Round 5

All I had to play was 42.Kh6, and I knew it but wasn’t sure, so I inexplicably played the move I knew loses 42.Kd3??  somehow hoping he’d make a nothing move, and I could go back to e4.  15 seconds on my clock, but I somehow burned one and half minutes on this move, and it was all nerves somehow.

Once I made my move, I thought I was lost, but that is why I saw the en-passant move in the post-mortem, which still holds the draw, but somehow over the board it seemed impossible.  Yet I threw the draw away too with over a minute on my clock when I played the move.  He played quickly here, and that must have been the difference.  I couldn’t believe I hadn’t played 42.Kh6, and what’s worse is right after I moved, I saw why it wins, because after 42.h6 Kf8, 43.d5, the move I had been trying to get in works here because he has to take or I get two passed pawns.  I wanted to play d5 on move 42,  42.d5(?) but he could simply play 42…b4 there, winning.  After the game, Mark McGough pointed out that 42.d5! is also winning, since after …b4, 43.d6! wins at once, since his king cannot both take this d6 pawn and stop the h-pawn.  Paul also pointed out that the queen on h8 can take the queen on a1.

I’m hoping I can do better with a FIDE rating, trying to get one, this weekend, so that in the future when someone asks me my rating I can say “Which one?  My brain-f@rt rating or my FIDE rating?”

A win here would have saved me a good 30 rating points, so now the USCF rating is back into 1700’s-ville yet again.

This is the only song that could explain my mood after such a tough-break tournament.



Thursday’s Final Round Game

Round 4

I actually got 3/4 in this tournament, but it was another meaningless game, other than for training purposes, just like the game last night, because there were only two place-prizes, First to a Master, and Second place to an Expert.  I lost as Black to a Master and therefore that was my only shot at a prize.  Totally ridiculous, there should be at least three prizes, as I told Pete last night.  You may as well lose your game or risk losing unless you have sold yourself out for mere rating points as recognition.

I played a 40 move blitz game on FICS here at 5:30 am.  This feels like a more full game than the one I played at the tournament:

The rated game played OTB was excellent, though, for purposes of learning that opening that I found myself in.  I have very little experience with it OTB, didn’t play it so hot, but at least didn’t make any real blunders.

Finally Caught By Dean

Round 4

I was comfortably ahead in this game, knowing that a pawn trade on the a-file would be -+, but I put my rook there, figuring he’d probably push the pawn, but allowing it because I was trying to get an endgame lesson, and a win at the same time.  This is the problem with having a tactical style and being proficient at it is that your endgame growth then gets stunted, and bypassed.

I flubbed up the ending, but I’ve gone over it, and I did get some great endgame lessons out of it!  I had 1.5/3 in this tournament, so I had already written it off to be honest, and really didn’t know what was going to happen for sure once I let that pawn pass.  I did let lots of opportunity slip away due to my lack of familiarity with the situation I found myself in.

One thing I learned is that I fully lacked patience in the endgame, whereas Dean did not.  Dean spent a lot of time in the endgame, but I blundered by taking his h-pawn quickly, still with 14 minutes on my clock.  I realized I had blundered right away, and he hadn’t spent much time on his preceeding move either, saying he knew that pawn was poisoned.  For some reason I didn’t see this ….c6 sac resource until too late, as it could have saved my game.

The losing blunder was to move my rook off the a-file, which I figured it would be, but it goes to show that I still didn’t have the patience to use all my time on this move, when it mattered.  I flagged in the end, but at one point had 57 seconds on my clock during the last move.  It wasn’t for lack of time that I lost this game, I simply couldn’t keep my composure together long enough to find the moves;  It was more of a physical/mental thing, not being able to sit on the hands long enough.

I think if I had started my “chess career” with a more ‘boring’ style, that endgames would be less of familiar territory for me than they tend to be.

Dean said that prior to this game I had 30 wins, 10 draws, and of course no losses to him.

