Rating Point Bleeding Has Stopped

Round 4

New opponent, will annotate later.

Me, Alex, and Rhett co-won the tournament with 3.5/4. 🙂 Rhett made 2000 even, Alex made 1801, and I got my rating back up to 1833.

In the game, I spent too much time on the 10…Bd7 sham-sac, which he declined and the position transposed anyway. I have always disliked this variation as Black and I had to feel my way through it to gain the confidence – this is something that a blitz game in this opening will not give you.

White didn’t find a way to continue the attack (I would have come up with sharper stuff as White), and so it was up to Black to break through.

I have not done any engine analysis of this game, but I feel the way to get to Expert is actually to shut the engines off and figure it out for yourself. You need to be that strong on your own, that’s the only way anyone makes it to Master, otherwise one could follow an openings book to Master or etc.

22.Nf3. To be a solid class A player one can’t sort of “wimp out” like this. 22.f4 was the move I was afraid to see, solidifying the center, then he can get back to his Nd2 with ..a5 business.

25.Nd2 Now it is too late for the …a5 idea because the bishop’s diagonal will be opening up.

28.Nd2 He continues to “return to the scene of the crime”. Why not grab the d-file with a rook or get some h3 luft in here. He is probably stuck on the …a5 idea, but it’s stronger as a chessplayer to be flexible. I would simply take on a5, then give up the c5 pawn for the b7 pawn after trades.

29.Rcd8 I played this move with misgivings. This was the last opportunity to play 29…Bxb2, which I almost played. After 30 RxBb2 c3 30. Rc2 (or Ra2) cxNd2 this should be winning for Black here with back-rank ..Rc1 type threats or promote on d1. After last night I decided to win this game “Botvinnik-style” instead of “Tal-style”, but really the slow positional way takes more time to flesh-out, unless your opponent cracks and blunders seeking undue activity, which is what happened in this game.

32.e4?? This is the loser in a lost position, but it stunned me because I had thought it not possible. In fact, I thought I had determined that this drops the Nd7 but in time-pressure couldn’t remember why! (…Bg5 wins). I played 32…Rd4? as a “clock-move” being down to 59 seconds on my clock, and then slapped my face, walked away from the board to curse my stupidity. Not only had I forgotten …Bg5 in response, but I had dropped a pawn as well. Like I say, the unrefuted move becomes the “good move” – I noticed this back as a 1500 player, and I’ve never heard anyone else notice this or write about this other than myself, so it’s probably just assumed at a Master level, but ough to be explicitly pointed out at the class level.

After 33.Qxf4, luckily I have an only-move which may still be winning in …Bg5, but I knew that 34.f4 was probably losing, and not the way for White to play. After the game, I insisted he must have a better move here, and he found 24.Nf6! which threatens to create perpetual chances or win back the exchange when White is a pawn up. Idea is to play Nf3-e5 next, hitting the Qd6 and coming further into Black’s king position. I don’t know how realistic his drawing chances were, but combined with his 4 minutes to my 1, his chances would have been a lot better that way.

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4 thoughts on “Rating Point Bleeding Has Stopped

  1. Hey Brian-

    About your “I feel the way to get to Expert is to actually shut the engines off” comment- I can attest to this. Whenever I study, I NEVER use an engine. The only purpose I have for engines is for evaluations of sharp positions, they are completely useless if you are trying to learn strategy or positional maneuvering. This is just my 2 cents, but I’m speaking from experience too.

  2. Yes, Gunnar.

    Really, we shouldn’t even be using them for sharp positions either. I went over that other piece-sac in the game with Paul that “Stockfish had found”. Of course, I had looked at it too, so to say an engine had found it is to be incredibly lazy. I haven’t analyzed it properly, but made it work against Alex when we went over that game. he tried to sac a knight back and come at my king full-force, but White was just holding and winning, like a Tal sort of game as you would expect.

    The ultimate are endgame studies. I spent over 10 hours on mate in 4 endgame study that Signalman had on his blog about a year ago maybe and never solved it, had to see the answer. Now, to have a computer solve an endgame study would be pointless because endgame studies are not about endgames at all, they are about knocking your socks off trying to calculate the near incalculatable. Compared to endgame studies, the wildest middlegames are essentially a walk in the park.

    It’s funny how no one told us this stuff, no one could tell them back in the 60’s before computers ever existed, but this is the conclusion real players should come to, as you say, to calculate for themselves, and not just put say a Jeremy Silman book at an engine and scream and cry that some of it is wrong, it should just be obivous when there is a lot of obscure conjecture. BTW, I have been to many Solman lectures, and he’s even analyzed at least one of my games on a wallboard before. I’ve never seen anyone calculate as fast as him tactically/positionally in person. Ed Labate was the fastest tactics calulator that I ever met, deepest sacs intantly on intuition and tbey always worked, blitzed them, particularly in Sicilians. Its’ funny how 1.d4 openings can really slow down the tactics whizzes, though. I have more issues with strategy on the clock, than tactics, as well.

  3. I think his problems started from 28.Nd2. Then you are just slowly overplaying him, that’s a general impression.He just gave up the “d’ vertical. Yeah, 32. Bg5 was winning on the spot.
    All in all good game, congratulation on the 3.5/4 and sharing first place result.

  4. Well, what I was more saying is that engines most of the time can’t even tell us ANYTHING unless it is a sharp position where it’s just all calculation. If you are in a slower, maneuvering game, the engine’s ideas are just garbage lol

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