August 2012 – Final Round

After blundering in time-pressure last week, and having a record dismal tournament, I figured at the last second that I should still play this week just to get at least one game in and to test my new time goal out; namely, 30/60 G/30.

Round 5

Well, I wasn’t intentionally trying to play overly quick. Like I say, my only goal for this game was really to play 30 moves in an hour.

BTW, my move 6…Nd4? – Fruit doesn’t like this move, but I’ve always wanted to try it and never have, not even online, so I figured that this was the time to do it. Of course I looked at c3,d4, but it didn’t seem to me at the time to be any weaker than other alternatives.

13.Ne4?? I consider this to be a big booboo because to me the game is over after this, he know longer has the 4-2 queenside pawn majority – it does cut out any …Bxh2+ action, but that is not saying much, positionally speaking.

16.b4?? I could have played the move I played, which was 16..Bd4 instantly, but I spent 8 minutes hear looking for ..Bxf2+ mates – trying to find the quickest win already.

17…Qxc2. Already, 17…Rxf2!, 18.RxR Qxc2 is a quicker win for Black, but I found it difficult to justify spending much time on this move when another convincing continuation was so evident.

From here on out the moves came rather quick, and his RxN?? blunder was an instant move on his part.

This may seem like a “nothing” win on my part, but it was important for me to “represent” since William is a student of Expert player/coach Lee Simmons, and Lee has his students choose gambit openings. Actually, it was kind of cool when I got there, William had this position setup on the board, thinking White was in trouble, dropping a pawn, and asked me what I should do. I blew the board up in two moves, showing that it was won for White. That was more impressive than my game. haha.

For once, I spent around an hour after the game walking around, watching other players games.

I didn’t understand why my rating ended up only dropping to 1703, while RollingPawns rating has dropped much lower seemingly more quickly. I think it’s because I had one opponent who was 1925, so that when I lost to this player not only did I not lose any ratings points, but may have gained 2 points out of it. If RollingPawns loses to only 1600’s it makes his result look weaker, but throw in the fact that I lost to a 1925 player (whom I had beaten 4x in a row at one point), that makes it look like I lost in some tougher tournament.

Time-pressure Blunder

This game was played last Wednesday: Round 4

I have to hand it to Daniel, he didn’t try to blitz me until I started blitzing. I spent a long time on 23.e5, but the moves after that were blitzed out by both sides. White is simply winning this endgame after 26.Kg1 I saw the blunder as soon as I looked back up at the board after writing my move down. Of course I looked over at his king, hoping he wouldn’t see it, but that doesn’t work when you give a lower-rated player the chance of a lifetime to take down a much higher-rated player – that works better in street-chess than tournament chess. Now that I look at it, I probably could have won even with 26.RxN! (all of his pawns are loose) Not that I need to do that, but there was certainly no reason to lose from this position.

I was still trying to write my moves down as I played, and finished with three and a half minutes remaining. If this were 30/90, G/30, this would be a routine win for me. I felt after this game that I need to play 30/60, G/30. One might think that at this time-control (G/90) one has 1 hour more than at G/30, but that isn’t exactly true because at G/30 you miss the whole endgame, so even G/30 is really G/60 if you added any kind of semi-respectable endgame to it.

Not Playing at Full Capacity

In Round 3, against Ken Macrae, I would have been happy with just a draw, despite the ratings difference. I looked around me when I got there and almost everyone but a few of us had that look like they didn’t want to make direct eye-contact, they were sharks looking for fish to eat. Well, me and Ken didn’t have that look, but Ken played anything but like his nice demeanor, and even he was nervous to get the game started a couple of times, then finally waiting for me to let him know when to start.

Well, I was chessed out but was feeling like “Hey, I shouldn’t need to drink coffee because I am not going to bed after work anymore.” Well, I really needed to wake up and smell the coffee going into this game. In hindsight, I wish I had stopped to buy some, but I did get my wish of being able to go straight to sleep when I got home – a first.

This game was all about move 15; I spent 7 minutes on 15..Qc6?? before I moved just to move. When Ken played 15.Qe3, my gut reaction was to play 15….b5, 16.Be2, but I had no plan. I looked at 15…Qa5, and then 15…Qc6, not liking it but wanting to get a move in. I fully realized that he had an attack and I did not, and that was unnerving, but at this point I was feeling like I was going to get a headache trying to calculate his attack out (I had one nevertheless by the end of the game).

I believe if I had been drinking coffee, and I had spent 30 minutes on this move, I would have played 15…b5 and then 16…f5, never seeing the bolt from the blue that was coming next, but just understanding that my position was all about stopping his attack (I did understand this at the time, but I was sort of “beat” energy-wise. After the game, Fruit still did not see 16..f5, which is rather unbelievable, since that is White’s only plan in the position, and is in conjunction with the ..b5 move (which it doesn’t exactly see as first choice either, more like 3rd choice, but even Fruit kept missing the bolt from the blue!).