There was some noise with a game finishing right next to ours when I blundered and I think it made us both move fast because we couldn’t concentrate well (though he has ear plugs).  Right after I blundered, and people had left, it was quiet, like a mausoleum, and I could focus again.  When it is noisy, you might not realize that you can’t concentrate as well, I’ve learned.  A less experienced player might not realize this.

I think when people start talking or making noises, it’s not so much a distraction as it is a social cue to wrap up whatever you are doing.  I’ve also started the bad habit of paying attention to other people’s game, as I used to not, and never even realized when they left the board or any of that.  I think when people look at other’s games during their own, that it’s mostly out of boredom, and they think they are doing alright in their own game.

[Event “Tuesdays”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2016.08.24”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Dean Brown”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1447”]
[ECO “C55”]
[EventDate “2016.08.24”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1801”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. e5 d5 6. Bb5 Ne4 7. Nxd4 Bd7 8.
Bxc6 bxc6 9. O-O Bc5 10. Be3 O-O 11. Nc3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Qe7 13. Qh5 Rfe8 14. Nf3
Bxe3 15. fxe3 Be6 16. Nd4 c5 17. Nf3 Rab8 18. Rfb1 Rb6 19. Rxb6 axb6 20. Ng5 h6
21. Nf3 Kh7 22. Qh4 Bf5 23. Qf2 Be4 24. a4 Kg8 25. a5 Ra8 26. a6 Bxf3 27. Qxf3
Qxe5 28. Rf1 f6 29. Ra1 Kh8 30. Ra3 c4 31. Kf2 Qd6 32. Ra1 b5 33. Qf5 Qxh2 34.
Qxd5 Qh4+ 35. Kf3 Re8 36. a7 c6 37. Qxc6 Qh5+ 38. Kf2 Qh4+ 39. Kg1 Rxe3 40.
a8=Q+ Kh7 41. Qf3 Rxf3 42. Qxf3 h5 43. Rf1 Kh6  1-0


Tuesday’s Round 3 Game

Round 3

Pairings were switched last second, and I ended up being paired against Alex.  Both of us were dragging at the bottom this time with .5/2.  Alex played his Italian, and it was starting to look like a draw was very possible when Alex simply blundered with 17.RxRe1??  BTW, he spent like 15 seconds making this move, but it was already losing after his 16.Bg5.

I suspect what happened during this game was that Alex spent a long time at the board, during my long thinks, and tired himself out.  He woke up around 7am this morning, and I woke up around 1 pm, so it’s not difficult to see who this would have favored.  I got down to 18 minutes at the end, so I still used far too much time, and should really learn opening tabiyas that are deeper into the game so that I don’t have to spend so much time figuring them out OTB, as pleasurable as that may or not be to do.

In any case, I came out on the fortunate end on this one, probably for endurance/energy-level reasons as much as for chess reasons, if not more so.

I had already analyzed OTB how this would go down from the final position.  19.BxQ NxR, 20.Bxc7 (or 20.NxN RxB) NxN+, 21.gxN Rc8, 22.BxBg6 hxg, 23.Bf4 Rxc (Alex mentioned that this is better, and I thought at first to take with the pawn on c4, but Alex is right).  Alexander resigned as soon as I had played 18.NxQ since he had seen the line as well as I had.  The rook vs bishop ending was hopeless.

Here’s a nice blitz game, I played today.  Someone challenged me at 2 min, 12 sec.  Blitz is actually more fun and creative with an increment.



Pikes Peak Open

So after only 3 hrs sleep before the day of the three-rounder, I definitely didn’t play as well as if I had had more sleep, let’s just say.  BTW, on day 2 it’s looking like another 3hr sleep night.

Round 1

You’ll need an engine to look at this game, as most moves by both sides were between 1 and 2 question marks.

Round 2

It’s very sad that I correctly assessed that I was much worse and didn’t play as planned, regretted it almost immediately after making this move 20.Qf3, but fatigue hit me and I was low on the clock.  In the post-mortem, I forced a brilliant draw with what I had planned in the game.   20.Qh5 BxN, 21.exB Qxe3, 22.Rf3, then double rooks.  Then he tried getting his knight in and exchanging it for Bg2.  I doubled rooks, played pawn all the way up to h6, and played a Rf6, then Rf5 interference tactic on the Qb1 and forced my way into his king for a perpetual (at blitz speed analysis).  Stockfish hates 20.Qh5 however, but perhaps I should remember that I am playing humans!

