Opening Misadventure

Round 3

In this game, I had the White pieces on board 1 against Paul. He normally plays 3..e6 and offers to transpose to a French Defense, and really I was interested in seeing his French Defense, even though what I had prepared against him was an Open Sicilian – sometimes, you can prepare and then it would seem boring to finally play that preparation.

Instead, he played a mainline 3..d5, and I had the feeling he probably doesn’t know this line and I was glad that I got it against him; this turned out to be the case.

There aren’t many traps in this opening, but believe it or not 8.Bc4 is not decisive according to Fruit, only around +.6 or something. In any case, it caught him by surprised and I guess he panicked in some way, or “wanted to test me tactically” – which he actually said at one point. To be honest, I would rather someone test me tactically than positionally, not because I am all that in complications, but because positional play can be more excruciating at G/90 for just about anyone.

Anyhow, 8..Qa5 is surprising blunder. I should really give “mad props” out to RollingPawns at that this point because Paul said that before the game he had been going back and forth with a client over a web-programming, and couldn’t satisfy them (they were making braile signs), and he was worn out and said “take it easy on me tonight”.

Well, he tried a new opening line for himself tonight, and was probably just burnt out from the day, but it goes to show how much of chess is merely a performance. If we are both at our best, he should be a more knowledgeable chess player than I, but on “any given Sunday” anyone can win a game, as they say in football-speak here. Not being at your best on weekdays can affect adversely. It’s interesting that on ‘The Chess Improver’ blog, Nigel D. said this sort of thing once, wondering how many were too tired to play a straight game after work, compared to kids and the unemployed, who can be more fresh.

At the end of the game, I expected him to play 22…Rc7, and then I was going to play 23.Nb5. In the post-mortem, he played well and equalized from this point (it must have been from a different position, the final position was rather decisive, but I blundered something in the post-mortem), and he was up a pawn, before blundering the game again trying to win from a drawn position against me. Afterward, I went to the coffee-shop and played Alex two blitz games. I won one as Black in the Scotch, since he didn’t really know it, and then lost the second game where I was down a pawn in opposite-colored bishop, which I assumed that I could draw. This really let me know that I need to save time for endgames and not blitz them out. I’ve been crazy to blitz out endgames in my OTB games. An advantage can disappear real fast in a hastily played endgame, or even a draw.

It may seem weird, but my biggest strength in this game was finding all of the candidate moves. I wasn’t calculating any better than I might normally.

On a sadder note, I guess I could call it that, the E. Coast Deli will be closing at 6pm to save money (they weren’t getting much business recently, when we were there). So, the Wednesday G/90 chess tournaments will no longer exist until we find a new venue. They could probably move it to Tuesdays where the Colorado Springs chess club plays (I have never been there, and most of the time they play quick, unrated chess). This month, the club on Tuesday was actually having a monthly G/90 tournament. Imagine that, 3 G/90 tournaments going on in the same week! I think that Rhett was playing in that one, and some other strong players.

I am taking a bye tomorrow as I need to focus on web-work for a client, and then maybe see my girlfriend. I will play the last round next Wednesday (the final final one), and may cancel the Thursdays for this month. I will play Thursdays next month though, for sure. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Opening Misadventure

  1. Interesting, but indeed after Bc4 White is just 0.24 by Houdini – if Black plays Bb4+, of course. He found it to late. after a few moves he is completely lost.To be fair, that position looks rather complicated (tactically) and familiarity with the opening is very important, I agree.
    You see, you can rip the fruits of your opening labor, told you… 🙂

  2. hehehe. Thanks, RollingPawns!! 🙂

    I was expecting his ..Bb4 reply when I played Bc4, and it is actually just a draw if played out by an engine. I’m still amazed that anyone would fall into a trap OTB in such a passive line, and yet they have now more than once.

    He never even played ..Bg4, but I guess it was because he was too far behind in material already. He played his 0-0-0?? instantly. The funny thing is that he is a very strong technical player who likes to get into tactical mischief. Tactics definitely get the better of him. In the post-mortem he found one of those queen sham sac for pawn moves, where if I take the queen, he forks queen and king, but I knew right away that that was very bad, as he threw away winning position into a draw, then blundered the draw into a loss going for too much – and I should mention I was blitzing my replies just as much as he was his moves. Evidently he has this credo of trying to unbalance the position, trying to make it dynamic, but all I see in that thinking is a trunk full of bad moves.

    Openings help, but I realize I spend too much time there. There is nothing there in the Alapin Sicilian opening. Save your time for the middlegame, and yet Black most often acts stumped by this opening. There’s really nothing there. It’s an endgame opening where it’s a draw, but a small mistake by either side could cost the game, but it should be highly technical and not tactical apart from positional tactics.

    I didn’t play tonight, but I was tired anyway. The funny thing about that is that the only thing I do well when I am tired is play chess. 😉

    Here is a fun game which I played tonight:;action=show
    After 18..Qf6, I would have an embarrassingly simple -++ advantage, I’d win it (didn’t bother to look at it with an engine). But I decided to take his pawn, knowing that he would probably find something clever with his queen. I didn’t suspect his 20.Qd5, but could see that the game was over once I looked at it. I played to mate, because just like I told Alex last night, I believe that both sides should play until mate.

    I put it to auto-annotate. 18..Qf6, 19.Nd7 Qxe, 20.Qb3+! looks strong, and it saves his a-pawn and prevents ..e3. 20..Kh8, 21.NxR RxR, and I am not losing nor winning I don’t think. I’ll let the engine show me the best move on move 18.

    White has to play 20.NxR first, but it is a drawish position. Black does have a small edge according to Fruit. That’s what’s so great about online. You can get over-excited online and lose, and then play OTB remembering that boring chess wins it. hehe.

  3. Here’s the finish that Fruit gives (I made the last couple moves more interesting since White should lose by taking the d3 bishop instead).
    Yeah, baby, just like I had planned all along! 😀

    Should just be a draw. That line was a testament to Qe3 being a blunder because an engine can’t look far enough ahead and doesn’t have human intuition.

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