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.

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2 thoughts on “Not Playing at Full Capacity

  1. I believe you should play more active against these creepy Bf4, Bg5 openings, which are trying to exploit the fact we are not prepared for them.
    Your first mistake was not Qc6, but O-O. You easily could wait until he castles, castling kingside with open h-line is somewhat suicidal I think.
    Then I would not want to be Black here, even yes b5, f5, but it is not easy to see.
    You definitely do not look as yourself in this game, too much chess before.

  2. Yes. I got to the move …Qc6, and I was drawing a blank and didn’t want to think anymore, I didn’t want to figure out the position. I would have been happy for a draw at that point, which also means that we are probably losing in positions where we feel this way.

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