Colorado Springs City Championship – Final Round

First, I want to say that I added the link to last weeks’ game.

I’ll be glad when this week is over. too much chess! I played blitz for a few hours after because they said “Where do you have to go?” Actually, nowhere, it’s just that I play 3 days a week this week, study, blog this, and I have to go into work an hour early every day this week, so that by Thursday first round, after hanging out with my friend who sleeps all day before rounds and has lots to talk about all up until the time of play, I’ll be sure to have LOTS of mental energy remaining for my Thursday game. hehe.

Let’s see, for the final round I played Alejandro (goes by “Alex” – we have 3 people here now who go by the name of Alex), who stopped playing rated chess a year and half ago because he _wants_ his rating to go down. He was getting winning positions against Paul in blitz and he wasn’t even castling. Meanwhile, Paul was stomping on my every mistake in blitz. Alejandro was doing quite well against me in blitz, got the better of me.

Colorado Springs City Championship – Final Round

Ironically, I had a winning position in this game, but as I told him afterwards his mistake was to blitz me in my time-pressure! I had around 6 seconds at the end, so that the scoresheet is not accurate. This was an unrated tournament. I tied for 2nd with Dan, last year’s winner (he was very nice and congratulated me). I won $20. Buck took sole first place with 3.5/4.

Sloppy Endgame Play Rides Again!

Thursdays October 2012 – Final Round

Once again, there was some nifty lines of analysis going on behind the scenes.

22…Re2? was an ego move – some other players were watching the game and I wanted to bang something out, yet I had not finished calculating when I moved here and was rudely surprised at how weak this move had been. Fruit confirms, likes at first and then sees same lines I saw and changes mind. Before I had played this move, I had already seen that the ho-hum 22…BxN, 23.BxB g6 and then possibly ..Re2 threat was very strong, and is. Wasting all of this time on choosing and calculating this one middlegame plan caused me to repeatedly botch the ending, where I could have saved a pawn instead of trading pawns.

After the game, I found the late ..Be1 plan instead of the 47..Kg3?? plan, which was played in time-trouble, even though I remembered what had happened to RollingPawns in that one loss even before playing this move.

I finished the game with 3 seconds remaining to Alek’s hour, and it cost me at many turns in a big way in the ending. However, all’s well that ends well, as they say. Still, I need to spend more time going over my games.

A Game Which Didn’t Disappoint

It went back and forth a bit in time-pressure, plenty of bad moves, but an interesting game nevertheless. Round 4

We both stepped into the “time-warp” machine for this game.
After move 7, White has 45 minutes remaining (yes, half his time), Black has 86 minutes.
Then I got sucked into this space-time-warp vortex as well and by move 11 had 43 minutes remaining, and by move 14 had 32 minutes remaining.

At one point, I had so much extra (bored) time to think that I had planned out the line 7.Nf5 NxN, 8.BxBc5 d6, 9.Ba3 Nh4 putting a bind on his g2 and f3 squares, Which Fruit actually liked! (Fruit saw it also after the first move). That’s amazing that I was dreaming and yet actually not “dreaming” at all.

10…Ng4?! was an air-headed move because I didn’t realize that I wasn’t threatening ..NxBe3 because after fxNe3 recapture, I will drop my f7 pawn. I did it because I felt like I needed to materialize my attacking advantage before he could consolidate his position with Na3-c2, which seemingly defends everything important. Still, after h3 and knight back to e5, there would be a weakness to attack in front of this king, possibly by ..g5-g4.

11…Qg6 was an attempt to exploit his time-pressure (I made a valiant attempt, while still keeping score). I correctly realized that ..QxQg3 followed by ..NxBe3 was best, but I was playing his clock now as well as the board, hence my next few moves.

After move 15, I felt that he might (hope-chess) fall into the exact trap which he did in the game QxQg6 followed by NxNc6, due to his time-pressure.

After I played 25..Nd3 rather quickly, already seeing the win, he had only 16 or so seconds remaining. After 31.Re1, he has 7 seconds remaining. What is so utterly remarkable is that he not only didn’t flag (1 second remaining to my 1:20 at the end), but he actually made me mate him with no more than a rook and kings remaining.

I can’t recreate the game past the point given because my king somehow had an extra temp on this position, got back to the queenside, liquidated all pawns there and even gave him the b-pawn for the trouble. I had 2 pawns, easy win, but was playing so quickly that I accidentally promoted the pawn a move early and he simply took it. Luckily, I had the Lucenna bridge to keep his king out so that I could promote my final pawn for his rook.

