Positional Madness

City Championship, Round 3

At first, I thought this was just another ridiculous loss of mine, but I did through in some excitement value as well, as the ship went down.

11.Nc3? was positional laziness, just as much wanting to see how he would proceed.  Perhaps I could play 11.h3 or some other move here.

13.fxe5??  I didn’t like “the look” of 13.dxe5, and made my move after maybe half a minute of thought.  The thing is that I had been calculating Black playing …Rd8, and he played it here, but I hadn’t calculated it at all on this move, and suddenly I am just losing a pawn.

21.Bg5? I had told myself that it was positional madness to play this move, and yet I played it anyway once I realized how “boring that it looked” to play 21.dxc6 (I knew that dxe6 would make his knights strong and well placed, as I told him after the game) bxc6. 22.Ne4 NxN. 23.QxN Bg7 being a pawn down and trying to hold on in such a non-dynamic position, but it would have been better than the coffee-house moves which I chose that followed.

22.fxe6?  This is why I had played 21.Bg5, because I had tempted myself into taking on e6 after all.

23.Bd2?!  I am already playing for tricks, really, as I hadn’t wanted to allow …BxNc3, ruining my pawn structure -+.

24.Bd5? Can you blame me?  I saw that I was simply dropping the pawn after 24.Ne4 NxN, 25.QxN Be5, 26.Bf4 Rxe6.  The idea behind 24.Bd5 was to follow it up with …cxB, 25.Nxd5 Qf8, 26.e7, but this was hope-chess because I never saw the reply 24…BxNc3 until he played it, although honestly he simply needed to see what I was up to and then find it’s fatal flaw, which is more or less what happened.  He used his clock impeccably, always solving the problem on the board and never making “clock moves”.

I flirted with the intermezzo 26.Bxf6, but it just doesn’t lead anywhere after ..QxBf6, 27.g4.  Also, 27.e7 Rae8, 28.g4 will fail tactiacally to …Rxe7.

I completely missed 27…Nd4, and was rather surprised that it appeared to work, although 28.Qc4 would have been more of a common-sense replay which Alex found in post-game analysis, and should at least win a pawn versus what I played.  Actually, 28.Qc4 Qd6? would be a blunder due to either 29.Rxf6 or 29.e7, either one should work, but after 28…Rad8 Black should be up that piece safely for no more than a pawn.  29.Bxa5?! b5! 30.Qb4? Nc6


2 thoughts on “Positional Madness

  1. I noticed that this is a second game ( I looked at your last game first ) where moving your f2 pawn only gets you in trouble, so maybe you should rethink that, even I know it’s your style.
    13. dxe5 is actually OK and the position is equal.
    You did not have to play 25. Ne4, 24. Bg4 Ng7 25. Bf4 Rdd8 26. Bh3 f5 27. g4 is about -0.6.
    So really you were not forced to play these losing moves.
    For me the positions in both your games are just too sharp, they require too much time for evaluation and calculation.

  2. Agreed, I played a screwy move in severe time-pressure, didn’t see the refutation, although did give this move two or three minutes of though.

    I was trying to get in Bg4 for quite a while. So, 24.Bg4 was definitely preferable. 24.Bg4 Rxd6, 25.Qg2 Ne3!, 26.BxNe3 RxBe3 and White is lost – pressure on c3 to win another pawn and destroy the chain, and …Nd3 threat looks –+. I did look at some of this variation, although not as deeply OTB in time-pressure, but I do remember figuring that I could not play 24.Bg4 Rxd6, and then 25.QxR NxQ, so I’m not sure why Black would need to play 24…Ng7, although that is interesting analysis that you gave, and thanks for pointing out that Black has that option! I feel like drifted into a postal-chess position, although move 21.Bg5 is where I really tossed this one away, more or less, I am figuring. He was playing spot-on, so if I had been slummin’ with it, for the City Championship I think he would have come up with something – in fact, it was the soon to be City Champion Josh who knocked Jeff out contention.

    I understand what you are saying about moving the f-pawn, although my second thought was a Forrest-Gump-like reaction “Sharp is as sharp does!” 😀 Take a look at this line 21.dxc bxc, 22.Qg2 (…Nd3 is not possible because of 23.Bxc6 NxRe1, 24.RxN, and now the Ra8 will fall) Rac8, 23.Ne2 Nd3, 24.NxB NxRe1, 25.RxNe1 NxNd4, 26.Be5 White gives up the exchange, but keeps the bishop pair and has better coordinated pieces – even Qg2-h3-h6 is a possibility/threat.

    I noticed back in CA that there are sharp players with low-ratings, and even I was a positional player with not enough tactical sauce that could look at my rating smugly at that time, but then I realized you could gain a lot of chess strength from these positions, even if the ratings don’t follow or go in a different direction. 🙂 I do want to get my rating to 2000, but I also want to improve my level, and not be smug about some win where I wait for the other person to do all of wrong moves. Specifically, I am thinking of some local players when I say that. I don’t want to play bad variations, but I do want to play sharper.

    My first thought after losing Thursday night was that perhaps I should switch do 1.d4, or now I know why players at a certain strength switch to 1.d4, that sort of thing, but that is mostly a reaction to loss. Do you want me to play like Anand-Carlsen? I know you don’t and neither do I. Maybe it would have been weak, but my first reaction to seeing Anand play 0-0-0 in yesterday’s game was that it will now likely be a draw, and that he should have played 0-0 instead. They don’t take risks at that level.

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