Tactical Intuition

I got paired tonight with Paul Anderson on Board 1, who is generally speaking the strongest club player unless one of the Masters shows up, which would be extremely rare.

The strange thing of it is that he gave me what I wanted out of the opening, and yet still outplayed me.

I started to go wrong on move 13 with h4 instead of h3. I sort of knew this may or may not be true after I had made my move, but was already playing for tricks, mostly since my time had gotten so low.

He sort of fell in with my tactical idea when he played 15…Qh5, which I was relieved to see. I had been looking at 15…f5, 16.Nd5 QxQ, 17.Nxe7+ Kc7, 18.BxQd2 Bxd4, 19.Nxg6 Bxf2 or no, just ..Rg8 followed by Bxf2, in any case I started to feel like my screwy tactics had gotten the better of me. No, that is all an equal mess. It actually is 18…Rhe8, 19.Nxg6 Rxe4! which I had missed, winning the d4 pawn on the next move. No 20.Re1! forces ..RxR, 21.BxRd1 Bxd4, 22.h5 Rg8 =. One wonders how anyone actually wins a game of chess. πŸ˜‰

After 17.e5, …dxe? was a big mistake according to Fruit, a strategic error. Given that it was how he setup his structure the way he did, it’s amazing how close he came to holding it. It’s a testament to his defensive abilities and proper allocation of time to the moves which warranted it most. If anything, he played a little too quickly, which got him into trouble, but then he would sort of spend the time to figure his way back out of it, was the impression I got.

23…Bxc5??. Now we trade blunders as 24.RxNd7 is convincing ++-. Instead I played the cheeky 24.Qc5, hoping for the blunder …b5??

28.Nb6+ would have been lights-out. I had seen getting my queen to a8 here, but had overlooked that …Kc7 is impossible because then the pawn recapture on d6+ would finish things.

I had looked at 29.Qd4! Nd7, 30.Qa7 but hadn’t noticed that after …Rh7, 31.Qa8+ Nb8 that I had some timely intermezzos like d7 and after the captures on d7 comes the Nb6+ forking d7 and c8.

After 29.Nc5, I knew …Nd7 was coming, but couldn’t come up with the beautiful variation after 30.Nxe6 Qf6, 31.Qa4! temporarily sacrificing the Ne6. I had been looking for this sort of sac, but wasn’t seeing it here. Once again after Qa8+…Nb8 it is ..d7+ to the rescue and Black has powerful queen moves like Qa5+ after …Kc7, which is ++-.

I was thrilled to see 31…NxNc5?, which let me know that he wasn’t fully grasping what was going on tactically in this position.

In my time-pressure of 8 seconds remaining, I began to play the endgame like an idiot, but luckily it was wildly winning by quite a safe margin.

As I walking to my car, I did think about the whole draw thing, how I was glad that I got to play an opponent who wasn’t going to pepper me with draws in key places during my time-pressure. Neither of us thought of or offered a draw, which is how it should really be. What a nuisance that draw offers are!

Before the game, I was listening to a Christian broadcast where the pastor said that when God finds you favor, it is something that a man brings to you. During this game, Peter got me a glass of water, and that is what saved me in my time-pressure, or I would have lost the game because it is too much on my nerves without water. That last game against Rhett where I ridiculously threw away the win and lost, I would have won with a glass of water, but I was pinned to the table for the last hour.

Getting back to the theme of this post, you can see how even a modest amount of tactics study pays off. The key is like Bruce Pandolfini says is to take your study seriously, like a game situation, don’t move the pieces, rather than just blowing through it and “seeing how many tactics you can get in” during your study. As we now know, it’s quality over quantity.

For example, Alex will often see the tactics faster than I do, and even see the best tactic which I don’t see, but his results suffer because he either moves too fast or just doesn’t force himself to concentrate as much as he should at times.

If you want to see something funny, look at who’s #3 in this crosstable. This is why one can’t play chess as if it weren’t a serious game. If you don’t have Facebook, Justice a 1200 player, has two upset wins in this tournament. Justice beat Isaac, who had dropped just below Expert, and also Alex.

What is perhaps just as funny is that Will Wolf has the same 800 page book on the King’s Gambit as I do. Why is this funny? Well, besides the fact that it just _is_, is that the old Master lines aren’t really in there. This is sometimes the problem with openings monographs, they tell you what “should be” rather than explain the theory which led up to it. 95% of the old lines I’ve studied probably won’t even be in that book because they aren’t modern, and will get ignored in favor of “correct analysis”. I don’t know how anyone can learn from a monograph, would probably make you feel way smarter than you should feel.

Okay, I just wrote that and the first game that I see on Chessgames.com is this one:

Which page of a monograph is one going to find this game? I’ve never even seen this line before, let alone how it is played. Good luck with that one for all the aspiring C class players out there.


5 thoughts on “Tactical Intuition

  1. Pingback: Tactical Intuition | ChristianBookBarn.com

  2. Congratulations on beating an expert!
    It looks like you were all the time ahead by one step.
    I will comment later on the game.
    I played today, put a comment on my site.

  3. Thanks, Rollingpawns! πŸ™‚ hehe. Fruit didn’t like my h4 move, though h3 was much better, but I figured then he would play …h4, Nh5 (although, apparently I should have maybe allowed this). He was better at setting up winning endgames positions, whereas I had a superior understanding/feel of the middlegame tactical complications. Once I understood this, it made my job easier. πŸ˜‰

    When I played 24.Qc4, I had only 5 minutes left. That was my biggest weakness, the clock. But I could still sort of outhink him on his clock because I found his moves predictable, the okay ones, and had immediate responses for them.

    I wanted to play chess on Thursday, but kept myself back, as I was a little fatigued and have a 6 day workweek this week and then will have Wednesday and Thursday off, though really I want to study more, job-search, modify a website, that sort of thing.

    I’m glad you at least drew your game and are getting a bevy of strong opponents. πŸ™‚

    I thought about the “Getting to 2000” thing and thought the cynical reply to that meme should be “Staying above 1850”. I think that if one tries hard enough to stay above a certain rating that one may just bump into 2000 as a defensive reaction. hehe.

  4. I didn’t like 17… dxe5 either, I agree about the pawn structure.
    Yeah, Nb6+ finishes him off, but after exd6 Qd8 prevents it.
    29. Qd4 was very strong, with the same idea of Nb6+.
    Yes, 31… Nxc5 was a big mistake, as he allows you to execute your plans.
    Congratulations on your win again, you deserved it.

    My biggest weakness now is an inability to make a decisive move/finish off my opponent.
    It even seems that I am playing now better than ever (maybe I am wrong), but this problem doesn’t allow me to capitalize on that.
    I published my Monday’s game and will try to publish Thursday’s one.

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