Thursdays Final Round – Jan 2012

Round 4

The last couple of moves in the score are not accurate, but I finished the game with a skewer, sacked my rook for it somehow. I was also offering a pawn sac that couldn’t be taken. This all occurred using only 6 seconds of my clock time from move 38 to the end of the game (5 sec delay). I can only think of it as divinely inspired, since it didn’t seem like me. I believe I spent 4 seconds on one move, and 1 second on the rest – from 14 seconds to 9 remaining at the end of the game, and I was moving a lot faster than the 5 second delay, was moving instantly.

The funny part about this game is that I was feeling sick today at work, didn’t want to play, but when I got there had a couple danishes and two cups of coffee. I couldn’t pay attention to anything before then and thought I would lose easily, but also wanted to fight. Not because I felt like it, I was walking slow and stuff all day long, but because I wanted to.

The move I spent the most thought on was when I played 13.e5, I had all kinds of great lines that I had calculated with piece sacs and exchange sacs. I did spend quite a bit of time as well looking at 10.Nc3-b5, but I really wanted to go kingside, and that line is pretty longish.

I didn’t really want to win her piece on b4 because the toughest part of the game by far was defending while a piece up. This part of the game is remiscent of RollingPawns’s games, a grueling defense. Everything looks easy after the fact.

The hardest move of the game for me to find was one that was never played. My blitz move would have been, if 26..Rf5, 27.Re1. But then I found 26..Rf5, 27.Nd1, so that I can play Be3-f2-g3 in some variations (to counter a …Qc7, ..d5+ sort of plan by Black).

Yelena’s advice that ChessTiger gave to not calculate the same thing over on each move (look for new moves!), and that every position is different, is very appropriate to improvement for Class players.

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January 2012 Wednesday’s – Final Round

Round 4

I was trying to play the ..Rh5 idea to trap his queen toward the end. By move 29, though, I didn’t play it because I was playing resolute and matching his speed with the moves.

I brought my A game, and he brought his B or C game, but the result is what people remember.

I feel pretty out of it right now, unlike during the game, but at least I can see for a brief moment in chess-career, I stitched together a couple of nice wins.

My longest think of the game by far was on move 15. I knew that he had blundered immediately, but it took time to find the best continuation. I imagined long continuations, but luckily came back to concrete continuations. For example 15..f5, 16.BxB or 16.Bxd6 QxB, 17.BxB. Really have to have a strong grasp of the here and now to prune out the flights-of-fantasy variations, when calculating.

Miscalculated

Round 3

Not much of a game to speak of, I was going to play 15.Rf1, but then played/blundered with 15.c4 because as soon as I took my hand off of it, I noticed that I am dropping a pawn with 15..Ng6.

Then I miscalculated badly. I was going to play 18.Bb5 because 18…a6 seemed weakening, the was going to play 19.Be2, but I miscalculated, dropped a pawn, at least, but saw his mate as soon as I had played b3, simply waited for him to play Rb2+, then shook his hand.

If I had played 15.Rf1, I felt I definitely had the upper-hand, and he played crazily in the post-mortem at that point, giving me a big advantage. I simply am not paying enough attention to defense. I want to attack all the time and was “out to lunch” on defense in this game. Should have had a great game against him, but instead played it badly.

I didn’t play 19.Be2 because I figured that he would win, being up a pawn, unless I played actively, which in a positional situation like this was simply bad thinking, and I thought it might be, but did it anyway. So, I dropped the pawn and then was gone just like that.

Thursdays Round 2 2012

Round 2

I played Alex as White, played a G/2 or longer against his G/1 or shorter, and couldn’t hold in time-pressure. The game was decided by my time-pressure, that was his basic strategy. He spent <15 minutes on the game.

When I got home, I changed it up and did some analysis this time before loading it onto Fruit. I figured that I should have played f5 instead of Qb3, thought about it during the game too. Then I could plan to swivel the queen with Qe1 and Qh4.

Also, I did not want to win that pawn on b6, did it only for the sake of time-pressure, to make some sort of draw out of the position but simplify. Looking on it at home, I quickly see a4 and if ..Nc8, then push the a-pawn to a6, recapture with rook and now c6 is weak and supported, and Rc1 is coming too.

