Maybe I should preface this game. I had a headache before the game (chessed out? Yeah), so I took 2 tylenol and 2 aspirin and was quite relieved that I was initially paired with Shirley because I really didn’t feel up for a game. Well, Anthea never called or anything to say she wasn’t coming, so the pairings changed and now I am playing Richard, who beat Imre 1900 last month.
I don’t know how thoughts swirl through my head without getting played, but it’s obviously due to lack of focus.
I thought about playing 20…g5, knowing that he would have to mess up his kingside to dislodge my knight, and I could play ..ke7 as well – result? Didn’t play it. Partly, it must have been because I was playing against lower-rated, but I also realized that at G/90 I really have to be pumped to play a good game. In fact, it wasn’t until I had half an hour left on my clock that I finally decided that I needed something, sugar or coffee to get me going and purchased/drank two cups of coffee; of course, it takes longer than that for coffee to kick in.
Anyway, I was hope-chessing it big-time. I think a big part of the problem is that it is too easy to be self-congratulatory that you have saved “X” much time on the clock. For example, I had spent only 8 minutes playing my first 12 moves. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the chess board doesn’t give a damn about our clocks, yes that is truly unfortunate.
I felt like …c5 was a blunder, but I have such a hard time willing myself to sit tight and defend, particularly against 1500 player (believe me, if I had known how it would turn out against him, I would have paid a lot more attention to this game). My buddy tells me he is leaving for the East coast – well, he hasn’t left yet! (in Colorado, the rumor-patrol here likes to announce things months in advance).
I looked at the saving moves such as 26..Bh3, 27.Rd1, but wasn’t taking anything too deeply/seriously. After 27…RxR, 28.RxR Rd8, 29.e5 Nf8, 30.Rc7 Rd7 holds. Was I looking this deep? Not at all, I was too busy worrying about my clock and making moves which don’t lose right away quickly.
The whole hand-wringing over the clock thing has reached it’s apex. What really matters is that to play at G/90 you really have to be charged up before the game, like my buddy Alex was. If I don’t drink a couple cups of coffee or something, and I’m not focused, I can’t really play recognizable chess. Deep lines do need to be considered, and strong moves cannot be passed up, while pushing things off for later.
Clock-watching chess has no soul. G/90 is a sport. I didn’t want to have to drink all that coffee and now stay up all night, but it appears there is no other option unless I don’t care about winning chess games. 6pm is really a late, and unnatural start time. G/90 combined with 6pm start time is truly f*cked, but that’s just the way it is. My opponents rarely look tired, so I can’t be either.
Not only was my opponent focused, but I felt he played incredibly strong for his rating. I felt that I could have drawn with 27…Nc8? but he even knew that that was a blunder because of 28..Nb7, which would have only added to my already healthy blunder total in this game. He dropped a pawn in the opening, but after that the blunder-parade was all on me.