Tuesday’s Game

Round 4

I played against Dean’s Scotch-like system, wondering if he had come up with an improvement, but he let me get in the new move first, …Rb8, and then let himself get into a tough spot where he really needed to find the right move, and he couldn’t quite pull that off.  After I won the piece, I had a whole hour on my clock to enjoy playing the endgame with!






Short Circuit

I’ve played eleven rounds of chess this week, and at least three rounds every week this month, never mind any chess I may have studied or played on the internet.

In this Quick Chess tournament I won my first round in convincing style, and then was ready to go home, particularly after two rounds; it was an ominous feeling.  Note:  This tournament does not count toward my Classical/”slow-chess”/Standard rating.

Round 1

Round 2

If you didn’t know this was a quick chess game, you will once you realize for how many moves the mate-in-one hung there for.

Round 3

The most ridiculous game of the night, and it only took all of about ten minutes for the entire game.  I felt as though he blitzed me into the loss, as I had just drank two Dr. Pepper’s, which made me jittery, and I was trying to keep up with him, as it’s difficult to have a sense of how much time you have in a blitz/quick game when your opponent doesn’t stop blitzing himself.  As soon as I took his a2 pawn, I let out a loud groan, and then I touched his b3 pawn and resigned.

Round 4

Move 15.Qf3?  The short-circuit moment in this game.  I wanted to play 15.Nf3, but thought that I couldn’t because of Bg4 pin, but as soon as I moved I wanted to slap myself for not playing it because my h3 move had already prevented Bg4.  Stockfish says 15.Nf3 is best move, after a minute or two (+1.2).  Qf3 only makes sense in the line 15.Bxe4 Qxc4, 16.Qf3, which is the second-best line.  After that, I was like the boxer who never saw it comin’, punch drunk.

Round 5

In this game, at which point I was no longer concerned about the result of this tournament, I was delusional thinking that 19.Nxc7 was an easy win (-.75), but that 19.Bc3 looked more like an interesting, tighter win where we could still have a long game (-1.5).  Well, the reality was that my move was losing, and the other move barely drawing.

Well, after I played 22.Bxe5, I immediately saw 22…f4+.  I ended up flagging in a lost position.  I felt like my brain was barely functional over my last three rounds.

I went to this tournament because it was in my hometown of Fountain, but I don’t have any further plans to attend Quick Chess tournaments because they are simply too fast for me.  Hopefully this did some good for my mental skills at high-speed chess, and that is why I attended this event.

BTW, after I resigned my game with Daniel, the two of us continued to blitz from that position as if the mistake hadn’t happened, and he checkmated me two times.  I think that this wore us both out going into the next round because Daniel lost a game many of us thought he might win, against Justin, and I blundered against Rhett.




End of Week Games

Round 4 Thursdays.

28.Nc3  I saw the mate 28.Nxf6! before he played 27…h6, knowing that I was just winning there, but then forgot how it worked after I got back to the table and he moved.

Rocky Mountain Team Chess Challenge – Side Event Quads

Round 1

I still had 18 minutes on my clock when Alexander proposed a draw in a position that Stockfish has as =+ in his favor.  I should have played Qb3 instead of Rc1, but things always become a little clearer after a game.  It also said I should play g5, and considered that, but was reluctant to in a G/45 match.

Round 2

My first-time opponent was placed in this quad based on his 1774 blitz rating.  He recently finished a 16 round blitz event, going 8/16, and finishing ahead of an A player who was once an Expert, and 1.5 ahead of Sara in that tournament as well.  Unfortunately, he lost all three games in this quad, his first three slow-rated games, so his initial provisional rating will probably come out rather low.

Round 3

I played the terrible move …e5 because I needed a win, and a queenside pawn majority was the only decisive strategy that I could come up with (hence, wanting to trade the e-pawn).  Sara only a draw to win the quad.  I should have played something other than QGD, and should have avoided trading pieces.  This was my worst played game, but I hung in there long enough to see her finally blitz out a bad move that made her position more difficult.  In the end, she should have pushed her b-pawn, her final mistake.

