Muffed en-passant

As usual, there were last second byes, and so me and Alex were matched up together. Alex was nervous, but I wasn’t, as Dean announced a $70 first prize, which would go to either of us if we win.

The Game

The course of this game altered when I played pawn en-passant and wrote my move down, except that when I put my pawn on a3, I didn’t remember to take his a4 pawn at that moment. He quickly took my pawn while I was still writing down the move, and I thought “Why did he leave his pawn on the board? I guess I must have made a visual error.” I thought this because I would have taken his pawn if he hadn’t captured so quickly, and I expected him to do the right thing. Well, he left his a4 pawn on the board because I hadn’t taken it off, he just took my pawn on a3 and left his pawn on a4 and kept playing.

I was scratching my head “Where did my extra pawn go?”, but at the same time I was happy for him now that he was somehow back in the game, and that I would have to earn the victory. Well, I did get what was possibly a winning position later on, but muffed it right when I could force a possibly winning endgame, possibly only a draw but would have been an easy draw for Black. missed a shot of his instead and lost.

After the game, I said “What happened to my pawn?” and then “Hey, you didn’t take your pawn off the board when you quickly captured back on a3.” I was going to follow it up with …BxN, …Qc7 and …Rfb8, which is -1 according to Fruit and in all probability a winning advantage for Black.

If you want to see how the game went and imagine that he still has a pawn on a4, then here is how it went:
Game Score
I almost played 26…Re3, but was trying to optimize as if queens had already been traded on g5, and I was naturally in time-pressure when I played instead 26…Re2??

Another thing I am tire of is chess engine evaluations. Fruit says it’s .9 advantage to play the en-passant, doesn’t even consider it, says it’s 1.67 not to, and then shuffles it’s pieces around endlessly in a draw, not making any progress as Black, but it found a way to practically win after en-passant. I was the only one of me, Alex and Fruit to think that a4 was a blunder, and yet I am “the bad chessplayer” because I lost the game/tournament. It’s almost senseless. Well, if the pawn is off a4 in that position, then …Re3 for example would win easily even against Fruit, but it’s hard to say with the pawn on a4.

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8 thoughts on “Muffed en-passant

  1. Sometimes, bitterness makes you a better fighter, but I would agree your opponent’s attitude was poor. That’s not what chess is about…

  2. Thanks, Laurent!

    How I feel right now is “Why should we bother driving over an hour, in often bad or cold weather” just to play a 90 minute game (from our clock’s point of view) against someone that is going to try to screw you over somehow other than chess-wise. Actually, that quality time is better spent studying chess than playing. I want to play two or three rounds in a day, make it worth my while. As it is, someone (there are enough of them there) is going to try to get over on me somehow, and then when I get home I still want to play more games because I had to get all pumped up over that one brief game, and in some still excited state at midnight. Counter-productive in all likelihood.

  3. Here is my opinion.
    First of all I do not believe that $70 can save anybody except a homeless person for one night.
    It is completely unnecessary to mix chess prize money that belongs to the winner with borrowing to somebody or even giving somebody the money if they need it.
    This is just confusing.
    Regarding the move – you created unwillingly the situation of illegal move.
    He continued, he simply can not continue with taking your pawn and leaving his own, your pawn only got to a3 because of en-passant which consists of taking his “a” pawn and moving diagonally.
    Even if he didn’t see that, he had to apologize profusely to you after the game and at least split the money, but not to gloat and say that it is all your fault.
    I wouldn’t ever talk to him and wouldn’t even say “Hi”. He is not your friend.

    I remember how I played in the my first tournament in Canada, it was one day rapid.
    I was very nervous, but managed to get 2 out of 4 and was pretty happy.
    Then in the last game in the endgame I got a situation where me and my opponent didn’t have much time and moved quickly. Suddenly instead of drawn position I got a losing one. I didn’t not understand what happened, but after the game a few guys standing nearby told me with a smile that the guy made an illegal move during the game. I was really upset and even decided to postpone becoming a member of Canadian Chess Federation, though I wanted to do that before the tournament. I came home and analyzing the game realized that the only way I could lose was indeed that my opponent moved his king two squares at once.
    I calmed down later, played in the regular tournament and became a member, but as you can see I still remember that though it happened 6.5 years ago. This is a disgrace to the game.

  4. Don’t get too upset because of that, though as I mentioned I completely understand you.
    It is not chess, it’s a specific person playing it.
    Maybe you really should try play more in big tournaments, they also have better time controls.
    Another reason for that is that you don’t have a big choice of opponents on Wednesdays/Thursdays, so you probably can get bored to play the same people all the time.

  5. Thank you, Rollingpawns! I really mean it, your advice is invaluable to me.

    My mom wants me to stop by on Wednesday, and since you say this I have decided to go because at least you are my chess-friend. 🙂 There are some other’s who are respectful, but I believe it’s closer to 50-50, so I will not make this mistake of trusting OTB again.

    I watched this video last night. If you want, go to 15:30 in the video and watch til 18:00 and listen to the drama that unfolds, it’s rather alarming in a way, the commentary of it:

    Perhaps because of all this, and also due to watching the “Bobby Fischer Against the World” video a couple nights ago (rented it for $3 on Youtube, watched it on my Ubuntu laptop) that I had this strange dream last night. I dreamed that there were a bunch of Russians in fur jackets, no doubt chess-players but there was no chess boards or anything. It was somewhere in Russia, in the cold, and there was this empty hangar that was well lit with these jugs on a table, and for some reason the Russians didn’t partake of this nice area, avoided it for some reason, and yet the Russians were nice, but somehow resigned to their fate.

    So, I walked into their hangar alone, and I picked up one of the jugs and started drinking this really nice milk, but when I tipped it back as I drank more there was this alligator-like serpents head at the back of the jug, and for some reason I thought to myself “It figures” and drank a little more like “Well, you can’t drink nice milk unless you can block out the alligator at the bottom of the jug.” lol. I almost never have these symbolic dreams.

    I agree with everything you said, and you made some important/interesting points. I sort of detest these two guys behavior who watched him make two moves with his king and said nothing; this is not cool at all. I have never done anything for Peter, but he brought me a glass of water once during my time-pressure – now that is a friend. Some TDs and players think it is right not say anything, but they are morally wrong IMHO.

    How could I go over chess games of someone like Adolf Anderssen at chess games dot com, if there were some note like “The game stopped being recorded here because of this illegal move”, or even “This is where the player picked up the wrong bishop or knight because two of them were right next to each other and the player got distracted” Funny that I have never heard of this happening, and generally speaking or at least historically speaking, the grandmasters have been the most honest of them all, not needing to rely on treachery like this so much or even wanting to.

    Actually, the guy giving that video, Chris, is rather informally infamous in CO because once, years ago, entered a tournament under an alias as like a 1300 player, trying to win prize-money that way. Well, of course he was caught, and then was banned for four years, as the story goes, from playing chess in Colorado.

  6. “so you probably can get bored to play the same people all the time.”

    This is exactly how it would appear by looking at my games, but actually this is the one thing you’ve said that I would like to rephrase, especially because it is not apparent. It’s not boredom that’s the problem so much as it is familiarity, which admittedly is like two sides of the same coin. The reason why I made this en-passant blunder is bizarely not because I wouldn’t have caught it under other circumstances, but rather because I had this bizarre trust in Alex as my buddy making sure no illegal moves had taken place. It’s actually _because_ he was my friend that I missed this and barely payed any attention to it in some crazy way. Exponentially misplaced trust since Alex himself would probably prefer his opponents making these sorts of mistakes, or at least consider it a fair part of the game.

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