Round 5, final round
This game made me happy, and then it made me sad. It’s a clear indication of why my rating dips below 1800, and it can be summed up in two words “endgame competency”, or lack thereof. I played so well in the opening, then got low on time and realized that I didn’t have a clue how to proceed after that. Well, slight correction, I thought I had a clue because online I can draw or win endgames seemingly at will against nearly any opponent. This is where the reality between online chess and OTB chess ends, however.
OTB, if you are playing against a First Category (norms based) opponent such as my opponent Mark was tonight (as am I), you will get someone who knows their endgames. Even Sam Bridle, who often sits just above 1800, can pick apart my endgame thought-process, technique, as if I were a little lost sheep. Mark and Sam are two good examples of players who are close enough to my rating, but are just better than me in the endgame.
To my credit, I saw that I was making some of the tactical blunders in the endgame, and found the winning lines against my own mistakes before Houdini showed them to me, but I really shouldn’t even be making those mistakes. Mark’s thought process is so prophylactic that he passes up strong middlegame continuations because he thinks his opponent has a countershot (which he will show me after the game), but it’s this type of thinking that makes players like him so strong in the endgame where it really counts to know exactly what you are doing. Compared to these guys, the internet stuff is just f***-around chess.
Well, there is a tournament this weekend that I suppose I will play in. The first two rounds are G/90, d/5, but it will be opponents from Denver who can blitz their endgames in their sleep. I haven’t really been looking forward to it at all, but Alex wants to go badly and needs a ride, and so that is about all the motivation I have for it right now. On the flip-side, I guess I need these guys to cream me in the endgame so that I can get better at it (?!)
In the game, I offered Mark a draw, and he accepted so that he wouldn’t flag, but as he stated he would have won, he knew how to proceed and win it, but I was completely naive to the fact that I was hopelessly lost during the game.