Round 3, I played a new kid.

Another cocky kid in Co. Springs, so what’s new?  The Herman kids are the only holdouts, it seems (i.e., not cocky).  Atharva seemed to think he was winning all along or something after the game.  I said that I didn’t want to analyze, but he wanted to prove that he was winning at the end of the game, but it seemed that I was the one winning the postmortems or showing him his wins (even though it should be losing for White).  I could give more than one example of something I didn’t like of his, but for example at the beginning of the game, before I made my first move I held my hand high above the board, looking at my clock to watch the five-second delay was set (only took a couple of seconds), when he says to me “You need to move!”  This coming from someone who was 5 minutes late and didn’t want to look at me so I could start the clock until he got everything written down on his scorebook, despite the TD telling us repeatedly to start the clock.

So, what happened in the game?  Basically, I took way too much time.  Spent around 35 minutes on 9.Nd5+.  I knew that I was going to play it for sure after 15 minutes, but then spent another 20 minutes before I played it.  How could this possibly happen?  Honestly, it was this really weird vibe that I had going on that I didn’t want anybody…ever…to criticize this move is what it seemed like to me.  I had never played this kid before and was not nervous during the game, but I felt a pressure of expectations, as if I weren’t allowed to draw this kid.  I wasn’t result-focused at all, was just trying to do my best to concentrate on the game.  If this were at the Herman home, for example, I would have been fine, but because there were people who don’t play me that much walking around looking at my game, I think I had an attack of the “imaginary audience” – you can look it up, it’s a psychology term that almost exclusively applies to adolescents, but whatever.  It’s not something that I wished upon myself, more like the opposite, it’s unwelcome but it can happen apparently.  Definitely, one can’t be thinking about chess and thinking about something else like that at the same time, can’t serve two masters.

Actually, I think my opponent had something to with this as well because the whole game his whole aura was screaming at me “Oh my gosh, I am going to beat a Class A player!”  In my time pressure, he was nervous but I wasn’t, and he was leaning over the board staring at me as if to say “You are going to lose on time, I am going to beat you!”  And I was thinking “Yeah, so what, is anyone going to let me focus on actually playing the game?”  I’m not 100% positive, but I do believe that he stopped recording moves when I got to 5 minutes, and I kept recording down to 20 seconds.

If I could use an analogy here and say that “I could win this game in my sleep” the opposite analogy would be “There’s no way I could avoid losing if I were to get too excited”  There is definitely a different type of vibe to the Tuesday club, probably because it’s in an auditorium, where there is this chatter about winning/losing, opinions about the rules.  At a restaurant or a home, there is more of a natural distraction, less of an over-focus on chess.  At CSCC, I buy bottled water out of a vending machine, and Carl’s Jr is the only place that is close, is overpriced and closes at 10pm, so there is this exclusive focus on chess.  Well, that’s my 2 cents about that, or 5 dollars I guess!

The part that I don’t like so much is that it’s like hey, I am there to have fun.  If this were a tournament with money on the line, you could practically sit on my face and I wouldn’t be distracted from chess.  I play well when the occasion is there.  Problem is, the occasion is _always_ there, and someone always wants to take you down in chess, it’s a given.  I like rated games because I know my opponent is trying his best, but I think it gets ridiculous when I can pick up on my opponent’s ego, when there is hardly anything more than pride on the line.

The clock was already affecting my play by move 15.  No reason not to play 15.g4 here.  I was relieved when he put his pawn down on ..f6 rather than ..f5.  I was already playing hope-chess here on the clock, gambling that I could play 20.a3 without him responding with …f5, which is gambling, not chess, but it worked.

23. Bf2?  In time pressure, I was only able to see two moves ahead and not three.  Naturally, I was hoping he would play …NxBf2 there.  The correct continuation should have been 23.Kc2 (threatening to play b4 because stopping the …Nd3 move now) …a4, 24.Bf2.  Threatening BxNc5, and then to play Nd2-b1-c3 (I wanted to get this variation in during the game, but it was all a messy flow in my mind of which moves come first, unlike the feeling I have about it now or after the game).

Around move 33, I offered Atharva a draw and he refused because I had 4 seconds remaining.  I figured that I would probably, almost surely win if this were increment, but I believe that I would flagged somewhere because it’s 5 second delay.  I think I would have won with the 10 second delay they are discussing adding, but I figure something like that is beyond my control.

