Coffeehouse Chess

in my final round game of the month against Rhett, I went for a weird attack. My attack was based on intuition, I had calculated that I had had nothing concrete but went for it anyway because at G/90, if you look at something long enough you are almost forced to play it if it isn’t an immediate blunder (for time limitation reasons). I say this because at 40/2, G/1 when I did well it seemed that most of what I looked at was never played.

22.Qg4?? was virtually the end of the game, but even after 22.Qh3 e5, Black’s two extra unopposed center-pawns carry through remarkable according to Fruit even though White can create scary-looking positions, in part because White’s king is no spring-chicken either.

33.Kb1? isn’t good, but Rhett spent a lot of time here to find winning lines, and we both knew that the pawn push could be stopped (Black has ample queenside and center pawns to carry the day).

If anything positive, I would classify this as an intuition-strengthening game. Once again, I had not had sleep in almost 24 hours while playing this game, not even so much as 1 minute nap. I felt fine, but perhaps it explains my dreamy choice of play a bit more.

Josh Bloomer Simul

Master Josh Bloomer vs Alexander Logan Freeman

Alex should have created a fortress with one knight defending his backward pawn and drawn.

Master Josh Bloomer vs Brian Rountree

I thought I was losing on move 35 when I blundered, anyway, because I had planned 35…RxRe1 but then noticed his 36.QxRd8+ thinking he would then be up a rook after recapturing my other rook, not realizing or seeing that I could play 36…Re1-e8 defending. It seems that defending is the most nerve-wracking and therefore takes me more time. There were fewer boards left at this time so I made my blunder move relatively more quickly than I had been playing before.

Hypnotic King-Walk

My Round 2 pairing for this month was against Katie, who has been up and coming but is also a player who I’ve felt that I match up well against.

I had no special preparation for the opening, other than to play “Russian-like” and give her some challenges to throw her off her game, or more precisely her opening. Such was the case with an early ..Nd4.

Move 17.d4+? was the critical move/moment in this game. I had three choices, and first mostly ruled out 17…Rc7, which she thought was best after the game, but I saw that she could push the rook around starting with Be5.

The second choice I looked at and felt was right, but couldn’t calculate conceptualize it, was 17…a5!, which was winning. I kept coming back to this move, but didn’t find the purpose to it after 18.bxa Bc5+, 19.d4 Here I had to look deeper and see that 19..Bd6! Now White’s bishop is blocked in, can’t trade itself for the Nf6, can’t go to e5 attacking a Rc7 for example. Also, Bd6 is threatening to attack the f4-g3 pawn chain beginning with 20..Nh5 for example.

Beyond this, Black can can continue after 19..Bd6! with 20..Bc7! and is now raking White’s queenside pawns with the bishop pair and winning both of them, for a winning advantage. After the game is when I began to notice that I should have noticed how the bishop pair is potentially destroying White’s queenside (pawns).

It probably didn’t help that I have had weird sleeping patterns, like sleeping only 1 and 1/2 hours before going to work in the morning, which is what I did in Round 1 against my lower-rated opponent. Sleep really helps when it comes to the ability to conceptualize what is happening at the board.

In the end, I went with 17..d4+ because it was easier for me to follow the point behind it, and I was hoping for some cheapo against the king. I instantly played 18..Bc6??, which isn’t such a wise thing to do under 1900 – we probably aren’t strong enough to know which moves should be played instantly.

Of course I had considered playing 18…Nd5, but didn’t notice until after the bishops were traded on c6 that Black could simply play BxNf6..BxB, Ra2 and she is simply a pawn up in a winning position, which is what she played. I have no good excuse though because as pointed out earlier, I should have seen that this BxNf6 was a main freeing move for her position all along in just about any decent variation for White.

After the game she revealed that the purpose of the king maneuver was to bring her king to c2? Which was a blunder in our skittles post-game analysis. During the game, I thought she was pushing the king to entice me to blunder while going after her king, or threatening me with a draw in some sense, by having an aggressively posted king. Well, I was obviously looking at this position from a psychological perspective rather than from a concrete or conceptual perspective.

In the future I need to stay competitively tough in this early middlegame stage where more conceptualization needs to take place, and not simply hope for tactical cheapos, which is probably a big problem with the seeing the game of chess as 99% tactics school of thought.

Thursdays July 2012 – Round 1

Round 1

23.NxNg6? In time-pressure, I calculated 23.f3 NxN, 24.fxB Nxe4, 25.Qc2 not wanting to determine whether both hanging pieces cannot be simultaneously defended (or further attack). They can’t be both defended, so that 23.NxNg6 went from nearly a +1 advantage, according to Fruit, to an even game. I saw that I had missed winning a pawn, but then I guess I missed seeing a pawn win again! Else, I can’t explain how the position later was reached.

My goal was to try and win a positional game, get some experience with that, but I really struggled with it.

In the opening, I had thought about playing 5.c4 Nf6, 6.Nc3 and then regretted not having done it; whereas Fruit says that. 5.Nf3 with 6.NxNf6 is strong, anyway.

I knew that I had the majority attack, but then couldn’t figure on how to play that. I could play it rather equalishly, starting with Bc3 (to support b4) instead of Nf1?

Blitz Game

I haven’t played a blitz on FICS in quite a while, but people still blog about the value of blitz chess, so I decided to play one.

I played what I thought would be a winning sacrifice, saw that Black was taking my pawn on h3, but missed a royal skewer.

I still think the sac is sound though.
25.Kh2. Bd7 or Bc8, 26.Rg1 Rg8, 27.Qh6+ Ke8, 28.Rge1 any. There follows 29.Qh7 threatening QxRg8 so 29…Rf8 where 30.Bxg6 sac should win quickly (mate in 2). If 25…Bc8 and 28..Kd7 plan, then 29.Qf6 is going to win because the knight can’t move or it’s Qxf7+, and otherwise Qxf7..Rf8, Bf5+. RxNe7 QxNe7 Bf5+ is winning the Ne7 with check. I knew that ..g5 was a blunder before Black even played it, but White is also threatening to play g5! Is it my imagination, or has Nezhmetdinov’s games been rubbing off on me? 🙂

BTW, there is no round of games at the club on the 4th of July.

Also, if you thought GMs were unbeatable by class players, this guy comes pretty close (he’s a Nezh fan). I would consider this endgame won for White, but he agreed to a draw.

They were playing at 40/2, G/1 time controls.