This post-mortem was very quick had strong accuracy value. Chess is shades of gray, it is not a perfection game that a so-and-so's best games collection will often make it out to be to hype that player up. In time-pressure, my strength went down but he was still playing "his game" aka quick-chess. I saw my game-losing blunder as soon as I played my move, which was about five seconds before he took the pawn with check, but it's worth noting that I thought that if I had played Rd1 instead that it was equal but that I was pushing the play. He played Qh3 immediately in the post-mortem and I did not realize that Black is hereby still -+, so I think I still would have lost this not realizing that Black had something with an attack and did not need to defend.

I am analyzing more quickly now because I want it to be at game-speed if not many times faster, and it is, it is in the game that I was too slow and my time-management made it more difficult for me later on in the game, with less time and a little less energy, as is typically the case.

This wasn’t the big story of the day, the big story of the day was a would-be-renter I had met last night that said he would move in tomorrow didn’t move in because his girlfriend’s landlord let them both stay in the same room for the same price. Another player didn’t show up because his mother died. Sh*t happens in between all of these chess games. Chess is a sacrifice of one’s time, there is no doubt about that. We all have lives going on outside of chess, and probably none of us should be spending our time playing this game, that is my only point. I left chess for a month and found a job, so of course we all do better to leave chess, that part needs no explanation. I say all of this because it has become a meme for chess-bloggers to drop out because other stuff is going on in their life, as if this were a novel concept. Many blogs have ended in “dramatic” fashion in this way. It’s sufficient to stop blogging or post a short note, we get the idea. I may cut back from chess as well, who knows, sounds like a good idea right now. All I’m doing is spending my chess tournament time playing G/90, which has never been my game really anyway.

I really wasn’t focused on the result in this game, more focused on playing good moves but took too long to play them. He played “come and get me” chess and it took too long to work up the nerve, but at least I did and that part worked. I needed to keep playing patient positional chess, it was working, and not “cash in”, which is what lost me the game. Needed to keep the tension even if I lose in time-pressure and he gets in with his knights, which he could have. I still need to be not focused on the result but on getting to move 40 more quickly. This is G/90 chess after all.

G/90 is not even about good chess, this is the mistake I made. G/90 is about “do what you can as quick as you can.” If you didn’t see it, oh well, it would have taken you to long to spot it anyway. You are better off reading books to improve your game and then spitting out your BS as fast as you can OTB.

It took guts to play Ne5 because there is no Bc4, but Ne5 is even stronger in this variation because there is no ..Bf5-g6 retreat because a pawn is there. So this Ne5 idea is even stronger in this var, IMHO, than it is in the one where it appears as the main line.

Other weak moves that I played in time-pressure were Qc2 instead of c4 (I wanted to play c4, but played the cagey Qc2 instead, which looked easier to handle). BxNg4 was not optimal, it was another time-pressure move to simplify.

I feel like I can win against a whole slew of player there in blitz chess, but the time allows people to play better defensively. It takes more moves, care, and time to take down a fortress when the opponent is playing even bad defensive moves as in this game. I should have gone kingside, but it still takes more defenses to overcome because my opponent can concentrate on making defensive moves, but it still shouldn’t have been to much of a problem attacking by that point, but requires a lot more moves and not some 20 moves to breakthrough but more like 30 moves.

I almost played the 24.c4, seeing his fork but that I could attack his rook, which draws. 24.Qc2 was a simpler defensive move with a trap that I had hoped worked but does not, but he played quickly and ..Nf6 retreat was not his winning move there, Qxd was because Bf3..Qc4 attacks my rook Rf1 and Black is out of the pin. The problem with blitzing at the end, one of the problems, is that can’t really blitz as well with queens still on the board in that late middlegame situation. I did offer a draw after 25.c4, but he rightly refused it since I was in time-trouble and he was better.

Wednesdays Round 2 2012

Round 2

I played against Mark tonight, he tried to play the Nimzo Saemisch against me. I don’t know what really happened in this game. He correctly saw that 0-0-0 was dangerous more astutely than I did. I think he beat himself. Okay, he blunders a pawn, but then every move after that was only making it much easier on me. I think he was looking for a swindle instead of sucking it up and simply making the “win” difficult for me (IOW, I could still possibly mess up a win, if he had challenged me more on it).

