Transitional Play

Round 4

In this game, Paul played apparently to get out of book (this is probably a mistake in some way as I am not a book player, anyhow – but then again, he is not a book player either), or just to keep the game interesting and full of the transitional phases, which is where he succeeded in getting me to lose my way.

10….Nbd4.  I spent 29 minutes on this move, and for the rest of the game he had a 30 minute advantage on me.

11…Bd5.  Paul pointed out that I had this strange possibility of 11…Na5, although it would only really make sense to try this on move 12, after he played 12.f3.

13…Nd4.  A time-pressure move, didn’t see I was giving up Nf4 until after I played it.  After the game, I preferred 13…Nc3-b8-d7 idea.  13…b4 looks dubious because of 14.Nc3.

19…Bf7.  I miscalculated here as after 19…Bb7! 20.Qc4+ Kh8, 21.Ne6 simply …QxNa4, 22.NxR RxN is -+.  Black would seem to have a strong attack here even after 21.Na4-b7 with …g5.  The general theme here is that once I got into time-pressure I played both to not-lose, and to maintain “winning” (swindling?) chances, instead of continuing the attack and trying to play for a win.

25…Nd5.  Even here I should probably be playing 25…g5, 26.Nd3 Re8, or much better why not 25…Nc7-e8-c6 trading off one of White’s big, bad blockading knights, while freeing up Black’s position with …Rc7 as well

26…Qd5, obviously a poor move, time-pressure induced (I actually wanted him to play 27.d3! (??))

29…f4 is the move and the game is still interesting.  I mistakenly thought White couldn’t allow the bishop trade on d5, as if this were some standard attack out of the opening.

30…h5?!  …g5 looks risky, but that’s the right pawn-break, to free up the bishop.

35…h4?  35. g6 is correct.  I should be trying to build a maintainable position by this point, after White’s crafty and brilliant defense, and also should have traded queens.

39…QxRe7?? Time-pressure blunder, but I still think White should win this with queen and knight vs queen and bishop.

I could have played on with 47…Kh5, but after 48.Kg3, white has the h2-h3 tempo to zugzang my king back, once the a-pawns are locked up.



9 thoughts on “Transitional Play

  1. Why did you have to move your knight and spend 29 minutes on that?
    The only possible reason for thinking that much on a move 10 is if you can win a piece or a couple of pawns. The same was with your Bc4 in the recent game.
    Such moves do not decide anything, I beg you not to spend so much time on them.
    It reminded me that young man I played recently. He always gets into time trouble, always.
    Sometimes he can survive it, sometimes not.
    Remember, you have 20 minutes or less on your first 15 moves, this is it.
    I will look at the details later.

  2. I hope you will not get offended, but accept it as advice form your friend.
    I wrote it because I care and I really think that it prevents you from getting what you deserve with your understanding of play and experience.

  3. hehe. You put it nicely, Alex gave me a look of disgust and got angry with me and started asking how much time I spent on certain moves.

    Mark McGough, who beat me in both of those 10 minute games, lost to a 1600 player (who is maybe 1700 by this point) because he had 2 minutes remaining by move 18! (his opponent said he had expected a draw and it was a nothing special Scandinavian opening, but with lots of choices on the board) I’m bad, and spend too much time in the opening, but that is no competition. Mark survives on the clock against me only because I also spend oodles of time, where he has a chance to spend half his time thinking on my clock as well.

    I call it time-pressure psychosis, but you can see how my first judgement of a position is often wrong, particularly later in the game (which is why I need the time). I saw …f4, but didn’t think he could play it, or any of the other moves he played just about. Also, my defense sucks without a lot of time to spend on moves. I can’t blitz strategic moves like most people can, unless it’s just an opening position which I am familiar with.

  4. Lost my last response, so I’ll put this on Office Writer first. 10….Nbd4 was the critical move that gave me an advantage. I didn’t want to cede the bishop pair as 11.Nc5 Bd5, 12.Nxb7? Qd7, 13.BxB QxB, 14.0-0 Rb8 would trap his knight.

    A less ambitious reply might have gone something like 10….Rc8, 11.Nc5 BxN, 12.RxB Kh8, 13.0-0 Nc6-e7. An equal position, but also a position where I am now (supposed?) to either keep up with or overpower an Expert who is better at technical, equal positions than I. I would just as soon drift and make poor moves from those positions, except that I am not starting with the type of initiative which I had gained in the game, which made my following moves much easier to play. Even that continuation would have taken me probably 12 minutes to find without even giving a hard look at the line that I played.

    I got tight later on, in time-pressure, and it’s simply taking me too long to calculate accurately OTB, that’ the heart of the issue, I feel. In some sense, I can play so strong early on that I get lots of miniatures (who has more than me? Seriously.) against lower-rated players, and then against stronger players I lack that later game experience that I missed out from beating lower-rated players so quickly (Richard Brown being a notable exception to this “quick-win policy”). Having now said that, I feel that I am jinxing myself from ever getting another quick win.

