Optimism and Pessimism

Game 3 of a 4 game match.

UPDATE::  Peter sent me a photo of the yellow copy, and I have corrected the game score.  If you haven’t read this post already, then some of the notes won’t make sense now that the game score has been corrected.  Imre moved his king artfully toward the end, and I wanted to see how he did that.  Even the scoresheet got scribly at the end, but I remembered what happened anyway.  When his king started wandering, I thought I could play for the win, and saw this maneuver, which it turns out is winning  …Bd3-f1-g2-f3, but I wanted to delay it for a move (but can only delay it for two moves), thinking he might change his mind, bring his king back, and it would only be a draw.  However, in acute time-pressure, I wasn’t sure and chickened out.    I may have even played 41…Bd3-b1?? (instead of 41…Bf1) to delay that maneuver described above, but it’s WAY too much of a delay – but at least now you can see what was going through my mind.  This is an example of the insane sort of pseudo-calculation which takes place in time-pressure.  If I had just played the maneuver described outright, I probably would have won the game, but I was unsure about the pawn race, if we trade bishops on f3, for one thing.  A sad way to go down from what could have been a win, it’s basically the equivalent of flagging but where you play on in a completely losing position.

I should preface this game that Imre never got below an hour and 4 minutes. On most moves in the opening, he mainly just reacted to what I played, quickly, seemingly without too much thought, but I feel as though this was likely his game plan going into the game, play quickly and try to pick up rating points by drawing on his (Master-level) endgame experience.

Also, I left my scoresheet there, so this is a recreation from memory, but pretty accurate.

2.Bf4, the London Attack. My first reaction was to want to play 2…d6 and 3…g6, but I hadn’t tried it OTB before, and didn’t want this game to become about the opening, thinking it may take a long time to establish …e5, and I was worried about Bh6 variations before Black castles, but Houdini then stoically says that Black would be =+ for some reason.

5.h3?! Not very challenging, but it does allow a hideout for the bishop on h2, and prepares g4, his prep apparently as he played this quickly, but on second thought I rememeber Magnus quote that if you play the opening quickly, they will think it’s your prep.

10…Ne4 We both felt after the game, correctly, that 11.NxNd7 was stronger for him, and likewise 10…NxNe5 here is a stronger continuation for Black, preventing White’s idea. 10…Nxe5, 11.BxNe5 Ne4, 12.Qc2 NxNd2, 13.Qxd2 f6, 14.Bg3 Bd6, 15.BxB QxB, 16.0-0-0 c4 17.Bc2 b5 is better for Black =+

11.NxNd5 I thought he’d play the stronger 11.Nf3, particularly since I haven’t traded pawns on d4 yet.

13.dxe5 After the game, we both thought 13.Bxe5 was stronger, but I played 13…Bd6, and even had a successful mating attack in the brief post-mortem.

13…QxQ. I spent a bit of time here, and during the game was worried by the variation 13…a6, 14.Qd7 QxQ, 15.BxQ Rfd8 (…b5 is best), 16.0-0-0 Bc8?! ( but …Bd5, …g5, and …b5 are all stronger moves), 17.Bc6 when White is unnecessarily +.7 ahead instead of behind. I told myself during the game that I’d be optimistic and figure it out later, which was the right thing to think – I told myself not to lose by being pessimistic.

16…Rd7 I wanted to play 16…Bh4, 17.Bg3 BxBg3, but saw that he could instead trap my bishop with 17.g5 Bxf2, 18.Raf1, but this is an illusion as Black’s plan of doubling rooks and allowing that bishop to be trapped is even stronger (RxB is met with …RxB-+), and it’s =+ if I just let the bishop stay on h4, as many GMs are able to work out. however 16…Bh4, 17…Bxf2?? is met by 18.h4 and 19.Rh2, winning the bishop.

28.Kc2 I felt like I was putting more thought into the game, as 28.h6 forces 28…gxh6, 29.Bxh6 which really frees up his bishop. I understood he wanted to chip away at my queenside, but it seemed he was playing more on instinct than analysis to not notice this device. Now, it could be that he noticed it, and Houdini says like every move is equal, but from a human perspective, getting in h6 sure looks desirable to me.

30.Kb2?! Here again, if he played 30.Bg5, I was going to play 30…Kf8. It’s as if the point of the whole game was to trick me once I got low on time. A pretty effective strategy, and if that was the strategy, consciously or subsconsciously, then it definitely was a successful one.