TommyG, I can’t see the comments in your blog! It just times out when I click to view comments. I came down too hard against the online play and the computer analysis. It’s great to look at how an engine finds a crushing conclusion to a position, but I’ll say what I was getting at, I was getting at the competitive aspect of a chess game. Also, even G/90, at least for me, is still not enough time to play a significant chess game. The competive part is important, for example I had 42 minutes at the end of this game and my opponent had just under 16, which is meaningless other than to say I was playing confidently enough.

Online games, so many of them are “Hey, that tukey won a lost game because of their stupid time control!” sort of thing. Then you play another game and repeat a whole bunch of stuff you already know because you wanted those online rating points. Online rating points are sort of bad stuff. The best one could do in online chess is almost always, to find out where the traps are, where and how you blunder when playing fast. IOW, it also is a performance shaper, but I wouldn’t read into the results too much. I wouldn’t read into or care about the results at all in fact.

In online chess, it is more beneficial to simply lose your butt off in games as that is the only way to learn because they are so quick and emotional. Winning a game online is bad because you probably didn’t learn anything and thought that your bad moves were actually good. hehe. If you go over them with an engine, that is great, but it’s so easy for online chess to devolve into this “repertoire building exercise”, which you will find out means a lot less than you think it did in an OTB game. If you play tricky openings then, okay yes it will help a lot , though, but after a while it doesn’t and it’s best to stop playing.

What I meant was that time is better spent on tactics, endgames, or even openings somewhat if you are really studying them. I see you’ve improved a lot but I think it’s because you have studied annotated games, tactics, endings, etc. The online chess is not what made you strong recently, it’s simply displaying mostly what you already know. 😉

Also, I didn’t mean to be like Botvinnik and study everything about the game afterward necessarily, mostly because that would take a lot of time and we don’t do this for a living. If you just want to shoot through it quick with an engine that is fine by me; the game is over and there many different games inside of that game that could be played.

The point I was trying to allude to is what matters most is the correctness of your thinking during the game, regardless of whether the position is winning/losing/even. I think the Stoyko analysis of a GM game is great, but even when I go over a Keres game I am trying to guess his move even though it usually is around 10, posssibly 20 seconds I am guessing and then looking at his move, sometimes not that long, it still corrects my sense of possibilities of how a position could be handled. Then I try to work out tactically the finish that the book doesn’t give, or sometimes moves not played or explained have a tactical flaw, that I will look for.

After the game my opponent mentioned to Paul that he was trying to play the Saemish Nimzo-Indian but played f3 too early, to which I replied something like “Yeah, that is a sharp line, you have to know what you are doing.” as if I knew jack-shot about this opening. I don’t know this opening either, simply knew that an early f3 didn’t look so hot.

It was really the opening that was working against him. If you look at other continuations, it looks like Black had copious amounts of ways to keep an advantage against White. Lesson to students of openings – beware! One thing I learned from Roman’s video recently, and I sort of already knew it, is that opening study will “lull” you. You reach position that is “known theory”, but in reality is a hare’s breath away from being completely lost in a practical game.

Paul Keres

In Vol2 of “Paul Keres’ best games” by Varnusz, a lot of games are won by smoother, better development in the opening than his opponent. I’d say most of them involve marvelous sacs, but I am going to show one that doesn’t, that illustrates the idea of better development more simply.

Grob vs Keres 1936

By move 15, Black is down two pawns and probably already has a winning advantage based on superior development. By move 20, White has played the final blunder by playing 20.Nxe4?? (allowing Black to capture a developed piece) instead of 20.Nf1 (allowing for further piece development by freeing up d2 for another piece).

The thing to note here is the question “How many Class A players would think they have a winning position here as Black while two pawns down?” There were many other possible continuations during this game where this same sort of advantage had to be measured as well, development vs. material. It seems if the queen is running around to grab pawns while Black develops, then -+ or =+ is frequently the result. How many class players can make this type of assessment? Very few, and the few that can probably have weak endgame skills or they wouldn’t still be Class players.