Crazy game, but lots of lessons in there. 😀

Nobody’s Fool

For the first time, I played a game against Peter Grigg, and I felt extremely confident to have White and see 1..e5 played.

Colorado Springs City Championship – Round 3

I overdid it for this game, though. I considered playing the Spanish Exchange, saving the Scotch for a rated game, but I wanted to make extra sure that I was going to be playing with two points next week, so I brought out the big gun.

I spent exactly 9 minutes on this game. In fact, I saw the winning combination about 15 seconds after he played …Qb6, and if I had wanted to could have played my move with only 6 minutes spent on the game. Since it was winning, I spent 2 1/2 minutes looking at variations having to do with Ng5 and Qh6 (as well as b4, which I already knew was nothing by the time he played ..Qb6, but decided to examine it fully anyway), just to see if there were anything even better.

So, for this game, I finally decided to take a B-multivitamin earlier today, and then half a gingko-biloba before the game, since I was already being a little bit absent-minded and normally go into my games “clean” and then of course lose or barely survive. So, I overdid it for this one.

After the game, I showed Peter all kinds of positional traps as well as the safest way to play this opening for Black. Of course, this meant that I needed to rush home and come up with some new “opening ammo” for next time that I trot out the Scoth, which I did.

The resignation may seem premature, but I saw that his only move was ..Qd6 (if he wants to keep the queen and not get mated) to protect against Qd8 back-rank checks. He also saw that he had back-rank issues and probably figured that QxQ cxQ, NxRf8 was no fun to play on in.

New Opponent, Same Result

It wasn’t this Round 3 game didn’t go well for me, it’s more that I felt my opponent sort of slew-footed me.

I can’t recall having a headache before during a chess-game, but my brain was feeling like it wanted to “tap-out” once I had achieved a visibly winning position, and It was obvious to anyone watching me as I kept pressing my eyes and keeping them shut, etc. But still, I was really okay, just wanted to get the game over with by this point.

So I leave the table for the second time, the restroom is closed so come back right away and already nearly 2 minutes is gone from my clock, so I know that he must have made the pawn-sac move as soon as I had gotten up. At this point, I didn’t want to analyze anymore, and didn’t in fact, just thought I had a mating net, so recaptured on f1 with the queen, only to then notice that his queen gets back in time, and I don’t have time to skewer his queen with my rook because his rook is chasing my queen all around and thus wins my d6 pawn anyway. So, QxR, which went from +1.5 White to -1.5 White in one move, was an attempt by me, with 12 minutes remaining, and just not having as much in tank left as him for time-pressure, to blitz out a win.

His pawn-sac was the perfect psychological/physiological ploy for the position, and it really took me by surprise, and in fact so did the post-mortem. I was feeling mentally groggy by 8:30 pm, and it was taking me too long to find the moves, even considering that I had 12 minutes remaining. He was absolutely immediately going to sac his Bd6 for the pawn, and then activate all of his pieces to pin me down tactically.

I went over this with Fruit and Black can even get a ..Qf5 move in, taking one of my bishops, but if I know to save the ..Bg4-f3 bishop, then I am winning because of Qxd5 Nc6, Qg8+ kany, QxRh7 for instance. It was going to be that type of situation. My Rb1 is having big troubles developing, as is my queen which is overloaded protecting both the Bg4 and Rb1 (back-rank skewer as well as against a Black queen on that diagonal).

It was weird how he blitzed out the post-mortem moves instantly, I did not see that coming. I play Bg4 forking Kc8 and a Bh3, but he instantly moves his king and wins my other bishop pinned on the f-file in front of my king after a ..g5 pawn push. I probably would have been up a piece, winning, with hypothetically 2 minutes on my clock and needing to extricate my position, whereas one false move and I would lose on time, and he was playing for this specifically.

When he sacked the pawn, he had thought that his ..Rh7 was on the h8 square, so that it could swing over to the f-file immediately if needed. So he said that he knew that he had blundered because of that. What I didn’t see coming is how well that he could blitz out all of those moves before I even had time to adjust to or see what was going on in the position.