As if it were’t strange enough that I knew my position was already resignable after Rxh6, I spent 19 minutes mostly debating between ..f6 and ..f5. ..f6 would have been better but it around -3.5 or so anyway), he spent over 40 minutes on his next move Nd4, which let me tell you, after playing G/30 the day before and having to leave the board finally because I couldn’t take waiting for the execution anymore, …Nd4 was pretty darn obvious by this point. In fact, the rest of the game was just as obvious. It was so strange and alarming that a 1300 or 1400 player would spend 40 minutes on a move. That is not how lower-rated players usually roll. He played like a class A player against me.

G/30 is a very different beast than real chess and I feel that it screwed me up both energy-wise and in not expecting that someone could slow the game down for the win. Gunnar only took about 20 minutes for the game against me last night for example.

The other thing about my tired blunder, he used those 7 minutes to plan his ..Rxh6. In fact, he spent less than 5 seconds on this rook “sac”!! (of course, I couldn’t take it, so that’s all he had to see). My point is with all that nervous energy, in conjunction with my slow, tired moves, he got to think out his attack on my time, and on his time. Between the two of us, we spent an hour on one move!

Ken was once weak, tactically, so I’ve been telling him for the last 2 years that all he should study is tactics, and now my advice has proved me oh so right. I even told him after the game that I wanted to avoid a tactical duel with him and win positionally, but I chose the wrong opening, played it badly, and played right into his pet-system as White. The London system is the opening I know least about in chess because the GMs of the past almost never played it, or I certainly didn’t look at those games.

I didn’t take Ken so seriously after he lost quickly to Rhett last week, and then was smiling about it after that game – I was disappointed in him. I should have remembered that Ken is and has been a chess teacher for some school program!

Another weird thing about this game, I am just looking at it optically, is that the queen in defense simply got in the way. Imagine if I had played …Qa4 (almost did); once the bishop is gone, he may have wasted a tempo defending a2, and now my king has flight squares on the other side of the board! That extra tempo could have gone toward ..Bxg2, and I oh how I wished I could have played this move, OTB, but didn’t have the tempo to do it with.

As a sidenote, I bought “I Play Against Pieces” yesterday for around $21 on Amazon and now it is up to $52, and the next price up is $133. A few copies got snatched up. So, I can’t be that dumb. hehe. Someone there is selling it for $1700. hahaha.

G/30 Quad

This quad was dual-rated, which is why I went, wanted to have a chance to play some of the people who have been, for one reason or another dodging me lately (there is one G/30 rated quad the second week of every month, apparently), and perhaps gain back some rating points.

The tournament both was and wasn’t a disappointment. It was definitely a disappointment in that a 5 second delay does not an endgame make; I would like to see a 10 second delay, instead.

I’ll add the games as I get a chance to.

Round 1, as Black Drew Mark.

Mark is sitting on his 1700 floor after his last tournament, also a quad. He should have won this endgame, and yet it was I who had winning chances near the end! The game went on another 20 moves or so after the end of the given score. I forced a draw, was really just looking to get a draw out of this game anyway, and was inspired by RollingPawns when I played ..Be7, or in the immortal words of Al Davis “Just draw, baby!” hehe. Kidding.

I should have lost this game by not playing 26..g5, or what I like to refer to as “What Jeremy Silman would do.” I thought about injecting some risk into the game with 14..g5 or 14..Bb6, but at the last second realized that my goal was a draw and this risk stuff has had the nasty habit of blowing up in my face recently. I think that the opening-duel stuff is only good if you are booked up on a line, otherwise play the ..Be7 variation in the first place, for example.

Round 2, as White won against Isaac.

Yes, this game did get played til the mate, but that wasn’t the startling part of course. Isaac was doing his homework during the game when he lost the piece. I played h3, and wondered as I was playing it “What about ..Bxh3”. Isaac literally played ..Bxh3 as soon as I pressed my clock, which I began grinning about just as quickly. I could have played this ending even more strongly I thought, as could he, but the job got done in the end.

Round 3, as White lost on time to Gunnar, it was either just before or as I was pressing the clock.

Notes: When I played a3, I was hoping he wouldn’t play ..Be7, he gave me an advantage by not doing this. I was going to play Bd3xNf5 but decided to castle first, losing the exchange. When he castled queenside, I figured my chances were still probably just as good if not better, just because of my more extensive chess experience.

The engine liked a6, jamming his bishop to a8. I thought about this, that an engine would like it, but didn’t see it as being concrete after a …Ne7 move, but Black is still in a terrible bind with a6.

Like I told him after the game, I didn’t even really want to win back the exchange, but was better at that point. I refrained from NxBb5 because I was more worried about the pawn recapture, but he was going to correctly take back with the queen, which would have given me winning chances, although objectively it is a draw. My final move is a time-pressure blunder because just as in the simul, I miss that I have that defense with Qe1, if …Qc1. He saw that ..Qc2 was winning, after my blunder, and I was out of time anyway.

