B is for Blunder

Thursdays Final Round

A bit of a back-story to this game.  Pete and I knew were going to face one another for a few weeks, and since we are good friends bantered about drawing this game, although by the final week I had convinced him that we couldn’t really draw at 30 second increment, and he had been preparing for this game since he knew it was so inevitable.

The other thing is that I had only gotten about half an hour of sleep the night before, and then worked 9 hours (which doesn’t include the unpaid half an hour lunch), then went to play.  The night before, four of us had been at the bar til closing time, then we went to Subway to play some more chess.  I bought a large Dr Pepper and was then wired.  I looked at my phone at 6:34am and found the sick-line # for my work, but then lied down and woke up at 7:20 am and  then went straight to work.  Work was relatively light days of calls (comparatively), and the drinking helped me be relaxed and social on the phones, but of course none of this is helping my chess.  By the time I got to Ihop, I told Pete about my game the night before, which I had shown him the night before, and then realized I was out of it.  I scarfed down a stack of pancakes and coffee (which naturally kicked in more after the game than during).

In the game, I wanted to play fun line that is not so great objectively but would give both of us a reasonable chance of drawing a messy game.  I had never played this exact line before.

5.dxc5?!  Slightly dubious here.  Plus, I saw it was premature after playing it since I cannot play b4 until I play Nf3, as after 5…Bxc5, 6.b4? BxNg1, 7.RxN Qh4+ picking up the h2 pawn.

6.f4  The new move

9.b5??  9.a3?! is indicated, as they used to say.  a3 protects b4 in case of ..d4, although 9.Bb2!? is also possible here, and perhaps already the only move.  b5 is bad because it pushes the knight to a better square, plus it is a target there on b5, so that if I trade my light-square bishop for a knight, then there goes this pawn.

9…Ne7!  Didn’t see this move at first, but did realize it’s full potential after a bit of thought.

10.Be2?  I offered a draw here, but my position is terrible.  10.Bd3 is really necessary as one knight will need to be traded off, then the king will likely have to hand-castle, but one would need to defend extremely well already to try and draw this thing as White.

10…Rc8!  Here I blitzed my next two moves in maybe half a minute, as if to prove that the position “was still a draw”.

12.0-0?? After the game, Pete showed me the line he had seen if 12.Bb2 Nf5 (I would have played 13.g3 here to stop the …Qh4+ followed by …Nxg3 that we both saw).  Although I pointed out he now has 13…Ng4 and it’s over with both knights hopping in.

Regarding draws and drawing.  It doesn’t work for me.  Every time I offer a draw, I play badly right after offering one, or will draw at best.  Pete demolished me as if his were a Bobby Fischer simul game, and after studying with me for quite a while (I like to show my games), doesn’t need help on how to beat me, that is for sure.  I believe that draws will cease for me unless my opponent offers one where I am in a worse position, just a heads-up, and this is mainly so that I don’t deceive myself with my own draw offers, which were only serving that purpose anyway.

Wednesday’s game was against a new opponent, but a long time CO player, and faced my first Max Lange Attack, I believe it is one, OTB.

Wednesday’s Final Round

After move 38 I had 4:40 remaining on my clock, and stopped keeping score here.  He was taking a while to move, so I went to use the restroom, it’s this heavy door that slams and it was about 20 ft. away from our board, and I looked at my clock before I went in, him looking at the board.  I took a quick whiz and when I came back I had 3:20 remaining, so I was upset (Pete said later he had watched me leave to the restroom) because he rattled off his next two moves, which let me know that he had been sitting on this plan when I left.  I saw that I could sac my knight for his two pawns and should win, but of course I had the human thought/reaction of “Why should I sac a piece if I don’t have to?” which is not chess, BTW, it’s just human emotion.

Then I got into time-pressure out of seemingly nowhere, and took his pawn with 11 seconds remaining to ensure that he didn’t “win” on time.  Even 39…Kb4 was probably mating.  With a 30 second increment (or a second time-control – yes they do still exist!) I would have no problem realized that I should have been marching my king toward his side of the board and not mine, but in time-pressure this self-preservation ‘just don’t lose” can sometimes kick in, it’s irrational.  I was pissed afterward that I had drawn this game.  Move 44, I seen that I had blown it and threw in the towel on the win.

Next month Wednesdays are going to be G/80, delay 10 seconds.  At first I was appreciative of the 10 second delay, but it’s still losing those 10 minutes, and it’s not an increment either.  Between the debacle that happened on both Wednesday and Thursday, and the frequency, dare I say predictability of these occurances, I don’t believe that I will play on Wednesday next month.  There is a chance that I will play the G/30 10/delay Cabin Fever Reliever on Tuesday, but am mostly waiting for first G/75, 30 second increment tournament which is supposed to take place at the CO Springs Chess Club starting in March.  I asked Daniel about a match between us that Shirley suggested, but Tuesdays would be the day to do it, and Daniel wants to play in the Cabin Fever Reliever on his available Tuesdays next month.


9 thoughts on “B is for Blunder

  1. Honestly I would never drink/play until the morning knowing I have a game coming. Sleeping at night half an hour before the game would never work for me, the best I tried was 5.5 hours.
    The opening really looks suspicious to me, you explained all very well yourself.
    12. O-O is not exactly blunder, though close and your shape explains it.
    I mostly wait for the draw offer, one reason is lately I am playing with the high rated opponents and I would not feel comfortable offering them a draw.