So, I instantly play 34.Rxg?? He spent a lot of time on this move, but I ignored his move because I was basically making a “pre-move” in my waning seconds.  Later, he spent quite a bit of time again, and I already knew that I was going to play 36.Rg3 before he played his move.  But this time, I wanted to make sure I was taking close to 5 seconds and not making that blunder as I did earlier, but somehow I flagged with 3 seconds on my clock.  I made my move on the board, but he called my flag instantly, as soon as it happened.  After the game, I went home and checked my clocks, couldn’t believe it.  Then I sort of vowed to never get below 5 minutes again, finish a game with 30 minutes, etc.  So that’s how I felt about it, disappointed that if I remain calm and don’t get the shakes, then I can’t do the blitz thing at the end.

The one good thing is that because I lost, I went home and studied a lot of chess, unlike when you win and think you are walking on sunshine.  I’ll definitely be more mentally prepared when it comes to my next game, with time-pressure and etc.


7 thoughts on “Flagged

  1. so I take it that your much higher rated than your opponent? I have been struck for awhile how much (in some circumstances) ratings have been affected the game. and like your saying- it isn’t always the other guy. I think part of the problem is its much too simple to boil down all chess strength to a single number. So I guess I’d say play the peices not the person- but I’m sure your heard that advice before! … anyways, I’ve had the feeling before – of not being so happy- to watch my opponent get in some kind of victory dizzy, when he won more on a technicality. Its not pretty.

  2. Playing lower rated players looking for a scalp is tough. Someone once told me that it is better to slip a draw in those cases if you can. But Egos aside and all, I try to focus on the board and pieces at hand. Then there is the ultimate 17th piece known as the clock. When it comes down to trying to pysche out your opponent, nothing good can come of it.

  3. Thank you for all of your comments!

    Victory tizzy, that’s exactly what it was! Technically, my long move was 32 minutes. There is obviously some sort of mental adjustment that I make during my games, usually on move 9, where I spend 30 minutes, and do it in seemingly every game; clearly, this would need to stop. Generally speaking, it’s a “Bronstein moment”, where David B. would spend half an hour before his first move to [paraphrasing] ‘clear out of his head the conversations before the game, external thoughts, etc’ and probably also to get his mind in gear. For me, that is where I got up, and noticed that it was 69.5 degrees in the playing hall, which fatigues me when it is in the lower 30’s or 20’s outside and that hot inside. But, I can’t use excuses because it’s not productive.

    Actually, he was the one outpsyching me (periodically giving me those looks on my clock, although I’m sure he could have done it much worse if he wanted to). Now I’m thinking how Polly used to say how distracting playing kids could be. He had this big scorebook and would write on my move if I took too long, but then I think he began scribbling or drawing. I don’t try to psyche anybody because my strength is in my chess-playing abilities, not the other way around, so I have literally no choice. The biggest thing is that I play younger opponents who can cram in a higher energy level into what for me is a condensed time-frame to play the type of chess game that I would like to play.

    My games look easy in hindsight, but at the board, I’ve felt like I’ve had to put in a tremendous level of energy into a game that doesn’t start until late in the day, 7pm here. It is much easier to do this sort of thing in day games. When I played three round day games, my best was the first round, and worst was my third round – for some players it’s the opposite, they get their mind as the day progresses. Whenever I beat lower-rateds (for the exception of Dean, who is much older than I), they always make me put a lot of energy into my game, and make me “play it out” to the finish to work my clock and energy.

    The 12th man in chess (USA football term) is not the clock. The clock is like the “Special Teams” in NFL football. The other player is like the opposite coach, the arbiter is the ref. The “12th man” in football is the crowd, but in chess it’s your energy level, and more particularly your nervous-energy level, willpower, focus, etc.

    When it comes to the clock, there are definitely different strategies. For example, many players will have 50 minutes remaining around move 30, and then are able to use their clock advantage to outplay you. Still, these players are vulnerable blitzing because, as a rule, they’ve increased the power of their moves by thinking on your time up until then. When you blitz, you use your intuition and experience, and people who have studied less can’t keep up OTB unless you just aren’t thinking deeply enough yourself when blitzing – and because they aren’t improving their play by thinking on your time.