Round 3

My opponent was pumped up with nervous energy, so I sensed from the start that one slip and she would draw me.

I was going to play 20…Be3! winning, but then noticed her mate threat on h7, after she plays d4, so I backed out of it and played …g6.   Actually, then win after ….Be3, d4 is …f5! (…g6 would be a blunder in this line), which understandably I was reluctant to play OTB, but well should have.

I was down to over a minute when I played 36…Kxb5??  This is where lack of time hurts the result.  I saw that after 36…axb5, 37.a4, she could trade off pawns, but didn’t have a clue that letting her trade off pawns is winning for Black!  With another minute, I probably would have spotted that letting …a5 is no big deal.  After this game, I spent a lot of time on this ending with Stockfish, since I was not familiar with it, and have most always been bad at playing opposite-colored bishop endings.  It was definitely winning in all variations had I not screwed it up royally with this one bad move.

Round 4

Was supposed to play Felix Yu, from Denver, but he never showed up, and I got a forfeit win.

Round 5

One of my craziest games, and for me that’s saying something.  I was winning, then it was difficult equality and I missed a tactic, then I was losing, then I was winning and would have won $33, if I had moved my king the right way, to e4 instead of g6, but I didn’t have time to calculate it unfortunately.

After not playing a Round 4 game, and waiting around from 9am to 3pm just to see my first action of the day, I was very antsy to play a lot of chess moves to make up for that, so I played a slower opening instead of a King’s Gambit or Scotch Opening.  In fact, I played the first 18 moves using only 3 minutes off of my clock.

While I was playing 14.Nf1?, I saw that my pawn would be hanging, but didn’t mind too much because I have so much play for it, and thought I’d get it back.  I wasn’t sure when I should play d5, but clearly it was right here after …Nc6.  For some reason, I wanted to keep the position open and see if he would over-extend.  Mind you, I never have this much time this “late” in the game, and I really wanted to wear on him, since I knew that he had had to spend a lot of energy in Round 4.

17…Rfd8?!  It turns out I was right about him wanting to get a very dynamic position.  He could consolidate here with 17…Nd7!, and I was slightly more worried about seeing …Bf6.

18.Ng3e2.  I don’t know how to rate this move here because apparently I am outplaying Stockfish(?)  This is not even a top three move for it and it says after his 18…Nh5 (it’s top move) that he should be better, but then it changes it’s mind.  IOW, first it says 18.Nf5 is best (which I strongly considered), but now it’s giving me a better eval for playing 18.Ng3e2.

21….Bc5?? Falling into the trap of wanting everything.  This is like half-chess, half Willy Wonka movie.  😉

22….d3  Played instantly.  I was happy to see this, but was also prepared to play after 22…Nxb4, the confident 23.axN Bxb, 24.Ref1.





An Interesting Game

Round 2, Thursdays.

Josh hasn’t played the French against me before, and I haven’t seen it in general in a while.  I thought about playing the 6.Be2 line because for some odd reason it struck me that I wasn’t sure what to do about 6…f6 in the 6.a3 line, although I have seen it one time before.  In that other game, a C class player played the less sensible 6…f6 and then 7…f5.  Oddly enough, Josh played 6…f5, and I was on my own.

I figured that 7.b4 “looked sensible”, but I was afraid of some type of …h6, …g5 avalanche, although thinking about it now could probably stop it with h4.  In any case, I quickly calculated that Bd3 was safe and played it, and it was also an attractive option.

I played 10.dxc5 as if it were the best blitz option, and only after playing it thinking “What am I doing?  I should be playing 10.b4 there.” which would have been the correct way to handle it.