It was a great learning experience, but once again I felt all along that this was a classic win for me at 30/90, G/30 because I can simply find all the safe moves, which I am unbelievably good at when I know that I have a safe-harbor at move 30 (I’ve won games before making 20 moves to get to move 40 in under 3 minutes). When I don’t have that goal, I am suddenly factoring my energy-level into the game, knowing that I need to keep more time because there is no safe-harbor time-control. It screws with my game, but I have the satisfaction of both knowing that I would be playing this game quite well at a slow-tournament, and getting to see another players’ plan for how they plan to try to take advantage of both me and my position to find their win.

Now I remember what happened in this game. I thought that ..Qd8 was not possible because my Bg5 was covering that square and thus was mating the Black king, or equivalent. What I deliberately decided to do was to not bother calculating this sequence out and just blitz out the moves. Of course, his rook is taking my Bg5 first. If I had an extra tempo here, or even later, I am winning, but this is what happens when a player decides not to calculate, they can’t see who is getting their stuff in first! Really, I was mentally tired though, it’s not like me at all to not want to calculate and to simply rip off moves like that.

The part that I didn’t understand in the post-mortem was that White too can sac pieces because after Qxd5, Black has back-rank issues, and to play ..a6 would be to allow White’s rook to swing out with the corresponding tempo. Also, the queen has enormous power to keep Black’s pieces “honest” and at home defending their king, just as he had planned to do to my king. This has been my most outstanding chess weakness, not having a feel for the queen, particularly in opposite-attacking situations.

It always seems like a nightmare

…until one plugs the game into “the kibitzer” (as Alex calls chess engines).

Ken didn’t show up or call off, so I got a full-point forfeiture, as did William, but this game was still rated, and we played it at G/60.

Round 3

I thought I had threw away my win and had lost with …Ba5, after Bd3, but it turns out that the best White has is a draw by perpetual with Bxh7+ (which oddly enough he said that he was playing for! – yet didn’t play it). My mind was more in panic-mode and I had not considered the perpetual. After the game, however, it did dawn on me that he needed to get that check in right away, but during the game I thought I was toasted, and the fact that it was only G/60 was affecting my confidence (but really, I should play much better than this, missed too many tactics).

I felt that ..gxNf6 was winning, but simply didn’t have enough time to calculate it all and needed to play it safe, but then he inexplicably gave me a piece for no reason and the rest was a wrap-up.

BTW, my ChessTempo rating is currently at 1750, have gotten the last 17 in a row correct, but I missed seemingly every long continuation in this actual game.

I think in real games you have to calculate deeply as an open-ended proposition, just to achieve a higher-rating. Whereas, with tactics puzzles, you know that all of the drama will be taken out of a position after the next threee moves or so, so that is a close-ended proposition.

Here is an example: I miss 9…Qh4+, 10.g3 NxBd2, and now if gxQ, then NxQf3+ wins a piece and a tempo. Otherwise, KxN Qxd4 (which I had been eyeing). That is reprehensible that I miss this, even for G/60. If this were a job, I would be fired, and if my opponent have given two sh*ts about this game, he probably would have found the Bxh7+ draw on the appropriate move, as well. lol.

..Ba5 was a pompous move, I knew that ..cxd4 was a simply advantage (and quite large according to Fruit). After the game, I thought that …Qg5+ was best, and he said he would have played …Qe3, whereupon I said I would have exchanged queens, and played ..cxd4; once again, big advantage.

How could I see so shallowly OTB, but not when solving tactics puzzles? Why do I insist that low-rated players should merely shovel me their pieces into my wheel-barrow because of their low-rating. Why do I sweat a game so badly where I played it so poorly?

Colorado Springs City Championship – Round 2

Well, for Round 2 I figured that I got the weakest pairing and so decided to go for the Slav, which can be quick and/or brutal.

Michael has taken Lessons from Expert Paul A. in the recent past, and he seems to be a fixture at the CSCC, but is waiting to “get good”, if I remember correctly, before playing in a rated tournament (Don’t we all want to start out as Expert?! 😉 ).

I looked like Alekhine on every move in the post-mortem as well, naturally. I showed him he could have played 9.Qc2, then I played 9…e5?, whereupon he took 10.dxe?? Qd2+!!, 11.QxQ cxQ, 12.Kd1 (I even got a ..Nb3 fork in there) etc, etc. The moral is that every attacking move looks like a brilliancy when there is a significant ratings mismatch.

After the game I was thinking “Wonderful, I only spent 15min 7sec on my clock!”, but then later I thought “OMG, I spent 15min. and 7sec on my clock!” Truthfully, yes I could have spent less time, but I just moved ..c3, didn’t want to think about it, anything but beating myself up later for not playing such a move, know what I mean?