    If you do spend a lot of time on your clock, it’s best to change the strategic character of the game, as they will have spent too much time looking on your clock and have these memory traces burn’t into their brains, such as when my opponent played …f6 instead of …f5. I had given him a long time to think about it and he was probably thinking to consolidate kingside and attack queenside, but it was not a concrete plan like ..f5 would be.

    I think that slipping in a draw is generally correct, practical advice, because the higher-rated opponent will be at an even bigger advantage from an equal position than the lower-rated, statistically. Against a higher-rated you want a “big game”, big attack. Against a lower-rated player, a technical position with a small advantage is highly desirable as it gives your opponent many ways to go wrong.

  4. I think there were too much psychology during this game.
    I had the same thought as Jason before reading his comment, sometimes you have to tell yourself: “I am playing against Black pieces”, that’s it.
    With your time control you can’t afford any kind of “Bronstein moment”. I remember playing in the past a few online blitz games before going to the club, it was getting me into shape.
    I think because of your psychological state during the game you seem like not having a definite plan. Some small positional mistakes, like getting bad bishop or a3, weakening your queenside were the result of that and caused a bigger mistake, costing you a pawn.
    Maybe you would still get a draw afterwards, but the time became a factor.
    All these things seem fixable, but I know that I can’t convince you to do some things until your yourself realize that you have to change. I can tell you that for example I liked a lot Marshall attack, you know that since we even got acquainted through that. I had 80% score online, but OTB I did’t get good results. You know what I did ? I stopped playing it.
    Same with Benko gambit, even I had good results with it. I realized it can’t be my only weapon against d4 and switched to Semi-Slav defense. Maybe one day I will start to play d4 if I will think that I need it to play against high rated opponents or simply to develop my chess skills.

    I played on Thursday. I got higher rated boy, 2172, only at home I found that I played him before and had +1, -1, =1 score, but he progressed a lot. I got a worse position after his Scotch Gambit and had to deal with it the whole game. Nevertheless I persisted and in one moment found a right idea that would allow me to completely equalize, but didn’t execute it the right way. We ended up in a worse for me rook ending which I lost.
    Anyway my rating should increase a bit as a result of draws with high rated guys before.

  5. I’m not offended by your comments, RollingPawns, and you know that I need them and I do appreciate them! 😉 Congrats on your solid play as of late! 🙂 I’ve been in this funk, so I’m glad that you haven’t been in one.

    Was just thinking to myself how G/90 is brutal. One person can quickly mate the other, but the other can string-out the would-be attacker on the clock. Someone is generally losing quickly, or someone is getting strung out on the clock, if not both players.

    I went over this game from Max Euwe’s book and realized just how bad of a chess player that I can be, missing one thing or another on a whole lot of moves. This game is living proof of why a chess game can’t be blitzed out from a won position, and it was helpful to play “guess the move” playing it out over a board. Euwe was a technician, and probably one of the strongest technical player’s of all time in his prime.


    I hope you are doing well, yourself. 🙂 Chess can be quite ridiculous at times because of these limited time-controls, and I am beginning to question their value, whereas I fully realize that our lives outside of chess are much more important! 😀

    Chesswise, I didn’t mean for my week-long funk to be catchy. I do need to focust on the technical aspects of my game. Thanks for your comments about a3 being bad and my bad bishop, this is great for my technical improvement. Although, I have to say that if I had managed my clock better, I probably could have played all kinds of bad positional moves and still won the game, as long as I wasn’t jeopardizing the safety of my own king in a direct and concrete manner. This is one of those losses where I felt outplayed on the clock much moreso than on the board.

    You can post one of your games, and I should post my own games with analysis as well. Even if the improvements are there only for posterity and can’t realistically be found OTB in such a limited time-frame, it’s still probably deserves to be done or at least occasionally. I have been putting off this sort of thing for forever now.

    I do a feel more a sense of responsibility now, that I have to at least play as well as I can every time and to cut down on any “silliness” in my play. I need to put a lot of effort into a lot of moves, regardless of win-lose-draw outcome. It does seem unfair if a person posts a one-sentence sharp comment to my game, as this is not a “Best Games” collection here. I didn’t pick the time-control nor to pick a night game. Actually, I am fast asleep at 7pm nearly every weeknight when not playing a club game. I woke up at approx midnight tonight, which is typical for me.

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