Queen Move Missed

Round 1

In this game, I never once, literally not once considered the possibility of …Qg5 (in any position).   I was 15 minutes late off of my clock, but I never saw that move, even though I looked at many, many lines OTB.  Of all the books I’ve read, games I’ve played, etc.  The only person that has helped me, personally, in any way with my lack of “queen sight” has been Alexander Freeman.  It’s been an issue for me for 30+ years.  It’s a serious issue for my chess, as seriously as one can take this board game.  My opponent pointed out …Qg5 after the game, and that he would have given up the exchange (lose) rather than play Kb1 (where White is better after h4), If I had played it.  I had well over half an hour to spot …Qg5 in any line, and never once spotted it, and none of the winning or drawing lines for Black work without it.

I went to this game, totally not wanting to play in truth, but needing to play as I need to get in shape for the Denver Open.  I had a headache for most of the game, and was going to play 22…Bd6, when I suddenly opted for 22…Kf8?? instead with 7 minutes on my clock.  I saw my mistake as soon as I made my move, but I knew I had a bad endgame – which is less than -1, but Stockfish is totally kicking my butt after every different line that I tried against it, beating me seven ways to Sunday.  I was oddly glad the game was over, as for once didn’t want to fight it out, which is what you have to, or I have to do, as Black to draw or win.  I was inwardly upset before the game over the pairing, but that is probably a good thing getting a pairing or color that I didn’t want.  Unfortunately, when Josh giggled over one move where I spent gobs of time, that probably accurately reflected just how much I wanted to be playing chess at that moment.

The one drawing line that I wanted to play, but still hadn’t fully calculated when I basically decided to give up on the position for sake of time, was 17…Rec8, 18.Bxd7 RxNc3, 19.QxR QxQ, 20.bxQ Bf4+, 21.Rd2 Rd8, 22.Rf1 BxR, 23.KxB RxB+ will lead to a drawn rook endgame.  Here, there was no need to play a …Qg5 move, and I had seen the elements of this combo, but oddly OTB I was even less willing to sacrifice against a player 300 rating points lower than me than I would against equal or higher, because I didn’t want to lose cute, for no reason against a much lower-rated player.  This is the insidiousness of rated chess; in rated chess, there is no first-round player or position, every game requires your brilliancy; you can’t ever have a bad day at the chess board.  In fairness, I wasn’t even sure that this endgame was drawn until I played out some moves with Stockfish.  Again, even a first-round brilliant combo wouldn’t have been enough, as I would have been required to feel I could have drawing chances against this endgame as well, and all for a first-round game.  Well, there is no first-round game anymore, but I will say that Dean and Shirley nearly always gave me easy first-round pairings – those days are clearly gone!

I did do some opening prep earlier yesterday, using Scid with Millbase for the first time, and even writing out some lines for one particular opening, but it mentally burned me out a bit for playing.  I am not planning on studying openings too close to the tournament because it is very dangerous for OTB play.  With openings, it’s more a way to chart and attempt to memorize and choose different possibilities that could happen OTB, but it’s not the same thing as warming up your play, the way blitz or studying tactics would.



10 thoughts on “Queen Move Missed

  1. You played this game pretty well until some point, even your Qxd4 (looking suspicious) is OK.
    But when you played Qxd4 you had to expect Ba6, so maybe you wanted to open the lines?
    Yes, 17… Bx3 18. bxa3 Qg5+ 19. Rd2 Ne5 is a nice line, but not very easy to see, so don’t blame yourself too much.
    I would rather do it with regards to the blunder, but you had 7 minutes… my opponent yesterday blundered having 27… Time management is simply another issue.
    I looked on Wednesday on some my old posts and found Dan Heisman’s rule – look for checks, captures and threats. As naive as it sounds it is actually a good rule.
    If you would follow it, you would see Qg5+ and then probably find the line.
    So, it is not that tragic, you can start doing this from the next game. :), just remember CCT.
    This is how I called it myself, I think I’ll try to use it. 🙂
    Your line starting with 17…Rec8 is a very nice one, not sure I would see it, but yes it is difficult to evaluate that ending, by the way two shootouts ended up as 1.5:0.5 for White.

