DeJavu

I’ll post the game later, as I think I am going to write down my analysis with pencil and paper first, particularly for later in the game where I started messing up.

I played a Scotch Game as White against Mark. Mark is older than I am, and I thought this sort of thing was beneath him, but here we go again. With 7 seconds on my clock and 3 seconds on his, we both stopped pressing the clock. My time was running down but were blitzing so fast that I didn’t even bother worrying about it, thinking Mark was “cool” for some reason. So we got down to my 2 seconds. I have Kg4, he has g5 pawn and Kg1, and he is going to play Kg2 and I Kxg5 draw. So, rather than wait for him to move after my move (this is silly, right?) I stick out my hand with 2 seconds left on my clock and offer him a draw, certain that this is without a doubt the end of the game, just a gentlemanly gesture. He refuses my draw and then claims a win on time because he has “mating material.” At first Dean, the TD, sides with me, but then Mark makes him go get the rule book and Dean is going to side with Mark, but I basically talked Mark into giving me a draw. Meanwhile, one kid’s parent is like “You lost on time, the rules say” sort of thing. Unbelievable.

Anyway, we went over for pie afterward at the Village Inn across the street, spent a couple hours with Paul and Mark going over both our games, we both enjoyed the game and going over it, so I can only claim being perplexed on what the big deal was, although I can see how it is now OTB. Mark was upset that he could have won $7 for 3-0, there was a four way second place tie for 3-0 because all we were doing was beating the kids and then getting in 1 or 2 decent games. That is what happens with one Open Section and a bunch of low-rateds.

Heck, I have lost work for 2 days and counting, Mark has had people who have been affected by the fire here in Colorado Springs. I can’t believe how petty a game of chess can be, over $7 and some odd rating points (he was worried that he would lose rating points for drawing me, because his rating is slightly higher now by a few points or so). What is the chess world coming to?

Anyway, I missed a couple of wins and one loss in the game. I made an inexplicable blunder with the 7 seconds on my clock that cost me like 5 tempos or I would have simply won, and on another move he made a BS move, but I defended instead of making the winning move, and he said he would have resigned had I played it. It was a fun, interesting game, just a weird end (he said he was trying to win on time, but that he didn’t even notice that he wasn’t pressing his clock, and said he knew he had no winning chances but the rules state ‘mating material’ wins, wtf?). Anyway, for those of you who want to know what “real tournament chess” is like, this is what you too can expect.

It turned out that he was upset that I had rejected his draw offer when he was “two pawns up”. In reality, I had just won one of those pawns back, he had 0:24, and I had like 6:24 when he offered the draw (correction: I must must have had more like 3 and a half minutes because I had obviously stopped keeping score by this point), and the only reason I declined it was because I saw that I was winning his other pawn as well, with a winning position.

BTW, I didn’t drop the two pawns. I purposely sacked them for activity because I figured that I would win his two pawns, which was the case. I really should have won this game. Also, I was 34 rating points higher than him before this game. I can’t believe how petty that chessplayers can be. They all would have claimed a win on time. Mark said “Isn’t that what you would have done?” and I said absolute not, or something similar. He said he will claim a win on time next time, so I guess I should too if I am playing Anthea or Mark or Paul or the Hermans, cause now I know that they would do that to me. Heck, they’ve already all won on time against me, anyway.

Here is the game: Round 4. It is only accurate for 18 moves, and after that it is simply wrong, but it gives an idea of how I got to a position where on move 46 I play 46.Rb6?? which could only make sense given that I was blitzing (too fast) with my 7 seconds to his 3. I had seen that I was promoting that pawn, but then wanted to save a tempo by checking him first?? So after I checked him I could not get my rook behind my pawn. Also, my king was on c5, and had to hand-promote that pawn with the king, recapturing his sacked rook on a8. I was about two tempos short of winning, but lost around 5 tempos with making my king promote the a-pawn. He had the g and h pawns, which were still back on the 6th rank, and I had no pawns left.

I am somewhat pleased that I actually drew a game, against anybody for any reason really. I haven’t drawn a game in months and back when I was on my last ratings roll, those potential losses were either draws or wins in time-pressure. But now I am not the same in time-pressure, I don’t care or give it as much emphasis as to how I can sucker my opponent while blitzing. I try to simply ration out my time better.