Well, I am off to play five rounds of quick-chess today.  G/24, 5 sec increment.


The Equal Attack

In my final match game with Imre, Round 4, I played The English Attack of the Sicilian for the first time OTB  for me, that I can recall.  Here is a model game: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1800174

Here is another game where Anand wins as Black.  It’s the same game as mine and Imre’s, except that Black plays an early …b4, and then …Ne8 instead of …Nh5.  This game gives an impression that it was won with prep: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1385670

I titled this post The Equal Attack because White’s attack seems so equal.

17.Nd2  Na5 and Nd5 are both safe, but neither leads to an advantage with correct play from Black.

18.Qh4?  Imre and Stockfish both criticize this move, but in human terms I still have difficulty understanding why it is such a poor move.  Aha, it’s weak because he simply has …f5, if I play Nf1, and also he can sort of force my Nd5, then he captures and gets access to the 4th rank for his rook, as he did in the game.

18.Nf1 Rfc8, 19.Ng3 Nxg3, 20.hxg3 Qc4, 21.Qh2 b4, 22.Nd5 Bxd5, 23.exd5 a5, 24.Rh1 h6, 25.gxh6 g6, 26.h7+ Kh8, 27.Qd2 a4 is a remarkable equal (=) line.  I told Imre after the game that I felt that this attack up the h-file idea was going nowhere, although I didn’t see all of that, saw quite a bit of it.

On move 19, I felt stuck, and decided to sac a pawn to make play easier for White, even though it also meant giving up intentions of winning the game.

On move 30 (a natural time-control move), I threw the game away with 30.f5?? because I couldn’t figure out what to do with under a minute on my clock, and wanted to slap myself after playing it since right after I played it I realized it was completely losing and that I should have played 30.Qg2.  Stockfish says that the position was equal 0.0 before making this blunder (and it was hopelessly lost after it).

I’ll try to explain exactly how I made this blunder.  By the time I was down to 2 minutes, Imre had about an hour on this clock (sort of the normal pattern for this match).  After this is when Imre began to use most of his time (he got down to under 5 minutes by the games end), and while the time helped me on one hand, on the other hand it also made me more tired.  Often, when I blitz, my opponent also plays quickly.  In this match, it was the most dramatic example of the opposite of that I have ever been faced with (which was excellent experience for me, by the way!)   When he played 29…Rc5, I had spent no time considering this move (one reason is that I wasn’t spending the energy to look for all forcing moves on his clock).  I felt the fatigue, and the need to “play something forcing”, so I blundered.  I knew this was bad, but felt I didn’t have the energy to come up with anything else.  As soon as I had played it, I noticed Qg2 and questioned how I could not wait to see this move or just flag instead?

One thing that impressed me about Imre’s play was his remarkable level of technique, as it struck me that it is a big part of his game.  On move 36, he played the uncompromising 36…Bxf6!, 37.gxf6 Ne8!.  Now, he could have played 37…Nf5?? which puts me back in the game, or 37….Ne6, which appears more active, but is not as strong.  I had blitzed the sequence of my moves, and he did take some time here, but only enough time to quickly calculate, just a couple of minutes, very impressive!

It was an interesting game, and a delightful match, although my score isn’t going to reflect that.  lol.  I can say that match play is about “hanging tough” to collect points or draws; and just saying that isn’t enough, you sort of have to play one to get the feel and experience from it.  It’s not that tough, you just have to avoid blunders, and have the energy to do that over a long game.




Tuesday’s Game

Round 3

I played a new opponent last night, a Class A player who regularly plays in Ohio.  It is a rare technical game where you’d need to look for small improvements, particularly for White’s play.  He played very well, nearly always chosing the most aggressive option.  He offered a draw when I was down to 2 min 23 sec, and him at 12 min, 59 sec.  He thought that I might continue 30.d4 exd4, 31.Bxd4, then I pointed out 31…Qc6, 32.e5 after that  He was nervous that I would play for that e5 move, but I showed him that it’s good for him in the post-mortem.