The way the game went, he was blundering in my time-pressure, but he was blundering so quickly that I was blundering in his faux “time-pressure”.

I still need to look at positions after the pawn recapture because the engine is showing that I obviously don’t know how to attack with my queen correctly from this position. It sucks that I am so freaked-out by when an opponent’s queen remains on the board late in the game.

It was definitely disappointing to contemplate the ending of the last game on the 5 second delay, and yet I played endings in all 3 games on the 5 second delay. So, I feel the 5 second delay is a big deal at G/30 and I would sincerely desire it to be lengthened. In the last game, he punched his clock and it always started counting from 4, but it just seemed like a second was missing and I was losing that second or more on every single move.

I really don’t see why this tournament couldn’t have started half an hour earlier, at 7:30 pm, then there would have been time to add that 10 second delay to the games. I find it disconcerting that people are there playing blitz for half an hour before the tournament started (I didn’t, wanted to save my energy instead). It just seems like there is no excuse. During the rounds I could hear clocks beeping with the inevitable “Drats!” to follow, by one of the players.

On a side note, I sort of flipped-out when I read on Spraggett’s blog that Svetozar Gligoric had died and immediately ordered a copy of his book “I Play Against Pieces” (before the price of it gets driven out of existence). I don’t play his openings or imitate his style at all, but I appreciate a great book written by a famous player who can really shed insight into what well-played chess is about.

I also purchased “Tigran Petrosian His Life and Games – Vasiliev”
because Petrosian just died, too. hehe.

Unmistakeable Game

In Round 2, I knew that I was going to be drawing from the bottom of the ratings ladder, and I left little doubt in this game about who was the higher-rated player.

Shirley isn’t quite as bad as her rating would suggest, after all she did go 2.5/3 a tournament ago and went up over 200 points from the 600’s (ouch). Still, we’ve seen her holding her own late in games against Dean and Mark for instance, so this win felt good because the drought had been so long and senseless.

I finished with 9 minutes on my clock. From move 21 with Nf4 to the end, I only spent 5 minutes on my clock. Imre 1900, lost to Richard 1400 on time and position, so one can never count their chickens ahead of time, but this game felt good to me the whole way through.

FICS game

It’s nice to know that I can drop a piece and still win against a lower-rated FICS player. 😀
FICS Game 1

Here’s a game where I notice 19.RxR RxR, 20.Be7 just after I move, but I show that I can still work bad openings play out of a point.
FICS Game 2

This second game is my natural style when I am winning. It’s “small-ball” as they call it in baseball. Get one runner home by bunting and stealing rather than try and load the bases while risking strike-outs and double-plays. I also see this as Petrosian’s style – flashy is much harder for me to pull off OTB.

For once, got the post-game analysis right

…but not the game, of course.

Round 1

I debated between 16..e4? and 16…Na5, 17.Bb3 (saw that this was forced), NxBb3, 18.axN a6. I saw and almost played this line, but it looked a little “boring” so I went for more with a bad pawn sac, yet again.

When I played …Bg4, it somehow escaped my notice that Nf3-g4-d5 would block my pawn. I almost played ..h6 instead of Nd4, but I realized that the pawn was gone anyhow, and I had messed up. I don’t have enough time to calculate some things out, so I believe I sort of “guess” to save some time, but guessing usually means I end up with the nothing there that I saw all along – no fresh insight after playing it, it’s just a bad move.

After the game, I realized that I blew my chance on move 11, could have played …Rf4 here, and I didn’t even notice the pin if 12.Bd3 Bf5 -+/=+. Once again, I guess and rushed this move, hoping that there would still be something of an attack left for me.

I thought after the game that I should not look for big combos, but simply play the …Na5 move and go with my initiative. It “looks” like a draw, but I can play out my initiative and possibly win if he blunders just one more tempo somewhere later on.

..h6 or ..Bf5 would have also been better than the pawn sac, obviously, and had wished I had at least gotten in ..h6 there for later on.

My opponent didn’t analyze with me after the game. That seems to be the rule these days, get up smugly with your ratings points and ask no questions.

Unfortunately, Wednesdays are accelerated in pairings in Round 1 (only), which means that Round 2 is like the “bozo” round, if you lose your Round 1 game in the upper section. Luckily, it’s a 5 round tournament, so anything can still happen.

Perhaps the only cool thing about this game is that little Daniel Herman stopped by and offered to analyze the game with me. I showed him that ..Rf4 move, but with ..Bg4 instead of ..Bf5 follow-up. We looked at that move maybe 2 minutes tops because Alex wanted to go, but I’m happy to have looked at that position with him. It’s a very deep line that Fruit shows, perhaps one day I can pull that sort of thing off at G/90.