11…Bd6.  I did spend a few minutes mulling over how to defend against 11…Bxf2+ before playing 11.b4, but didn’t get it right, was looking at 12.RxB, but if 12…Ng4, then not 13.Qe2?, but 13.Ra2, and now 13…e5, 14.Bf1! preserves Whites += advantage.  So, I had miscalculated this, and luckily he didn’t play it.  If he had it would have cost me to burn time differently than in the game, so I may have still played 13.Qe2, or I may have played another move (quite likely).

I played the opening quickly up to here, but now could see that my blitz move 12.Be3 was going to run into 12..Qc7! when his pieces are pointed at my king and scarier still has this pawn roller that can fork pieces when it reaches e4, and even then would lead to a very strong kingside attack.

To let you know how much I valued my next move, I had only 44 minutes remaining after playing 12.c4! challenging Black’s pawn center, and finished the game with 9 minutes remaining.  IOW, I spent at least half an hour on move twelve.

13…Qc7.  On 13…Nd5, I was correctly not planning on winning his d5 pawn there, as that would show his development to be superior to mine in his likely attack.  I did also see, 14…Ne5, where White can use the ideas of Nbd2 and Qb3.  13…Be5 concerned me most, and I wasn’t sure here whether I should play 14.Ra2, which is correct and I felt that, but didn’t want to be inconvenienced by having to play, or 14.NxBe5, which can run into trouble by 14…NxNe5, if I don’t want to be inconvenienced to have to play 15.Be2 because 15.Nbd2 can run into a lot of trouble (I had seen that d3 would be a weak square for his knight to jump into) – 15…Bb5!, 16.Bb2! Nd3, 17.Qe2 and only tactics (pinning the knight to his queen) are holding the White position together.  Luckily, I was planning on playing the intermezzo like move 15.Be3 first, which forces 15…Qc7, 16.Be2 and +1, but I hadn’t seen that last part of it yet.

I correctly felt that 14.Bb2 would be strongest, since the reply 14…Nxb4 seemed weak, but decided there was no reason to chance it and play so sharp, so played the second best move 14…Nbd2, knowing it will likely transpose in any event.

14…Ng4?!  I was quite happy to see him beginning to lose the thread of the position here, and he spent about half an hour on his next move because he was attracted by 15…Nh2, but I told him that I probably would have played the most principled move there, 16.Re1.

16…NxBc4?  I told him after the game that this advanced my attack, that 16…NxNf3 would have been better, but Stockfish is totally correct to point out 16…Kb8 is best because it’s all going to start going downhill for Black on that open c-file.  Besides, I didn’t want to waste a tempo moving my light bishop.

17…Be8?  This move is obviously weak, but I anticipated that he would play it to hold his g7 pawn.  I was expecting to meet the indicated 17…Bf4 with either 18.g3! (apparently, this is strong to Stockfish) or 18.Ne3.

20.Nxd6  At this point, I knew that the position was a win for White, and he had even seen that I could play 20.Rc1 Bc7, 21.b6! with a pretty Nb6 checkmate after exchanging pawns there, but 20…Bc5! is best, although still losing according to Stockfish (20…Bc5, 21.Nd4 b6, 22.Rfe1 +4)

22…Nd7.  After 22…Bd7, I was planning to play 23.Qc4 followed by 24.Qc7+ and 25.QxNb8.

27…Rf6.  Not good, but this game was basically a wrap here.  I saw that if 27…Qb6 (apparently his idea, a Qxf2+ move), then 28.Ne6+ wins the exchange.  If 29.Bf7, stopping the fork, I would have played 28.Qc8+ Ke7, 29.Nf5+! (I saw that I had this since the Bf7 blocks the Rf8), and now I will win the Nd7, and more importantly checkmate his king.

I hope that posting my thoughts during this game will help you on your own chess journey!  🙂

This weekend I will play in an open tournament here in CO Springs, Manitou, but I have been going to bed at 6am!  So, quite naturally I will likely be completely out of it this weekend, yet playing anyhow.  I hope to play some exciting games, but please be understandable about my situation.  I will mostly be trying to stay awake, and my guard may be down a bit more than usual, okay maybe a lot more down than usual  😉