In Round 2 I was faced against Anthea, who is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. Well, I was wary that the real Anthea would show up for this game, and she did. Actually, she is one of those those players that plays well, but can lose from winning or drawn positions.
It would be easy to say that my 15th move, ..Bh2+ was the cause for the loss, as I did spend 32 minutes on it(!) However, the endgame is lost after I failed to find the move 32…b5! Her move 34.g4? is not good because it gives me the opportunity to chip away at her pawns with ..h5, which the best endgame for Black is to trade off all pawns and have 2 bishops vs, knight, which would still lose in time-pressure as I had an even 2 minutes when I blundered my knight (all move lose except for ..h5, which still basically loses). I believe she did have her bishop on d7 in this position (I was still keeping score but badly at the end), so that I could not even play ..h5 because of Be8+!
Even with 32…b5! it is still quite easy to lose for Black. It doesn’t take a Magnus Carlsen to find winning chances from here, particularly in Black’s time-pressure. It’s like +.3, but Black has to watch out for more things.
Incidentally, 41..Nd1+ is losing not only because the knight can be trapped in some variation, but because a pawn does queen, except for a piece sac. White can trade a pawn for the b7 pawn and still promote a pawn.
Don’t take my word for it, you can check it against an engine to see that it is +2. She was up +2 in the middlegame at some point as well, so she was certainly outplaying me in every way in this game, all three phases plus the clock. I knew things were going wrong when I played …g5, but it was already too late except for with “hanging around chances”.
Her whole thing with the bishops getting in sort of stunned me, as I had undervalued her idea at first. It’s something Black had to see ahead of time. Also, I had been uncomfortable with the idea of limiting my own bishop with that move.
I played out the position from if I had played …b5, and in the lines where I am not letting my bishop get trapped, White is quickly up +.75, and thereafter every move is like a blundercheck for Black against the two bishops.
She had somewhere between 38 and 43 minutes at the end of the game.
I just played it out to a 98 move draw with the engine, but that’s only because I forced the engine to not keep checking me different ways with those bishops for another hundred moves before I could claim a draw by 3-fold, because of course I am writing these moves down and can spot where the positions repeated three times, twenty moves apart. haha.
Regarding the World Championship, that kills me how Anand played such a wonderful defense with the Black pieces, finds all the hard moves seemingly forever, only to miss a simple tactic which must have been out of sheer exhaustion. Instead of 45…Rc1+, Kg2 followed by …Rg1 and …Rxg2, Black saves a tempo with 45…Rh1 and if 46.Kg2 (which Houdini doesn’t do), and now ..Rh2+ followed by either Rxa3 or Rxg2 saving a tempo over the game continuation. Houdini says it’s 0.0 after 45…Rh1. Just about anyone would find that move except out of fatigue. All the other moves up to that point seemed much more complex.
Carlsen’s style seems to be to tweak with drawn positions until he wears his opponent out, more or less. It’s sort of sad for chess in a way, but that is what chess is anyway, a precision game.
Chess is different from other sports in that in chess you frequently have to beat your opponent at their own game. During the first few games, I felt that Anand should have played on and tried to beat Carlsen ala Carlsenesque. Alas, Anand felt the pressure of expectations and didn’t follow this route.
While game nine of the 2013 World Chess Championship match did live up to the hype, my own feelings at the board today were much more sedate. Paul Anders*n, the Expert player I will be playing next week, wanted to know what other people were listening to before the game. He likes “Kill The King” by Rainbow, but I like “Rainbow in the Dark” and “On the Street of Dreams. RollingPawns listened to the last song I posted here, so this week I listened to good ole Glen Campbell.
Now I’m going to go really retro. 40 years ago, when I was a child, this was my favorite song (I also liked Neal Diamond back then, what a great era for music).