They were saying after the game that I was winning with 17.cxb7, and in the past I probably would have played it, but lately I have switched over to the “Rolf Wetzell” model of budgeting my time in time-pressure rather than try to spend a lot of clock-time calculating a line in complexities. For example, I could have played 17.cxb7 Rb8, 18.Qd7? (which I didn’t see), and have only been up .8, because 18.Nf3 is the correct follow-up. After Qd7, the position would have been very concrete and complex – really, I should have done so because of _his_ time-pressure, but I was ignoring that. My move may be dropping a piece, but I did not see this as I was not spending enough time on the move to see it, and he didn’t see it either!

It was interesting analysing with Paul Anderson because it made me realise not that he will necessarily calculate better than I, but that he has more chess common-sense than I do. I will try to analyse a position exactly, but he will keep the better endgame in hand, knows how to keep his options open, and not try to press too soon like I often do or have done.

Burnout

On Thursday, I played Dean Brown again, who has never beaten me but always gives me good games. Well, in this Round 3 game, he was simply winning. I did nothing out of the opening other than to hunker-down unsuccessfully. Luckily, he misses the winning move 20…Rfc8!, which I saw once he exchanged his knight pair for my rook and pawn. I saw it coming down, but didn’t have the fortitude to avoid it with a move like 19.Bb3, or at least not at G/90.

I got three hours sleep last night, and then worked 9 hours, nodding off for a moment at a signal on the way there. I drank plenty of coffee there, but my opponent was the one having the great night. But once again, even though I thought that …Nxb4!! was winning, my opponent bungles it up after this point. I can’t explain why lower rated players can play great for 20 moves, and then completely fall apart, but for some reason they do, and that seems to be the biggest difference between me and them.

At one point I moved my knight to d3 instead of c3, and Dean caught it a move later and then added 2 minutes to his clock. I was already up a couple pieces, but this sort of thing only happens to me when I don’t get enough sleep. Last two weeks I play with my buddy on Monday, and then club games on T-TH and it is just to much to sustain. I liked my opponent’s attack a lot though, and have a lot to learn from this game.

I had 1 minute and 11 or 12 seconds left on my clock by games end. If I had had 30 minutes, Dean probably would have resigned, but nowadays everybody knows to play me down to the nubs on my clock just in case I run out of time.

June Mating Game – Conclusion

Round 3 was a rather ugly opening affair, but I knew that if I just stuck with it I would eventually pull out a win.

Round 4 was the first time that I have played Jeff Fox, an elderly gentleman. I had planned 19..Rae8, but went for a dubious positional plan without error-checking, and saw my blunder as soon as I had released the piece. In fact, even 19..Rae8 is losing, but 19..Kh8 is the only saving move, and yet is equal. Here is why 19..Kh8 is necessary. Round 4 analysis

Incidentally, my ..f5 move was not best, nor good really. I was okay letting him play a pawn to f6 because Ne6 can protect against a Qg7 mate.

Tonight I played Daniel again, who I might add, attends a chess camp all day long every day, and then gets chess lessons after that one-on-one with an Expert. I deserve more than a pidly couple of rating points for beating these kids, I feel, or should play more players at my own rating instead. Just playing these kids is like playing Russian-Roulette with one’s rating.

Wednesday Night’s Round 3 Game. Yes, I had to blitz out until until mate, but it probably didn’t take a second of clock time to do it, ended up with 12 minutes left by game’s end.

I missed a tactical shot 12..c6 followed by 13..Qxe4+. I had seen this possibility previously but in my mind didn’t want to open the e-file, nor allow a tempo by playing a weak positional move, which could lead to a tactical shot.

Incidentally, if you play this line I should inform you that I spent nearly twenty minutes on move 5 because I realized that I had botched the move over. …cxb2, …Bb4+ and THEN ..d5. As I played it, I not only allowed Bxd5 instead of exd5, but I was crossing my fingers that he would not play the line 6.Bxf7+ Ke7. 7.QxQ KxQ, 8.Bxb2 when White is down a pawn yet has the bishop pair against my very loose and undeveloped king. But actually, I missed that 6.Bxf7+?? loses to ..KxBf7, 7.QxQ bxBc1(Q)+! I believe I missed this because I had blended it in my mind, associatively, with a variation where I play 5…c2, 6.Bxf7+ Ke7, 7.QxQ KxQ, 8.Nc3, where White is +.7

The lesson her is to get one’s variations straight. I would suggest to mentally number your variations, and then make a mental note of the exact line, roughly at least 4 moves deep, for each variation. Part of strength is technique, and this one is not about chess knowledge at all, but rather about how you process your analysis at the board.