33.Bg2 At some point, if he had played Bg3, I was going to play …f5 (which Houdini likes a touch better), but since he didn’t appear to me, anyway, to be taking …Bxe5+ too seriously, I decided to play it (again, the mantra, be optimistic!)

40…Bg4!? Once again, a second time-control would be nice, and I was already playing on the increment here. I wanted to play 40…Bg6!, saving a tempo, but couldn’t determine, lickety-split, whether 41.BxBg6?? would be losing or not. That’s the problem, he gave me no time to think in the ending.

43…e4? I figured this would likely draw unless there was a zugzwang. 43…Kh4 is winning, but I didn’t “know” this, as I would have needed some time to figure this out, since I don’t have a Master’s endgame experience to look at a position like this and just “know” without thinking that it is a win. I have …Kh4 winning on the next move, as well.

53.Kh5 =+ I wasn’t sure here whether he had decided to play for a win at all costs, but didn’t have time to think soberly about this either. I thought I could play for a win as well.

56…Ke5?? When I got home, I figured the computer would say that this is the move that lost it, and it is. I figured it was losing OTB, but was about to flag. I had an idea to play 56…Bg2=, then 57…Bf3, but beween his blitzing, and needing to summon the courage for the final push, I let pessimism get the better of me and let it win. Sure, I couldn’t calculate the draw, who could in every variation with so little time? Still, I should have played on, and realistically should have still drawn the game, although there is still a trick or two left in the position. In either case, I flagged on the next move (saw 3 seconds on my clock and made the move, but not fast enough), but he didn’t realize it, so I played on until I resigned (it was a hopeless position in any event).

It may seem hard to flag someone with a 30-second increment, but against an ex-Master who is blitzing an endgame against you it’s not too difficult to flag. Part of the problem is needing to keep notation because of the increment. Also, the board’s notation was set up wrong, and even though I knew this I kept noticing it on each move, probably because the notation on this board seems unusually big (his board).

If I had stayed optimistic, that should have been a draw. I don’t feel I was outplayed in this game, in chess-terms, the same way I felt I was “outplayed” in human terms, or match strategy. Normally, I would feel depressed by a loss, but this time I felt more upset by it. I could have played a rematch right then and there, but had to go home in order to get another game. I mauled two hapless players on chess.com. Sorry I had to take it out on them.

The result of this game underscores, in a way, if I were always playing opponents of my rating, I would have had more endgame experience by now. I lost the opportunity of getting a lot of this experience by playing miniautures against lower-rated players. I should have managed my clock better as well. In the end, after I flagged and played another 15 moves or so, he never spent more than 5 seconds on any one of those moves (and I was moving instantly, for the obvious reason).

In the future, I will say the moves played to myself, so that I am always focused on the moves, so I can do the notation without thinking (something you don’t worry about in an online game, or with a 5 second delay).  As it was, keeping track of the notation kept getting in the way of my analysis because I was treating it like a nuisance chore, to the point where this nuisance-factor was making me almost incapable of handling the situation on the board.  I was more frustrated by the end of the game, than anything else.

I like how Naka is always calling out the notation.  This takes some discipline to build a habit as strongly as his.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyqGwt9lvXs

The draw was super-easy in my game, but the win was super-hard.  I almost think the difficulty of finding a win caused me to collapse to prevent the easy draw.  I knew this at the time, that I am prone to this, but studying endgames seems to be one of the best preventions.  I’ve had to study this endgame quite a bit to get the hang of it, and I had no realistic possibility of learning it in any kind of time-pressure.

My chess has gotten a bit stronger very recently.  Fourth win in a row in last two days on Chess.com  Played this against a 1700 using less than one minute and a ten second increment – Blacks side of a KG.  http://www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=110801

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Optimism and Pessimism

  1. This game looks drawn to me until he missed 30… f6, even then it is not an easy win.
    Only after 54. Kg7 he was losing, right, you were winning after 54… Bg2, then 55… Bf3.
    56…Ke5 was intuitive, but unfortunate… you couldn’t do anything after that.
    It was a difficult endgame, so don’t be too upset.

  2. Thanks! 🙂

    I felt I was blitzed into a loss, and that he wanted to punish me on the clock win/or lose, and that ended up working for him. If he’s that pressed to force wins, then I can more understand why he has lost so many games recently and sits at his 1800 floor. Classical chess ideally is where one outthinks with time on the clock, and not where one saves tons of times to blitz the other at the end, but to each their own.

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