From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

In my Round 2 Wednesday game I suffered a loss perhaps both from exhaustion and from wanting not being willing to consistently play defense when required by the postion. I dropped a piece with 8 minutes remaining on my clock, and I really don’t remember the last time that I dropped a piece, although I know that I would play really well and then drop a piece back when I was around 1300 rating.

I dropped the piece seemingly in a span of three seconds. Saw the move, played it, Isaac immediately captures my Bb6 and I let out a groan, all happened that fast.

20.Bb6 was dumb because after …Rb6! he could swivel that rook out to h6. We played on, what would have happened had I played 20.Bd4, and he ended up sacking on h3 and I won both post-mortems. If only I had kept the faith and hung in there. I played 19.Bxa7, saw it a move too late as it was. Doesn’t seem there was much way around Bd4…g5, Ne1 in hindsight, which can actually hold quite nicely against subpar continuations, but I should probably be getting mated, sure, because of the lost tempos in the game, if nothing else.

The game went on for a few more moves, but with 4 seconds left I hit the top of my clock, and it is my clock, squarely and yet missed the flag, so that it ran to zero with my plunger still up and unpunched. It’s next to impossible to do this and yet this is what happens when you get your first day, go jogging for a few miles, and then try sawing down a tall tree (I had to saw it up high so that it wouldn’t fall into the street).

Each Wednesday, my first day off, I overdo it with exercise and then am too tired to play chess at G/90. On Thursday I do nothing and have plenty of energy even without much sleep, and feel like I will win all day even before I play – because not drained. I am sensitive to altitude (still, and I have gotten dizzy on Thursdays, particularly in the summer when the air and oxygen is less dense, although it’s effect lessens a little bit more over the years), so it affects me to play at the higher elevation on Thursday, but that is far more than offset by the fatigue from Wednesday’s exercise so that it’s not even close to compare the two. The most important thing before a chess game is to not “overdo it”, whatever it is, and to just go in “normal”. The fitness thing is hogwash (or at least at mile-high altitude it is), as is virtually anything else, compared to just feeling normal. You should win based on your chess-skill and your chess-study level of industriousness, but again not needing to overdo any aspect of it. Balance is best, all things being equal – an oxymoron to make a point, if not interpreted cynically. Thinking about what I just said, it’s easy to understand why Bent Larsen lost 0-6 to Bobby Fischer in a record heat in Denver. Bobby came ahead of time to acclimate himself, heck Bobby Fischer was actually conceived in Denver.

After I played 12.Rc1, I saw that I could have won a pawn with 12.Qb3. This is what happens when tired, and not playing at some really long time-control, you see everything a move too late. Eventually, this is almost the technical reason for the loss.

Round 2 Thursday was a different story, as alluded to before. 20.gxf gxf would have been another way to play this position, but I don’t know what White does next here, doesn’t appear as playable as the game continuation.

27.Nxe7? This was a silly move caused by time-pressure, AKA “clock-management”. It would take some time to calculate, but after the game I noticed the weakness of Black’s king, as well as the e-file, when showing the game to Alex and Peter.

27.h4! axb4 28.cxb4 Bxb4? 29.hxg5 hxg5 30.e7 Rae8 31.Qe6 when 31.. Rxe7 allows 32.Qxf6 threatening 33.Qxg5 as well as 33.Rh4 mate. 32.. Bxe7 allows 33.Qf7+ Rg7 34.Rh4 mate. No engine, I am just seeing this now.

Once I had oversimplified the position I noticed the positional flaw which I had suspected was there, namely that 28…c5! is probably only a draw. I was relieved he hadn’t played this move after his long think here.

43.Rxg7+ Simply 43.Rc7-c5! looks devastating enough, or at least superficially it does.

44.Rc5? It’s probably only a draw after 44.Rd1 Rd5 or 44.Rc7+ Kf8 45.Rf8+ Ke8 46.Rxf6+ a4 47.Rxh6 Rxf5 48.e7 Kxe 49.Ra6 followed by 50.Rxa4. White will have an extra pawn, but it looks like only a draw to me. I am not sure why he didn’t play 44.RxR! but he probably wasn’t sure about the resulting queen ending, as I was also unsure at the time, but now it looks definitely not winning for White, or even winning for Black.

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6 thoughts on “From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

  1. Wednesday’s game is a sad story, been there, done it.
    Thursday game is interesting. What was purpose of Nf5 – get passed pawns?
    It would look like one of the Philidor’s games. 🙂
    Yes, exchanging knight on e7 was a mistake, it is standing perfectly on g6.
    h4 – this is exactly what came to my mind before seeing it in your post.
    I would simply attack on the kingside, you are winning there.

    I played yesterday, lost to a master. Didn’t play well positionally, starting from the opening.

  2. It’s a struggle to both know what to do positionally sometimes, and to have to look-off the cheeky tactics which are anti-positional, at G/90, but I think this whole run of bad luck has just turned the corner – it’s just one of those things I can feel. If nothing else, then at least I will grovel better or more interestingly.

    The Master game would be awesome to see. The postional stuff is key, and I am sure that any ridiculous moves you might have made (not saying you do) were still a great learning experience as at least my ?? blunders are educational for me, if not for you watching them and groaning when seeing them.

    I have gone back to studying Karpov, trying to improve my positional play as well as defense. This is the big key for me right now, and not so much tactics and calculation (although deeper is always better). 😉

    Thank you for efforts, at least going out there and trying to win, and against higher-rated players. You are part of my “Crew” (as Alex likes to say.) !! 🙂

  3. I played today, got a master, champion of the club.
    He told me on Monday: “Why didn’t you come last Thursday, I expected you. Will probably play with you next time.” He played with everybody having the same amount of points, except me.
    So, here I come. He plays his French again, I lost to him in it year and a half ago.
    This time I was good after the opening and continued to have good position with him having less and less time. When I thought he is going to lose on time, the position simplified and I offered a draw. He refused, continued to play and increased his time to about one minute. At this moment we went into a rook ending which I rightly evaluated as a draw, so he offered it I agreed.

  4. That’s great news! You drew your game against a Master, and I should have drawn mine. Clearly, we are doing something right! 🙂

    That was nice of you to offer him a draw. Of course, without the increment it sounds as if you would have won on time.

    I missed some tactical wins tonight, still not seeing the moves in time, given the time-control. All it takes is a good defensive player, who can move quickly like Alex does to get me in trouble on the clock. I feel like I am almost breaking through, just not quite.

  5. Thank you! I will look at your games.
    I took him off the book, my 4th move was played only once. Then I just made natural moves.
    In the end he had 45 seconds and I had 20 minutes, at some moment he was down to 20 seconds, can you imagine it?

  6. I’m not _too_ surprised by that. He did manage to draw at the time control, and chess is more or less a draw, anyway. If he were losing at some point, then that would be even more interesting.

    We are probably better players than we give ourselves credit for.

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