Not a perfect game by far, but it got the job done tonight.

Time-Pressure

I wasn’t going to post this game because it is so incomplete (I’ve been messaging Anthea back and forth to get the rest of the game score, and her husband took her laptop with him – she was consoling afterward).

Anyway, the result to this game will bear no real relation to the actual moves you see. I was just winning this game it had seemed, the whole way through like a straight shot, even though an engine will say it’s += and no big deal (isn’t that all engines are good for?)

so here is the actual game: Round 2

I’m not sure about her last move because it ended up picking off my b-pawn instead. What eventually happened is that we traded rooks on a5 (she won a pawn on a5), then I played ..Qd5 trapping and winning her knight with around 15 seconds left. My knight was on c7, so that my QxNa5 was then protecting my Nc7. The pawn on e4 was boxing out her queen on h5 (now I remember that it was on h5).

With 5 seconds to play, I have queen and knight to her queen. She has h5, Kh6, g3, f3 and I have Kh7, h6, g7 and f5, totally winning. Really I should picked off her h-pawn, and then traded off queens and knight for the f-pawn. Instead I traded off queens and knight for f-pawn right away, but her advanced h-pawn made it a draw.

So, with 5 seconds on my clock, she made her pawn move and I knew it was a draw if she had played that move. I have two pawns, she has one, and I can simply take her final pawn and it is a draw, or not take it and it is still a draw. Anyway, I have one one of those “Bronstein moments” (his excuse for losing World Championship to Botvinnik in that one endgame) where I reflect on “How could I have let this happen? Every move leads to a draw!” Whereupon my clock started beeping, Anthea got the TD, and TD says she wins because she has mating material, even though I could take her last pawn or not take it and it is still completely obvious draw – she can stop my h-pawn.

I’ve kept my scoresheets, with clock times, and it made me think of time-goals that I am going to use for the future. There was no need for me to spend so much clock-time on moves I had seen right away, and then take ten minutes to play anyway. So, I’ve come up with a series of time-controls I am going to use on my score-sheet to prevent this sort of thing in the future. And yes, I should have simply forced the draw! 😉

Wednesdays June 2012 – Round 2

As it turns out, I was paired with the same little kid from last night. This time, he showed up with a black eye for some reason.

Round 2

I finished the game with 46 and a half minutes remaining on my clock. So, I think that the G/30 has speeded up my decision making. Also, This was the fourth game in a row where I did not leave the chessboard during the game, which is another positive sign.

Game/30 Tournament – Day 1

This evening, I played for the first time at the Colorado Springs Chess Club (CSCC), and only the second time in a G/30 tournament (first one was around 15 years ago). This tournament is a dual-rated USCF tournament.

As I told my buddy Alex, at least at G/30 they won’t get to analyze the position on my clock the way they do at G/90. The Tournament is called “The Mating Game”, and I had to wonder if it weren’t because there are a lot of mates. Well, at least in my games I guess there are.

In Round 1, I dropped a pawn straight off the bat to a little kid, but he didn’t take it. Apparently, the game was equal when he slipped up with ..h6 instead of ..Kh8, but at Game/30, well you can guess the rest.

In Round 2, against Buck, I seemed to follow the lower-rated player principle of just going for it and make the higher-rated player refute you (which is hard to do in non-classical time controls.

If Round 2 were an NFL football highlight by Chris Burman, I could imagine it going something like this “Lower-rated Brian has just blundered his queen starting with 21…Qf3??. Buck has outplayed his junior opponent and they can both hit the showers after 22.Rh2!. But what’s this? Fumble! Brian picks up the ball, and, he could..go..all..the..way. Touchdown!

I was very nervous about the clock in my first game, and only spent 9 minutes and 3 seconds on the game, which was the first one that completed.