I told him after the game that his …Ng4 didn’t achieve anything and was best left on f6, and I thought we might get into this variation where we both win each others e-pawn.  When he attacked me with that move, I began to play quickly and gain time, and I think that shocked him a bit as he was enjoying thinking on my clock up to that point.

I never would have even considered playing 30.d4 in that position.  I was planning on playing 30.Kg2.  Stockfish suggests both 30.Kg2 and 30.Rc1, giving a 0.0 evaluation for both moves.  I spent 24 seconds considering his draw offer, and agreed to it with 1 min 59 sec remaining on my clock.

Thursday Nights Game

Round 3

I played against Jason L. in this game.  He’s a really sweet kid, and I refer to him by his middle name “Fabio” to others since there are already enough Jasons who play chess.

He resigned on move 36, but I accidentally included the moves I was going to play after that in the game score above.

Once I got down to 16 minutes on my clock, I played terrible starting with 25…Rab8 instead of 25…a5.  I realized that I wasn’t familiar with this type of position and wasn’t going to figure it out in the time remaining.

28.Qc2?  Setting up the first bad piece trade for him.

32…cxd4?  Not the right idea, but the position is around 0.0 here, even.  The right way to play was 32…c3!, and now the main point after 33.Rb3 c4!!, 34.Rxc Bf8 winning the b4 pawn, and giving Black a -1 advantage.  As it was, he could have taken on c5 with the pawn rather than the knight, then I would played …Re8 and then the position would have become a mess, but equal.  The knight recapture came as a pleasant surprise, and I was happy to come out of this game with a win.


Match Games 3 and 4

Game 3

In game 3, I finally got on the board, preventing a blowout.  Imre dropped a pawn early in the opening, and I couldn’t convert that advantage.

I felt there was an endgame chance with 44…Bg3, and even noticed it as 43…Bg3, but on both moves was under a minute, and wasn’t sure I wanted my bishop getting stuck over there.  Beware here, a computer eval may go up to -2.5, but I can virtually assure you that it is only a draw still, as I spent time going deep into different lines all the way to the end of the game.

My real chances were earlier, before I gave back the pawn on e5.  For example, instead of 25…fxe5 25…Rxe5 holds onto the extra pawn (because of the …Rd2+ tactic).  After 28.Bxe5, I had planned 28…Rd5 in response, but then noticed he would have the winning 29.Bd6+! tactic, so I played the forced 28…Re6 instead.  That sort of thing happens when you keep the position complex instead of simplifying it (i.e., the move 25 mistake).

Imre declined a draw offer after move 38, probably because he had at least a ten minute clock advantage, and was still the one doing the pressing.  I declined a draw offer after move 46 because there was nothing to lose, possibly something to gain, and I wanted to play it out and see.  I followed my standard policy of playing to move 60 (one scoresheet) because it’s a natural time-control move (moves 30, 40, and 60 all border natural time-controls).

Earl, an Expert, spotted 25…Rxe5 for me, and helped me to understand that I should have been playing this sort of position more slowly than I am often want to.  Sometimes complications are your friend (particularly when trying to bail out of a bad situation), and sometimes they are not warranted (particularly with a strategic advantage).

During the game, I spent a lot of time on move 15, because I only reluctantly played 15…BxNb1, and it’s interesting that Stockfish confirms that I threw away nearly a pawn worth of advantage there, even though the move is ostensibly keeping the pawn.  I was mainly considering 15…Bd5, but 15…Bg6 escaped my radar a bit more because it seemed as though it might be too slow, but I should have analyzed it further.  Actually, it’s funny because it offers the pawn back on e5, and if White takes the pawn it’s -1.5 in Black’s favor, but it’s only =+ holding onto the pawn.  It takes a lot of courage to make that type of decision at the board because you will look like “the village idiot” if you are wrong about it.  Meanwhile, I would imagine an opponent can think you are moron in such a situation not quickly making an obvious move to hold onto the pawn.  I definitely did consider giving the pawn back, and did think about how dumb it would look to others if I chose that course, I won’t lie.  Stuff like this really eats at my clock whereas most other player I don’t think have such doubts.