all of the better tactics instantly. I felt that Rxf7 was stronger than Bxf7, but I didn’t understand it enough, and he spotted the threat to f7 right away, a mate, ignoring everything else that was going on.

    Oh, I spotted 6.e5, and I figured “Oh yeah, another quick opening win that I will learn nothing from.” and ignored it and simply rattled through the opening because I had never played her before, realized she wasn’t familiar with this opening yet is strong, and wanted to learn something more about her game than just an opening blunder. Plus, she is 200 points lower, so I can take this posture of a middlegame challenge instead of an openings one. Learn something more that way.

    I spend 30 minutes on my f5 push, and there are so many lines that I looked at emanating from that. I was surprised by her …d5 move, and instead expected …b5 (with the idea of f5..Bc4), so that I would have replied to ..b5 with b3. I missed some nice tactical wins. I thought that instead of ..Qxa2, ..Qb6, c4 looked more realistic. We both had chances to win because of mutual tactical errors, but White “should” have won.

    Round 5, I came up against this new Schema in an English opening. He played b3 instead of Qb3, so not so dynamic, and I knew others had drawn against him, so I got low on time and headed for the draw. The game ended with my 44th move ..Kf6, but he thought I would win by playing 44…h5. I told him not so, and then showed him this drawing line and said “What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I don’t like my chess games to be a coin-flip.” Sure enough, Fruit says that my line was in deed a solid draw. I can play endgames like this on the 30 second increment (which I very much appreciated), and am not afraid to play king and pawn because that is what all endgames are, king endgames. I can blitz out endings, but tactically I am still not there yet, as evidenced by my Round 4 game.

  3. Game 4 – her Nxd4 gives you the strong queen. I don’t think I would be able to play not the best from my view move just to see or try something, probably you just got sure that you will win and played with her like a cat with a mouse. 🙂
    In that tactical melee your missed some winning chances and she drawing ones, but 29. h4 could cost you dearly if she would play the right move 30… Qe4. I think 30 minutes is a bit too much for f5, it could have costed you the game in the end.

    Game 5 – I didn’t that English can be so drawish. You drew confidently, a good result, especially taking into account his rating and that it was a last round.

  4. Yes, 30 minutes on that move was ridiculous indeed. I mean, it doesn’t drop a piece, so I should simply play it and see what happens. Instead of retreating my queen there, I could have played e5, attacking two of her pieces, so that she will win one piece, and I will win two, for two pawns. I didn’t see that or have time to noticed it. I was 15 minutes late (18 on the clock), but I felt as though that didn’t affect me at all as White (it affects me majorly as Black, though). But the 30 minutes on one move of course affected me, it was silly.

    RollingPawns, I did feel sure of the win for some reason. lol. 🙂 Probably it was because I was up for the challenge and felt that her opening theory would be weak in any case. In fact, I never play Bg2 and knew that it puts off the tactical struggle for a strategic one, so I was pretty confident, playing that quickly. Also, I may not play her again for a while just in the same way that I haven’t played a lot of my opponents before, and yet they regularly come to these tournaments. I didn’t want my only game to be based on thinking she will blunder in the opening. I guess I have a hard time not keeping these psychological profiles of my opponents. Many others probably only note which openings they play and that it is it.

    Yes, she missed wins, and I should have put it away instead of limping over the finish line.

    I told Kevin, the 2100 guy, that I intentionally didn’t play e5, in order to see her normal play, and he said that he didn’t care about his opponents, only about winning the game. He beat the 1900 guy that I knew struggled with endgames, and he didn’t even know or couldn’t tell that his opponent was struggling with the endgame, only thought he had a probable winning advantage (his opponent steered for an endgame as White in Fr. Tarrash..Qd5 trade because he had been studying endgames recently). I told him that I thought the position was a draw, and that I look for where the equilibrium is in the endgame. In any case, I can blitz these sort of positions and calculate deeply, much like Kevin, but often I can just see it. Frankly, tactics aside, I think I may be slightly better in the endgame than him as well (saw him comment on another endgame). Of course, my chances of getting an endgame against him may not be so hot, he is quite awesome at tearing down the Advanced Variation of the French defense, and loves playing with Black against all of White’s variations in the French defense. I told him that I don’t love playing anything as Black.

    Game 5, again I used my time ridiculously, trying to find winning chances. I don’t know how I do it, but once I decide to go for the draw I can be all-business, feel more laid-back, and do it quickly, and was not nervous at all for some reason, probably because I never sensed that I was in trouble. I think he played it too cagey with his b3, and then waiting to put his bishop on the b2 diagonal to thwart me, and he took on e5, so he was keeping the draw in hand more than he was beefing up his winning chances. He had one win and four draws in this tournament, and I noted that two others drew him, so the draw was in the back of my mind going into this game.

    The Under 1800 prize is a real kick. I was over 1800, so did not get one, just noticed that Anthea is 1800, so she didn’t get one, but Rhett finished with 3/5, just we did, but was rated 1797, so he won it all to himself. Of course, he pulls over 1800 for that, and Anthea traded places with him, and is now 1797, so she will be eligible for Under 1800 sometime. That is so funny.

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