Tactical Misfire and Misevalauation

Round 3

I was somewhat tired going into this game from the online blitz games that I had played the last couple of days – for some reason, study doesn’t burn me out anywhere near as much as playing does. In fact, blitz burns me out a lot more than relatively leisurely-paced slower games do.

I decided to throw caution to the wind and play the Open Sicilian against Paul, which is an opening I’ve always lost to against him. Paul says after a few moves “This is the same opening we played last time.” I corrected him, but was thinking “He doesn’t remember the three Alapin Sicilian games I played against him, where I won all three? Hmm, perhaps I could have gotten in a fourth win with that as well.” Instead, we have the reverse where I am going for the third or fourth loss against Paul’s Taimanov Sicilian. I get my chances in these games, but the key is to get Paul to make the crazy move first, and not to step in it yourself.

I thought that I was better after 13…e5, which explains why I went for this faulty combination starting with 14.Bg5 instead of 14.Bg3. After he played 14…e4, I was simply “playing my analysis” when I blundered with 15.Bxe4??, immediately seeing my mistake as soon as he recaptured, that I had forgot about his Bb6 defender of d8. Nevertheless, Fruit finds an advantage for Black after 13…e5, which means that I had a false appraisal of this position.

My only consolation is that I had blundered with 39 minutes on my clock (to his 1 hour and 17 minutes), and still had an attack going. Unfortunately, I was once again too optimistic and went for another bad tactical decision. Instead of being half a pawn down, according to Fruit, after 21.Nxb7, I decided to keep wratcheting up the tactics with 21.Ne6?

When he played the rather obvious 22..Bxf2!, it felt like a bit of a bolt from the blue, which tells you how poor my form was. After I played 23.Rd1, I was kicking myself that I should have played 23.Rd4 as planned, even though Bf2 covers h4, because I have g3 to block it, or even Rg4; but this is all pure fantasy as White is lost after a …Qd5 queen trade offer. It took Fruit to knock some sense in to me. Not to mention that Black is getting in his back-rank attack first.

I didn’t want to win that third pawn (Nxb7) for the piece because the queens are still on the board and this opens a file to my king, but in reality this is just a lot of hand-waving and nowhere near a concrete appraisal of the position, for it is Black who must force the queen trade to stay afloat! I thought that Black had …Qc7 after Nxb7, but that would just lose the Be7, so I completely missed this relatively easy tactic to spot.

I rejected 23.Bxe7 Nxe7, 24.QxN BxRe1, 25.QxB because of inferior endgame and time, and that I would be playing into the point of 22…Bxe2. I didn’t even look beyond that to notice that 25..Qg5+, 26…Qxg2 and Black is up 2.5 points according to Fruit.

Also, I should have played 24.Re7 to trade queens and win his b7 pawn once again. I spent a long time considering this, but perhaps all of this consideration is what was making me even more tired, low on the clock, and not wanting to get into the simple endgame where Black is -+ and having all of the time and energy.

When I played 33.Qxg6?? I had only 3 seconds on my clock, and it was obviously hopeless. I even laughed about it as I was making my move and then promptly resigned. Beaten on the board and the clock, and in the evaluation department, and perhaps even before I showed up since when Paul asked “Are you ready for battle?” before the game, I responded “No, I am tired.” Tough day at the office, yet still a great learning experience.

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3 thoughts on “Tactical Misfire and Misevalauation

  1. RollingPawns, I was having trouble posting a comment to your blog, it kept saying …posting, so I’m posting my reply to your game here:

    I think that basically in this game, you out-defended, out-finessed him for the win.

    That …Qc6, ..Nc6-b8-d7 defense was amazing, and something only you could have done! 🙂 The hardest part of this game to me was the defense you came up with 15..Qd6, 16..Nb8, 17..Nd7. That defense was the critical part of the game and one of the things that makes you special as a chess player.

    I thought he was really slow to switch back to the defense and should have traded knights on d7. The thing is, White really needed to get c4 in and took far too long to do it, indeed he never got it in. By the time you got in …Qd5 it was already over (the f5 pawn is hanging as well). 28…Rg1, and 29…Bg3 were atrocious moves, as his Bf2 belonged where it was.

    30…Nxe3! was indeed sweet, but it displays his disjointed development. 29…g4! also looks winning as the 30…Rxd4 threat appears to my eye to be unstoppable. 31.Qf2 is still going to lose and 32.Qh2 is a joke. Forgot to add that 30..c5 would still be necessary to play first before the 31…Rxd4 could occur, but this line looks winning too.

    I howled at 35.Bxc7 as the game will end swiftly after the bishops trade off.

