Swotting Variations

Round 2, April Thurdays

I felt embarrassed for myself after the game that I had missed the Qf7+ part of my combination. Granted I had only slept an hour and half the night before (a lot of that was due to preparing an opening line to play, and that part of that worked), and then half an hour nap before the game.

I had calculated (and so had he) that 12.Qf3+ Ke8, 13.Qh5+ is a draw because then I get into f7, Qxg7, QxRh8 if he lets me, so I had rightly seen …Nf6 coming, which he would have played. But then after making my move, I could not calculate the Kh7 retreat correctly. My intuition was working, but not my calculating skills. BTW, I was feeling very unfresh/unsharp, which is different than being tired. It’s chess fatigue, I guess, and my opponent was obviously very fresh.

I looked at 12.Qf3+ Kg6, 13.Bd3+ g6, 14.hxg+? (Bxg) Kg7, 15.Bc2?? Be8 (covering the light diagonal). I forgot about the queen being on f3 during this part of the calculation, so overlooked the instant Qf7 mate threat after taking on g6, just completely forgot about her. I had it in my mind that I wanted the h-file opened and Qh5 rook and queen battery. IOW, I was thinking general concepts instead of calculating out the concrete position/moves. This is why I played 12.h6??

At the end of the game, I missed Qf3 instead of Qe2 (I saw his Nxd4 sac coming) but was in time-pressure at this point.

I felt that 23.Qe3 was a blunder and my instinct was to take it to remove the bishop from defending f8, but I missed the easy tactical continuation 23…BxQ, 24.fxg7 Rh7, 25.Rf8+ Ke7, 26.RxRa8 Rxg7! and the point of Black’s position is that he was 3 pawns for the exchange, and has the bishop pair, so is still technically winning.

Of course, the main reason I missed the tactic above was that I was “sitting on” a different tactic, before he had played ..Bc5, of fxe followed by RxBf8 KxR, Qf1+ Ke8, Qf7+ Kd8, Qd7 mate – which is a lof of “ifs”.

I had seen his Bb5 pin winning exchange before, but forgot about it when I suddenly “woke up to the position” and realized that I was 3 pawns down.

I don’t know if that last pin happened, but I didn’t record the moves in the time-scramble – it went on but you can see it’s pointless from here, and I lost the exchange somehow.

I also want to add one last thing, it’s that you have to have confidence in yourself when you make a sac like this (because you may not see everything in advance and probably won’t, there is intuition involved) even if you aren’t feeling particularly confident about your abilities and decisions OTB. Three people briefly looked at this position after I sacked the piece and then turned away after not spending too much time on it, and I got that vibe that they were thinking “Idiot dropped a piece.” So, I began thinking this myself and feeling very unconfident about the sac and then was having trouble calculating it, perhaps already feeling a bit mortified in advance. Remember these words if you make a sac someday because these are the sorts of feeling to overcome to make and play such a sac well.

I also let myself feel unnerved after seeing that the first variation, the short one, doesn’t work out after Qf3+…Kg6, Bd3+?? (h6) cxB, QxB+ Kf7

I felt so out of it afterward that I once again vowed to stop playing on Thursdays, but I will keep playing. I went home after eating dinner with Alex at his house and went straight to bed and felt better after the five hours of sleep. 😀

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3 thoughts on “Swotting Variations

  1. The sac is unconventional since White is behind in development, but as you noted it is playable only if followed up with Qf3+. Unfortunately the pawnstorm idea is way too slow. The only other thing I’d add is it’s best to disguise your intentions as long as possible. Vukovic in Art-of-Attack describes this as avoiding “commitment” until the last possible moment. Based on that I think it is preferable to go h2-h4 first, see how Black reacts, before lunging with Ng5. White keeps the option of Be2 and Kf1 or even possibly castling. In other words, make as many preparatory moves as possible before going “all in” by burning your bridges for an attacking idea. Vukovic covers this idea in great detail with many Alekhine games as illustrations. Hope your future sacrifices bring more rewards! BTW, I believe that players playing down 200 rating points are not happy to face an enterprising, possibly dangerous sacrifice! Personally I’d rather play a low-risk game where my opponent is more likely than I am to make an error in judgment.

  2. I addition to what katar said about the sac (I agree with that) I would say that this sac is more for the different time control, like 90/30, 60 SD. It takes time to find the better line in this situation. Also lack of sleep and feeling unfresh are not the best preconditions for the intuitive sacrifice in my opinion.

  3. Thanks Katar and Rollingpawns!

    The pawn attack is too slow, was noticing this with him post-mortem. It eluded me that it was best to castle and get the king out of the center, that is more important than an open h-file for the rook. In fact, his king’s open-ness means nothing when my king is still so open.

    I’ve looked at the last few Spielmann videos. Quite a few bishop pair and pawn vs queen scenarios. In the last game, game 37, he was sort of busted but showed how it’s all about how the players play, and not some mythical win from move one, which was more of a Rubensteinish sort of utopia.

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