Winning One For The Gipper

After my recent losses, this one was short and sweet. 

Round 4

This game just came down to propper planning by White versus poor planning by Black.  Black should have organized a …d4 push much earlier than in the game (his next move, if not for getting checkmated, would have been to play …d4).  In the absence of direct threats he seemed to find it difficult to come up with a plan, or didn’t try hard enough to.  Like I told Alex, “He just put his pieces on pretty squares (without a real plan).” 

Win one for the Gipper

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Beautiful Losses

Wednesday Round 2

I went over this game with Brian Wall after the game, and he was nice enough to flatter me and say it was the craziest game he’d ever seen.  I was feeling woozy before the game, and not in good physical shape, so that I was trying to avoid exactly the type of game that this one became.  We went over it until Brian Wall had the win for White down to a science.  I didn’t see that I was dropping my queen until after I took his rook, but I felt strangely that I might be winning since he was creating a tactic from an inferior position.  Anywhere between move 22 and 25 (for four moves) you could insert e5xf6 and White is surely winning, ++-

Well, when I am not feeling well I compensate by taking gobs of time, basically knowing that I can blunder anything back in time-pressure, which is exactly what happened.  I debated between retreating my knight and bishop, not even paying attention that the knight was hanging.  I hung it at 2:25 remaining on my clock, so you know I was in bad shape.  I could still analyze well, given all the time, but in time-pressure blitz I was hopeless.

 

Wednesday Round 3

Richard offered me a draw on move 40, but I played my next move with 52 seconds left because, as I said to him, I didn’t feel like I had gotten enough chess in yet (and the position wasn’t completely played out yet, so I kept going).

Richard is this lower rated player who can play a surprisingly nice endgame, and he’s surely at least Class A at the endgame.  I tested him once again and had that “Kasparov moment” where I just about bolted back in my chair when he played 53.g5, which I somehow never expected, but within a couple seconds realized that I was just losing.  Great endgame lesson on how to win with knight vs. bishop.  Richard is a knight-endgame magician.

Incidentally, I had tried to purge both of these games from memory by not posting them, and left the one scoresheet at Alex’s nearly 3 weeks ago, but was able to recreate the game from memory just now rather quickly.  Kind of amazing how you remember the mistakes.

Oddly enough, I didn’t offer or take any draws in these games, as if finally living up to the Bent Larsen tagline admonishment to never take a draw until you reach Master level.

 

Beautiful Dreamer

 

 

 

 

 

Took The Long Way Home

In this Round 1 Game, I had Black against Dean – usually get White against him. Dean was not so long ago rated 200 points higher than he is now, but has been playing a lot more lately and ironically enough sometimes playing more causes you to put less emphasis into any single game.

Well, I start out with what ultimately should have been a relatively simple win, IMO, if I had played 14…Rfe8, and the …Rad8 and …Qf5 should seal the deal. I almost didnt’ play 14…Rae8? because of 15.Ba3!, but then played it anyway because I missed seeing 16.b5 until after he played 15.Ba3, which strangely seemed best to me anyway. So now I was goading a lower-rated player into making best moves – not good for one’s rating.

Little did I realize that I was dropping the d-pawn as well. I felt that after 20…Bxf2, 21.Rxf2 that I might not be coming out of this alive, and pawn structure is not so important in this type of variation.

25.Qd4? Game should have reached an even, if not technically demanding endgame after 25.Qd8+ QxQ, 26.RxQ+ Kg7, 27.f4 Rxc4, 28.Re7! Rxf!, 29.Rxb7 Re4!, 30.Rxa Rxe5, and Daniel, who was watching our post-mortem, called this a “book draw”. Ultimately, I should be able to get my rook behind his pawn, and then also cut off his king with my rook, and lose tempos with a Khg7-h7 type of shuffle.

If 37.Rd5+, then …Kxf4, 38.RxR?, bxR, 39.c5 Ke5, and my king easily catches the pawn for example.

If 38.Rd7 Kxg3, 29.Rxf7 Kxh4, 30.Rg7 Kg4, 31.Rxg6+ Kxf4, Black has the sole kingside pawn, and 32.Rg2 can be met by Ra3 with the h-pawn advancing while the a2 pawn is babbysat. This is the sort of thing which is difficult to calculate in time-pressure, or at least is for me. I finished the game with about 3 1/2 minutes to his 7 minutes. I’d say at least half an hour is spent during the game just considering the “ratings point type of consequence” behind key moves. It’s as if I knew what to do, but had to waste time starting into the disbelief of the best chances offered.

It’s amazing how one simple tactical mistake (laziness) against a much lower-rated player can nearly send one into ratings-point purgatory. Dean has beaten players such as Expert Paul before, for example, so he is not so weak, but it’s his rating that’s weak.