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.

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4 thoughts on “Another clock-stomper is born

  1. You had good chances. Move g4 often gets you in trouble. It was OK until Be2 then it all went down. It’s hard to play that position with a little time left.
    Yeah, it looks like lower rated just wait for us being tired or not in good psychological shape.

  2. Yes, g4 got me into complications at a bad time on the clock. Fischer played g4 a lot in closed Lopez sorts of positions. I should have taken a page from your games and played Nh2, allowed the trade of light bishops (had considered it a lot), and then played g4 after. It lessens the pressure but White has plenty of positional concessions from Black already, namely the two knights misplaced. I am going for too much in a G/90 format. 😉

    I need to narrow down my plans. It’s like I am pursuing four separate plans when a single plan is already overkill when it comes to defeating 1500 player. It becomes even more critical to do this when it comes to defensive plans/positions.

    This is a good time to try changing our game, like moving faster, sacrificing more, openings, endings, or whatever it is which needs more emphasis in our games. 🙂 Because our ratings right now are ridiculous compared to our understanding of the game. I already have an Expert’s understanding of the game, I am simply not executing even as well as a 1900 player.

    Yes, Be2 was a bad move because it let him take on e2, and then the rook becomes a tempo target for the pawn recapture on f3. Rg3 was the proper move, to keep from getting mated down g and h files by rooks, but it’s actually a forced draw for Black after ..Nf3 after that anyway. So taking the a-pawn was one plan which went nowhere. You’ve motivated me to consider this game again! 🙂

    It was +.6 if I had played exf5, but only even after I allowed Black to take on e4.

    The critical idea was to play 13.h3 Bh5, 14.Qc2, and now White has prevented ..f5 from coming in with any effect, or at all, then White has to keep locking down the screws positionally, which takes me time to find/play, as I am not as in touch with these types of positions as when I played the Ruy as White. So the Bd3 retreat was better than Be2. Also, it made no sense to play Bc4, If d5 were the best follow-up at some point.

  3. G/90 isn’t exactly a break neck pace. You realized you had a won endgame with that a pawn and then started playing mechanical chess going for trades when you could and it got you burnt. I don’t think Alek’s Nxg4 was exactly good but I could definitely tell you felt comfortable afterwards. Just gotta make sure you’re using your extra time to calculate the proper defenses then the endgame is certainly won.

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