    That’s funny, I believed both of you, not seeing Rg4 either. It’s always easier to look for a quick king check than it is to honestly analyze a position, so he took it. Well, both of you were banking on a king-check in that vain, but I was thinking that you needed to capture with the right rook, in case it mattered.

    I would have sacrificed the exchange as well, but there is no need for any cheapos involved, the bishop is already murderous, could pull a rook to c1, and then you could either scoop up the f-pawn for three passed pawns! or just push the g-pawn, which is still plenty to win with, and quicker, more sure-footed.

    36…Rdxe5, 37.Qc4+ Kb8, 38.pxR QxRe5, 39.Qxf7 e2, 40.Re1 g5, 40.Rxg Bd2, 41.Rf8 RxR, 42.QxR+ Ka7 and is Black is out of checks, game over. Black’s queen and rook can mate if White plays it defensive instead and gives the exchange back, but Black would still have an extra pawn or two as well, so it’s not even that necessary to be concerned with.

    Your game points out exactly what I need to do in my games, which is to defend more. Defense is the effort that a lot of people don’t want to put into their games. I just want to attack, dammit! hahaha. In your games, you consistently defend game in and game out. 😉

    Very classy game, BTW, I liked it very much! 😀

  2. It looks like your lost your game rather than he won it.
    It started from the opening, if I were you I would never play the variation in which he won 3 times. Or he knows it better or it’s more his style, stick with what you are doing well.
    Bxe4 required very careful calculation, you saw the examples in my game how the combos can be wrong. I think sometimes you are playing too aggressive, just slow down a bit.:)

    Thank you very much for your compliments! These Qd6, Nb8, Nd7 were due to the fact, that I know his style and I didn’t want to defend after any sacrifices on a6, even non-sound ones.
    You are right about c4, I expected it and tried to prevent.
    Bxc7 was a blunder because I defend from Qh2+ with Rd6 and he loses a piece.
    Yes. there were no need to sac an exchange, you are right, I was winning without it.

    I played today after 3 months absence. I think they used accelerated pairings so instead of some ~1550 guy I expected, I got some young guy playing too fast and confident for that rating. I checked the tables from the last tournament and he was rated ~1750.
    By the way he played these same variation as Paul, I played c3.
    So, I took a careful approach, even went for a queen exchange losing right to castle with White (!), but it was a best move, Fritz confirmed and I even had a small plus after that. I tried to keep balance and eventually we went into R+N vs R+N where he offered to trade rooks.
    I saw it’s OK and after a few moves even offered him to exchange knights, seeing that I have a bit better pawn structure in the pawn ending.
    He agreed and I realized that maybe, just maybe I have a chance. He was playing very fast, spending just 15 minutes vs. my 45. I tried to create a 2 vs. 1 majority on the kingside and here he made a crucial mistake allowing me that.
    The rest you have to see, I will try to post it soon, not today.

  3. That defense was like an interlocking puzzle, that’s like playing one of Steinitz defenses (one game he defended with nearly every piece placed back onto his back-rank and still won) at G/90. It’s really difficult to defend at G/90, so I should think you have a big leg up on everybody, combined with your speed of play. 🙂

    Speaking of your speed of play, only you could know that that boy was playing too fast since you play fast yourself. If that boy were playing me he would not be playing too fast but simply thinking on my clock. 😉 hehe.

    Some things about the way people play chess today puzzle me. I am not a great endgame player, per se, but it somehow zooms over nearly all class players’ heads that an opening such as the C3 Sicilian (Alapin) is really a possible delicate endgame advantage for White. Black should be able to neutralize it with strong play, but players as Black no less go for this really whacked-out stuff against it as if it were an Open SIclian (perhaps that is why they play …c5, so you are messing with their heads by playing c3). It’s really a completely different animal – I tell people this over and over and they don’t listen or remeber it.

    I am amazed at the utter, sheer, inexplicably terrible that some chess players’ memories are. I feel strongly that memory is very important to chess, and some people defy this, and it’s not an age issue either. Some people just don’t remember some things well, probably because it goes against something about who they are. I am like this in some ways, too, goofy-attacks over solid defending, but I do this in a more ambiguous way, not in a way that says I do it in the same opening position every time.

    I need to tone down my play and play more positional, even in openings such as Open Sicilian. Not sure why I’ve gone tactically bonkers lately, particularly since I haven’t even been studying tactics but rather too much dry positional stuff from my Yermolinsky book (he points out a lot of tactics, but a lot of times the point of the actual play is the practicality of structural advantages), but it will have helped me down the road someday.

    So, stick with c3 Sicilian. 😉 As usual, I look forward to seeing your game, and I’m glad you won it. 🙂

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