Thursday Last Round

In this game I played Alexa Lasley for only the second time. She is about the sweetest chess-player that anybody could possibly play against.

Both of us missed that after 7.Bg5??…BxNf3 is simply winning a piece for a pawn. It was an interesting game, and she really only lost because she spent too many tempos around her own king’s position instead of attacking my king’s position.

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Last Round

I played my buddy, Alex in Round 4 Wednesday.

I can’t recreate the final moves because the whole endgame was a time-scramble and so this is only roughly what happened. We could have agreed to a draw except that if either of us won we would get some prize money.

Patience

In Thursday nights game, I lost my patience and then lost the game. Sure, I could chalk it up to cranked up heater in that room, or that when I went to take a break the line an Panera Bread was a solid 10 minute wait, so that I came back to the board and moved fast and blundered. But my style of rushing an attack is the biggest culprit.

I’ll post that game later, probably tomorrow night. For now, I’ll leave a link to this blitz game on FICS where my goal was to demonstrate patience, particularly in the opening.

Rooks for Queen Inspired by the RollingPawns game. 😉

Thursday’s game was strange. I forced myself to eat something before the game, but right around where I blundered I felt tired, hot, and that it would be good to take a break, as I had been making my moves quickly. Well, I never took that break because the concession line was too long, and blundered instead.

When do I ever move quickly, confidently, and then need to stop because I can’t think anymore? It didn’t make any sense to me, how did I win all of those games if I can’t concentrate during a game anymore? Was I always doing this? I thought and remember how work before a game made me really tired but I wasn’t that way.

Well, even today I didn’t eat until 7pm, had one piece of string cheese, then had “lunch” at 9pm, and not that hungry. I realized that it’s this sore in my gum, and swollen lymph node in my neck. It’s like the flu how you feel okay until you try and exert yourself strenuously, and then it kicks in a bit. Likewise, I feel much better at this moment, but earlier today was thinking I would not play this week, so I’m still not sure yet, but I don’t want to push it.

Chesswise, 16.Bxa7? was a blunder, obvious to me right after the game, but even my intuition kept screaming that 18.Be3 was the move, and that 18.h3?? was wrong, but I could not concentrate/focus well, as the calculation that I normally thrive in and enjoy was now leaving me feeling physically toasted.

Late Collapse

Round 3

I probably need a story to explain this game, because it borders on the inexplicable. I missed a very easy win with 25..Qg1+ Ke2, then ..Qxg2+ and ..Qxf3+. In chess terms, I missed this same tactical pattern, turning an easy win into a loss again Expert Josh D.

Before the game, I didn’t feel like playing, it wasn’t just the long-work week with the hour of OT (which is a lot when you are working a call-center job in tech support), but Alex called me at 2:30 until 6am talking about his court-sentencing. Well, I didn’t even think about it till later, but I didn’t eat a bite of food since before he called my until 11pm, after the game. I also went jogging (and don’t exercise during the week – no time/motivation).

So looking back on it now, I just physically crapped out during my winning position. I looked at sacs for 7 minutes and did not see the ..Qg1-g2+. It’s like I was just waiting for something to happen, the answer to come to me, and it never came. Instead I just realized that I would need to move or lose on time.

Then, in extreme time-pressure, I did not realize that …Kh8 was possible until after I gave my bishop up for nothing. In fact, it’s completely winning for Black. The nervous exhaustion was so great that I did not play …Kh8 when I was in check, but played the illegal ..Qe7 and lost on time. I felt okay during the game, if not overly nervous, but then my nervous energy ran out and I guess the exhaustion of the week caught up to me at an inappropriate moment. I hadn’t recovered from the week, and had a feeling this might happen, but was still stunned that it had. I also studied some boring, non-tactical Karpov game before playing, which I regretted because I didn’t have normal energy even after taking a B multi-vitamin, I just sort of had some nervous energy at the beginning without anything really substantial behind it.

I’ve also had a gum infection the last few days, and as Dr. Tartakover said, he’s never beaten a healthy opponent. hehe.

A Double-shot

This week I had the same opponent, same color, for both games.

Round 2 Wednesday You can see where the time-pressure kicks in as I needlessly drop my f7 pawn. I give up on trying to make sense of the time-scramble as I can’t recreate a position where I am not winning his rook on e7 toward the end. It’s weird because I finished with 48 seconds where he had around 54 minutes, so why was he blitzing bad moves? But this is what they do, so ridiculous, and a 30 second increment would cut all of this out, and end the game even sooner in moves!

In Round 2 Thursday, he should have played 22.Ne4 and to try and show me that he is simply winning with the extra pawn, and better position (which I was tickled-pink to not see him play, BTW). Fruit says that it was even if I had gone with the …Bd6 idea, instead.

I saw that I was giving him the draw with 36.Qf6, but I had played 35…Qd2 with 18 seconds on my clock, and so a draw would have been satisfactory compared to losing on time; and as Alex and Peter showed me after the game, simply 35…Rh8 ends the confusion.

I got there 5 minutes late, but I still have to work on time-management in the middle-game, as this should have cost me half a point in the end. I was wasting a lot of time for no real reason, since I knew I playing a pawn sac with 18…Bc5+, but then had realized that what I was looking at, 20…Rd6, doesn’t work because after 20.e4xd5 his queen has the c4 square for escape instead of needing to retreat to d2. And then there was all of this business of trying to find an initiative after the pawn sac, but I came to my senses to find that fundamentally sound chess was the best policy here.

Flinched

Round 4

I thought that 21..Qf6?? was a blunder, but then I flinched. I saw the refutation and figured it was probably a +2 blunder, but then believed my opponent’s rating in semi-time pressure. Opponent had spent lots of time on move, and for example 21..Qc7! actually gives the edge to Black according to Fruit. What I thought my opponent’s idea was was 22.Rxe Qxf2, 23.QxQ RxQ, 24.KxQ BxNd4, 25.cxB RxRc1, but as Alex showed me after the game I would then have 26.Re6xBe8+ winning. I had simply cut off the analysis one ply short, feeling the pressure (a couple people were watching by now).

23.Kh2?? was a desirable move, but not concrete. I should have played what had at first appeared obvious to me, 22.BxBg6. I missed that after 22…BxNd4 that I have to capture the bishop on d4 first instead of BxBg6.

26…QxBg6 caught me off guard in time-pressure, and I wasn’t thinking creatively at this point (probably a good enough reason not to get smashed with your buddies the night before a game). 28.Qg2 is best.

30.Rg5?? Game, set, and match. This is part of what time-pressure madness is all about. I played an obvious-looking move, but 30.f5! with the idea of 30..exf, 31.Rd6 is good enough for a draw with best play. It also allows the White king into the Black pawn formation/position.