Physical Letdown

This age thing is really catching up to me, if I don’t stay in physical shape, although I was prone to this sort of fatiguing back when I was 1300.

Round 5, final round

So, I guess I should preface this game by saying all I had to eat all day was a small sandwhich with some yoghurt for brunch.  I went jogging before the game, didn’t have much energy for that even, and then it was off to the game.  On the way home, after the game, I spilled the entire large drink in my car, first time I’ve ever done that.  I finished my food before I even got out of the car.  I didn’t feel hungry or tired, but was lacking that energy the way you get without food for half a day.

Calvin has been as high rated as 1900, but he’s been trying out new openings for him, and this is most likely why his rating has suffered.

6.Bg5  First time I’ve played this in a regular rated game.

27…g6, 28.Ne3  This is where my time and energy got low.  I felt that 28.Nxd6! was winning, which it is, but right around here couldn’t find the energy to calculate any longer.  As soon as Houdini said this was winning, I knew why, because of 29.Qa8+ and 30.Rc8, which I must have seen OTB, but my energy was coming and going a bit, and it turns out you really need to be on an even keel to calculate or visualize.

31.a4?  Terrible, and I knew this was super weak, but I was already relaxing too much.  As Paul A. pointed out after the game, I could have rounded up this pawn with Be2 or Rb7 moves.  All I had to do was make quiet maneuvers to not let up the pressure, but I had tactics on the brain, from thinking so much about tactics previously.

36.Be2?  Just 36.Rc6 or 36.RxN!  I sensed OTB this might be the right move, but couldn’t calculate with this energy inertia and time-pressure.  Houdini said 36.RxN was winning, and I saw this combo instantly.  I must say it’s not only time-pressure, it’s hard to play easily winning moves when the nerves take over in time-pressure.  Nerves can tell you not to look at these committal moves, or even sometimes quiet moves.

41.Kf3?  The start of a new time-control, adjournment?  Nope, just more time-pressure.  I saw 41.Bc4 instantly, but then noticed the idea of ..e4, …e3, …Rxf2+.  I also noticed that my extra pawn is the h-pawn and his is the e-pawn, so that now he could play …f5, Kf7-f6, and as I moved my king realized that I had not played 41.Bc4 and got suddenly dizzy.  I figured I could still draw the opposite bishop endgame, but he kept his rooks on.

47.f3?  The computer won’t say this is a mistake, but for a human it is.  I wanted to play 47.h4 here, but in time-pressure did not.  The game is much easier to handle after 47.h4, and would have played it had I not been so nervous in time-pressure.

49.Kg3??  I have to give Calvin credit for outplaying me in the endgame.  49.Ke3! Rxh2, and Black’s only pawn lever is …d5, which he can no longer play – this position is technically a draw, as Black’s king and bishop are fortressed in.  I wanted to stop …d5 in the game, but didn’t know this was the way to do it.  It’s kind of like how you said in your loss on Monday (RP), how you could have shed a pawn for the draw, but that you didn’t know that that’s what you should do, during the game.

This endgame is an easy draw, now that I look at it, but I made this losing blunder with exactly 1 minute.  With ten minutes or maybe only five, I would have been able to take in that this position is entirely drawn, but I wasted my dwindling time and energy looking for tactics earlier, which ironically was the right thing to do in a way, I just need to be able to hold out energy-wise, and not let nerves destroy my ability to think.  It takes a consistent energy level to play an entire chess game well.

I knew that all I needed was a draw to take sole second, but the way I played and manage my clock, nerves, energy level, you can see why I hardly ever draw.  so I lost out on the extra $12 I would have won with merely a draw from this game.  Incidentally, I had know since last week that I was going to be paired against this 1200 level player, and he knew it too, but the Russian player who had just come back from vacation didn’t show up/play, perhaps because he was out of the running, so Paul A. on board one, got the 1200 player, instead of the Russian, and finished up with 5-0.

It’s weird that two tactically winning moves flickered through my mind, but that I did not play them.  I wonder why there is so much more doubt during a game than when training.  It me realize that you have to know exactly why something does or doesn’t work.  You can’t rely on seeing winning moves for a fleeting moment, and then the next moment doubting that it was there.  I do a lot of fleeting analysis during practice, which works wonders with my focus and attention span in practice, but OTB things have to become more deliberate, unless all you ever do is blitz.  My opponent had over an hour on his clock at the end of the game, btw.

I was going to drink a Dr. Pepper at the start of the game, but felt alright and didn’t bother to buy one.  It’s weird that you don’t know that you are tired until after the game, even though I had stopped blindold visualizing during the late part of the game, it’s like it doesn’t register until after the game.  Chess is like a boxing match, as long as you are on your feet you feel okay, even if you are “out on your feet”.






3 thoughts on “Physical Letdown

  1. Frankly, I don’t think jogging before the game is a good idea, as you need all your energy.
    Yeah, it is kind of sad how this game transformed.
    I don’t think his “h” pawn sacrifice was sound or at least he didn’t make it sound.
    I will comment in detail later.

    I posted my Monday’s game.

  2. You are right, the jogging was definitely a poor idea, and sometimes it’s slightly worse an idea because of the altitude here (but sometimes you won’t notice the missing oxygen in your body until the next morning, as you breathe heavily before getting out of bed, for example). Before Wednesday’s game, I greatly shortened the distance I jog, went slow, and focused on breathing only. I changed my psychology a bit as well to not be so nervous/nervous habits/worry. Inevitably, some of the bad habits and nervousness will creep into time-pressure, particularly under 10 minutes, so stay out of that as long as possible. I sat at the board longer, saw more lines and kept my focus much longer for Wednesday.

    It was really weird on Tuesday how I saw both Nxd6 and RxNc5 and lost my focus. The first combo, I think I thought I may not have seen it correctly (yet did) and that Ne3 wins anyway. The second time, I saw the combo, but I sort of “forgot” when I saw the clock and thought I’d need to make a quick, safe move. I knew I was looking at Rxc5, but it wasn’t until I got home that remembered that I had seen the combo. It’s weird that I would have been that faded out at the board, and I can’t remember ever having done this before, I mean sometimes back in CA I played on 2 hrs sleep, but this was a situation where I was not able to maintain focus. So for Wednesday, I was much more focused on my physical aspect, and I could tell there was a big difference. On Tuesday, I felt that I was going to fade before I faded, even when I was pushing c4, and knew this was winning, I was most worried about my physical shape (if I had eaten more that day, it would have made a difference).

    The h-pawn push was a total joke. I spent a bunch of time because I was trying to figure the best piece to take it with. Calvin is a little kid, and like Paul said, he probably just got bored. He played it quickly with little, if any thought. He can play weak like this in the opening, but then his endgame technique is much stronger than this.

  3. There was 12. Bxb5 giving you advantage. Then 21. c5 was winning.
    Yeah, 28.Nxd6 and 36. Rxc5 were winning tactics too.
    Then it slowly went down reflecting probably your state.
    Energy and concentration are very important factors of course.

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