    I actually thought when I played my tenth move that anyone watching this game will think that this move was nothing special, particulary if I lose. I’m always amused that people attach so much specialness to Fischer’s moves, when it was noted how simply he wins, and if he had lost those games, I doubt they would have gotten much attention other than as an example of how not to play chess.

  5. RollingPawns, I just want you to know thaat I am not in the least offended by your comments, and instead appreciate your criticisims! 🙂 Like anyone but you, Alex, and maybe my mother and sister care about the reult of one of my chess games. hehe.

    I know this time-pressure problem skews ratings. Mark beat Paul A. with a double piece sac, and then loses an equal position to a 1600 player in time-pressure. Result? Mark’s rating goes down and his is even more lower to my rating (1775 now), than it was previously. Yes, my rating is so low now that 2-2 only cost me 3 rating points. It seems like half the field finished with 2.5 in the money. That felt rather odd.

    the funny thing is that I felt too much under time-pressure to walk about and see other people’s games, whereas Mark strode up and examined the position in my game. This gave me a chuckle when I thought about this, earlier today.

  6. 10. Nbd4 could have been a brilliancy, if you found the even crazier 12. Na2! Fritz suggested that and I was stunned that it looks like it works out. Sometimes the problem with finding the best move is you have to keep finding best moves to get it to work.

  7. Paul, thanks! I laughed when I read your reply because that is so true.

    You may be surprised, but I spent about 10 of those 29 minutes looking at …Na2. I finally decided that it probably wasn’t “a big deal” compared to the variation played, but even now I can see that I didn’t weigh the concept properly. This is also why I played so poorly in the end, not quite because I didn’t see things, but because given the time, and not enough sustained composure OTB, I wouldn’t weigh seemingly obvious concepts properly. I finally figured well, okay, you will play Rb1, and …b5, then Nc3 Na2xNc3, but after dxNc3, with that pawn exchange and Rb1 it should have been far far more than enough to convince me, without even seeing the dagger of ….Na5, which I never saw, but strangely you did see.

    Also, I didn’t hold this variation strongly enough in my mind, because at my or our level I still inject “worry” into analysis, such as, well what if he captures on c3 with the bishop (which is not possible) or what if my knight gets stuck on a2 (which was my initial thought before I analyzed this variation, but then it’s strange how you can remember the worry instead of the analysis when it comes time to make a decision!). This is what I need to better of, analyze cleanly, I think that half the time I spend on a move is not analysis but pure emotional worry, and then trying to calm myself down. I think in my mind that I am maybe dropping a piece if I get a long-analysis wrong, purely based on emotion. I need to stop doing that.

    Yes, yes, you are so right, one has to keep up the parade of good moves. I even know this OTB as I was playing, but there is such a temptation to be satisfied, and make the game all nice-like, and not be so insistently a crazy person once you get enough of that advantage which is being sought! 🙂

    BTW, the way you defended and traded on the light diagonal was just brilliant. Even your decision to exchange rooks, which took me by surprise just as much, was definitely on the awesome side as I think White can easily win that queen and knight vs bishop and queen ending, particularly if say you play Ne5-f3-g5, that would be a crazy dagger mate on h7, and you pick up that a7 pawn easily and pass yours.

    I really enjoyed the last part of this game where I lost because it took me to unknown realms that I didn’t know existed. hehe. You do that a lot when you play me. I find my chances early, and you find yours later in the game.

    If I had been playing Dean Brown, for example, I probably would have played …Na2, since he gives me time to play the perfect moves. I really did spend a long time looking at …Na2, which should be slightly embarrasing now to think how weakly that I analyzed it. Plus, I was playing you and thinking more along the lines of not wanting to dump the game quickly in another crazy-looking loss to a high-rated player. When I win against a lower-rated player playing something brilliant-looking, it just makes me look “bad”, or “good” in a back-handed compliment sort of way, for “picking on” a lower-rated player.

    This three-pawn attack respons to the double-fianchetto was always my style going way back, but even 20 years ago I improved this understanding when I read Bent Larsen’s book where he really loved to play these sorts of positions as Black. Of course, he would play more daringly than I, with even less of an advantage, but that made a big impression on my understanding. Larsen would definitely have played ..Nb4 and ..Na2. 😀

  8. I take half of my rant about Ndb4 back after reading these comments. 🙂
    Yeah, my Fritz found Na2 too, it looks more like a computer than human move, still you saw it.
    You lost somewhere between moves 35 and 39, 39… Bxe7 was not saving because of Qa8+ and Qxa7. Anyway, a game you can learn something from.
    I posted my Monday’s game.

  9. Ah, makes sense, nice tactic. Move 35 was a dud, and it would have been a tough defensive effort where White could make lots of nothing moves where Black has no progress to me made, the sort of position I am worst at in time-trouble.

    You are right about Bc4 in my last game, way too much time. For all the time I spent, I should have simply played Na2 since I spent nearly half my time there looking at it.

    I like your Monday’s game, hope you make Expert now! 😀

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