I didn’t have to wait long for Round 2, as all of the games were over within 45 minutes. In Round 2, I played the opening like a Troglodyte, showing my ignorance for allowing the free e4 move, and then moving the e-pawn twice. Buck really deserved the win (he doesn’t gripe, simply congratulates me, records the result, and then leaves).

In all honesty, I did not see the mate, was only expecting the move 25.Kd3, and then figure it out from there. I had 7 minutes and 59 seconds remaining on my clock when he resigned.

I played in the hopes that G/30 would improve my G/90 results, and I am encouraged by this sudden progress. 🙂 That would be funny if I became an Expert at G/30, just like my lightening rating on FICS is something like 1900+. haha.

I was really tired before the tournament, and fell asleep in hour long nap. I guess nothing beats a nap before a game.

Another clock-stomper is born

Thursdays, Round 1

Only the second time I’ve played Alek, and he has already sped up his speed of play against me, joining the club of those who blitz me to win (some of them, such as Rhett, particulary seem to blitz against me).

Alek, with 70 minutes on his clock to my 20, pressed the clock and then makes his move 3 seconds later (notice, he is not in any time-trouble), so of course I had to call him out on it as soon as he did it, but there were no hard feelings (no, I didn’t get a TD or anything, I am simply trying to enjoy a nice game of chess).

I played defense quickly, not calculating by that point, and finally resigned as I was lost on the clock anyway, after realizing that the pawn recapture on f3 was stronger than I had guessed it would be.

Interesting moments during the game:
11…a6. I must have wasted a good 12 minutes on 10.0-0, not deciding to play the interesting 10.Ba6, leading to a powerful c-file advantage. I saw this board and it’s funny because he spent all his thinking on my time, and was clearly “playing the man” such that he prevented this idea with ..a6?, which I had realized would only be a target there.

15.Nh2. I had considered 15.Re1-Nf1-Ng3-Nf5 maneuver, but played Nh2 to stop ..h5, but instead accidentally allowed ..Bg5. g4 so soon was probably overambitious on my part.

19..Nxg4? I was happy to see this move played, but he is already playing my clock. He said that I was a very cautious player (so obviously he wanted to introduce risk and complexity into the position) who would spot all of the easy mistakes.

22.Nh2? I already beginning to panic on the clock, had also given 22.Rg1 much consideration, but 22.f5 simply saves a pawn. I was trying to goad him into having a weak, doubled pawn.

24.Re1, my play on the clock is breaking down. I had seen and planned 24.Ng5-e3 maneuver, seeing 24.Ng5 Bh5?, 25.Nh6+ and 26.BxBh5, but decided to be more mysterious and non-committal. This was very poor thinking, because it was my last chance to dictate a plan here, and that _is_ important to consider.

The Bc6 and Re3 moves are more nuttiness, no plan.

30.Nc4? When there is no time to think, just start taking stuff. This is perhaps the most classic time-pressure blunder of all time, pick the low-hanging fruit and then have a make-shift defense which can quickly become a shambles.

33.Be2 – a blunder-based defense.

35.Nxf3?? losing at once, but I didn’t realize how weak my bank-rank would really be.

Master Josh Bloomer thought that I could continue on with 38.Ne7, and should have, and he wrongly pointed out that after …Kf7, 39.Rb4 RxR, 40.cxR is winning for White (I believe that 40.Rh3 and doubling on the rook-file wins outright anyway, as Fruit points out), whereupon I said no, that it is winning for Black (it’s nearly -2). ..d5 is another mating idea, and I found a mate when he thought White could survive. But I learned one thing, that a Master is a Master because they can win from a losing position, not because they can evaluate or create a winning position better than I, for example, but because they can simply play the position more dangerously, solid, and strongly than I will tend to, regardless of the position.

I worked an hour and a half OT at work before the game, and was simply trying to enjoy a game of chess, but now I realize that opponents want to win more than they want to enjoy the game. They will play blitz from move one, if they think that this will increase their winning chances. It is hard to get punished for positional mistakes when you are blitzing early and often, and your opponent manages their clock poorly – at 40/2 or 30/90, one may get punished for this by a strong player, but this is not the case so much at G/90.

The sum of this game is that in time-pressure I began to play both plan-less, and opportunistic chess.