  2. Thanks! 🙂

    I almost played that 17…Rec8 line, as it was the last thought, that I decided not to look at that line one more time, but I didn’t look much at the line I played, which was an even worse decision/ending. Yes, I’ll use the check, capture, and threat model, as that is exactly the sort of thing I was needing in this game, and missed!

    I definitely got off my game at the end, was not physically at my best, nor mentally. I felt worse about my performance as a whole than about the blunder. The blunder was more a by-product of how I was feeling at that moment.

    Today, I studied the first game of the 1963 Petrosian vs. Botvinnik match and it took my nearly the whole day to get through that one game! Someone gave the book on that match to Alexander (Larry Turner did). I definitely feel ready to play in the Denver Open now, playing-wise, and I feel I know what I have to do to keep focused unlike in that last game – in fact, I might wear a hat, since I was quite distracted by some of my opponent’s looks and some people who stopped by the board, and I shouldn’t let that be an issue for me. It’s tough sitting so tall because anyone could look up at me and I can’t avoid their look unless I have a hat or sunglasses. I am trying not to look at my opponents, but I do sit really tall and sort of need a visor to block out their physical proximity.

    Their is time-management, and then their is conviction-management, and I didn’t play with my convictions. Yes, I knew he would eat those a and b pawns, that is what I wanted him to do.

    BTW, somehow, I just knew that sooner or later a movie on Magnus would come out. 😀

  3. I just played a blindfold game against a level 3 computer at Chess.com. First time I’ve ever won a blindfold game, but it’s not hard to see why as the most difficult part of blindfold chess is remembering where all your pieces are on each move. It’s actually the first time I’ve played a complete blindfold game online. I tried it once or twice against Crafty years ago. I don’t know how people do it, must take quite a bit of practice. I actually played this game in a reasonable amount of time, seemed around 20 minutes, but was probably closer to 25; felt like 15 minutes.

    Perhaps if I try blindfold more I can get into the visualization aspect. Right now, I prefer combos OTB when it comes to visualization and logic, as when you first start out with blindfold it’s the memorization of where things are that is the most daunting task.

  4. If during the tournament you know beforehand your opponent, it is useful to find out which openings he is playing and look at a few lines. It helped me quite a few times, but as I mentioned a long time ago we have databases online with the games played by Canadian players. Too bad, my Thursday’s club is not contributing the games now.
    I don’t know how it is in USA.

  5. By the way, did you think about getting a job as a software tester?
    It is closer to your specialty and here in Canada they are getting paid pretty well.
    We have here some courses, automated testing, etc., you should have the same there, at least online.

  6. I have their games somewhere, but have been too lazy to look at those games yet. I’ve been looking at sharp openings, and now I want to play something duller at the tournament.

    I’m really lousy blindfolding, and was amazed that I pulled that off. I can blindfold a particular position, so to speak, and then visualize the logic of a specific combo or idea, but if we start a game with a3, h3, or try to get some meaningless position it would be harder, because of the sheer memorization task of tracking the whole board over time, and then it’s hard just to think about actually playing chess at that point, although practice should help. Even for a position, I would usually suck at it unless I can concentrate undisturbed, and manage to not look at the board so much.

    That sounds great. Software testing seems more up my alley than anything else. Excellent idea! I’m actually more intrigued by that sort of aspect of software, and in ways it relates to regular programming.

  7. I am glad you liked the idea of testing. Your programming background would be very helpful, you just need to learn a few testing programs.
    Also perspectively it can be testing on a high level, writing scripts, almost like a programming. My friend at the previous job used, I think, WinRunner.
    Here the market for that is good. Though most of the jobs are contracts, people find another contract soon and a contract pays more than a permanent job.
    Actually a friend of my friend on the current job who has a difficult life situation after leaving his job, moving back to Russia and then moving back, is looking now for a tester’s job, having some programming in the past as a background.

  8. Hopefully, your friend will find a job again in Canada. 🙂

    Once I get programming again, I want to use good testing procedures/scripts on my own program that I want to write. I’ll start on this next week.

    I played last night as part of prep for Denver Open. I hadn’t played in so long that I felt I needed to play, plus it was G/30 practice.

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