  2. Wednesday’s game – the opening is just too sharp for me. He could play 12. g4 Qxg4 13. Qxg4 Bxg4 14. Nxf6 with advantage, but the last mistake was his – 13. Qh5, giving you very nice position.
    And then yeah, you blew it, you realize it yourself that the plan was to move the king to support the pawns. He can’t create more than one passed pawn on the other side and your knight should be able to handle it. It’s too bad the time trouble affected the outcome of this game as it was won for you.

  3. Yeah, it was completely stupid of me to stay out all night and then to work 9 hours after that, don’t know what I was thinking. I was winning some-interesting post-mortem lines against Daniel (and even in the Thursday game showed a line where if Black attacks, then White wins, and held my tongue on another)., and I showed 12.g4 to Josh Bloomer, thinking I was just losing and he agreed.

    I saw sooo much of White’s stuff, a lot more than the game shows, but then this type of position is like postal chess, I blundered to have allowed 12.g4 and so the position was still over my head, and I should consult the theory of this opening. One has to know the analysis of the line intimately, and that’s why I was surprised OTB that he let me off like that; but then again he wasn’t using nearly as much time as I, and neither was Peter!

    The time-pressure shows what happens when the other player blitzes me and I don’t have time to gather my thoughts and am just reacting to moves.

  4. I think its really cool that with all the issues you pulled off a draw!
    IMHO, This is one of the highmarks of a strong chess player. —

    on the other hand,sometimes strong players have really bad reactions to draws.
    Wasn’t it Fischer that he said he would rather have tried something different and lose?! maybe I’m misunderstanding the point of veiw of some chess players- but if you start having problems and struggle- but can DRAW. that means that your score is that much higher, when your in your zen- and demolishing your opponent.

    its a form of skill all its own, IMHO. and frankly- I have been trying to be the determined chess player, that Draws instead of loses when things go wrong…

  5. I played yesterday. I knew that I will get Black against one of two d4 players, so decided that I am bored with Semi-Slav and refreshed my memories with Queen’s Indian.
    It actually worked and I got a quite decent position with isolated pawn.
    Then I decided to transfer it to position with hanging pawns.
    I think what’s arisen was above my paygrade. Though, I remember reading “Program for preparing 1st category players” many years ago back in Russia and they had the whole chapter about hanging pawns. The position was really complicated.
    I had a shot at one point to get 0.8, but it wasn’t obvious and I missed it.
    Then I moved one of the pawns and started to lose initiative.
    Eventually I got a really bad position and lost.

  6. It sounds like you went for an “adventure” just as I did in my loss. My opponent got to have just as much fun as I, but without the risk, is how I felt – notwithstanding that he did play super-awesome on the occasion, and gave me nice chess lesson OTB.

    Titled players tend to find those “only” positional moves more reliably than at the class-level. You had me scared as soon as you said that you chose the Queen’s Indian = difficult play for Black OTB (but is often great in blitz when it doesn’t get refuted), and then scared again when you said you were bored of the Slav, which is the safer choice at our level.

    I think a lot comes down to how much sleep you get, when it comes to playing adventurously. Last week I was out drinking all night on both Monday and Wednesday before Thursday’s game.

    Look at the rating of these two players (Magnus in his World Jr. Champion days)


    Black could have played 21…Nd3, but tries to press some dubious kingside attack instead. Then plays the same move 23….Nd3? when it is now just a silly positional blunder which weakens everything imaginable (I could list about seven or eight weaknesses this move creates). Whereas he could have played 23…Ng6, 24.Qh3 Ne7, 25.cxb4 Bxb2 and Black looks fine to me. This is where rest comes in, IMHO.

    27…f4. 27…Rxb2 doesn’t work because of 28.Qxd3, when it would seem that after for instance 28…Rxa2, 29.Nxf5 Qd7, 30.Rxe5 (ripping the key defender/attacker off the board) dxR, 31.Ne7 Rg7, 32.Qd5 with the idea of 33.Qxe5 threating 34.Nf5 double-attack with pin on the g7 Rook.

    In case you think everyone just “drops their purse” (an Alex saying) against Magnus, the same player above dismantles Magnus positionally in their other game in the tournament.


    Thanks, Jason!! That really helps my confidence when you heap praise like that while I full well know I would have done better to march my king forward and potentially lose somehow than to not take that risk. There are times when a chess player just needs the pat on the back like you just gave me! 😀 Expert Paul A. just kept telling me “That’s what the 5 second delay is for, you only need 5 seconds to win that position!” which I feel denigrates chess as a whole to think that people no longer need time, only a delay, and not even an increment.

  7. You are absolutely right about Queen’s Indian. I could probably play it against lower/same rated players to master it, not against experts. I can resist positionally pretty well to them in positions that are familiar and understandable to me, like ones arising in Ruy Lopez.
    I saw your games and will comment on them soon.

  8. 1.d4 players have an advantage against us because they play it as both White and Black, whereas we only play it as Black. The ….b6,…Ba6 type of line actually seems easier to play and equalize with (provided that the tactic Bxa6..Nxa6, Qa4+ and QxNa6 tactic doesn’t exist), although it seems it’s less ambitious as well – however, a draw is a good result against higher rated, and the Na6 can go to c7 or c5.

  9. Good thoughts. Maybe I should start playing 1. d4 against lower rated.
    I am not familiar with Ba6 , though know about it, should consider it.
    I know Carlsen plays it.

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