The Past Two Rounds at Club Chess!!

Round 3 Wednesdays

1…d5 I normally play 1…e5, but wanted to try a new tact.

3…c5 3…Bf5 is also a line.

12…Ne8?! This move isn’t a blunder, but for one of the few if only times, I simply could not come up with a defense that I felt worked. It seemed I was losing in every line I looked at, though I knew this must be impossible. I was in this analysis-paralysis stage. My blitz move was to play 12…Bb7, which ironically is best, but I felt his attack was coming, and I could somehow do nothing to prevent it. It was a terrible feeling. I spent 40 minutes, then made moves I felt would lose, all because I didn’t want to eventually flag and I needed to give him a chance to blunder, so I eventually just played moves I felt was dead-certain to lose. Never done this with so much time spent and remaining on my clock before.

Apparently, it is still possible to play 12…Nd7 here, and then either 13…f6 (which was my original idea, but I felt it would take too many defenders from the kingside) or 13…Bb7. Even after the game, it looked hopeless for Black to both of us after 12..Nd7, 13.Rh3 NxN, 14.Qh5 h6, 15.BxNe5 f6, 16.Qg4 Qe8! 17.Qxe6 Bd7, 18. Qxd5 BxNh3! This is the part that got missed, or if we saw it we said something like “Oh, the rook can always be put on g3.” This is an easy mistake in analysis to make, not to consider lines as actual lines, and instead assume the attacker can configure their pieces however, in every variation, to avoid exactly what happens.

13…Bf6?? Like I said, I was now adamant that I would play a losing move just so that I could punch the clock and give him a chance to go wrong. Crazy. 13…Nf6 is best, which I felt I should have played right after making my move, only increasing the insanity of the situation for me.

13…d4 is another pretty line that I was planning to play but couldn’t calculate right. Actually, Black’s light-bishop should be put away first, but here is a line 13…d4, 14.Qh5 Nf6, 15.Qh4 h6!, and now if 16.e4?, which was what he wanted to play, then 16…Nxe4! (hitting the queen).

16…Be7?? 16…BxNe5 is a better try, but still lost.

17.Ng4!! Missed this move. I am dead-lost now. 18.NxN+?? I hoped correctly! jk. I had calculated 18.Nxh6+ (an obvious move to me) Kh7, 19.Nxf7+ Kg8, but completely overlooked 19.Ng5+! Kh8, 20.Nf7+ Kg8, 21.Qh8 mate.

19…Re8 Although I did manage to find something to save the game, this is too clumsy. Black is actually fine after 19…Be7, 20.g5 Be8!, 21.gxh6?? f5!! trapping the queen. Talk about sick defenses.

22.Qh4? 22.Qh7+! is winning, as ties Black down positionally in a way that cannot be afforded, but it’s difficult to know that OTB.

24…Kd7?? I was going to optimistically play 24…gxf!, but he spent longer than I expected on his last move. I was down to a minute and half, and used this extra time to get down on myself and start considering that his pieces were more active and his king better, when actually the reverse is true after 24…gxf! There are some really long and interesting lines I could show here, how the f7 pawn will be poisoned in this line versus the one in the game. I saw my blunder as soon as I had moved, and glibly played on, still feeling defeated.

32…Qf7? I strangely wanted to play the correct move 32…e5! for some unknown reason, but felt that was too optimistic, and continued to play my hang-dog chess until he was able to promote a pawn. Being on the defensive all game, and not knowing exactly how to defend, did I number on my head, and I think my feeling of defeatism was just as central to the result as Sam’s strong play (in a system that he already knows very well, as it’s all I’ve known him to play) 1.b3 (Nimzo-Larsen Attack) or 1…b6 (Owen’s Defense).

Ironically, before this game I was still demoralized that I didn’t make it into the Championship section for the City Speed Championship qualifier the day before, for the first time. A lot of blitz specialists or blitz-only types showed up, and it was a strong field. I didn’t do so badly on the board as I did on the clock. The following Tuesday, I went 7/8 in the Challenger section to win 2nd place. my only loss was to Supreme King, who used to play at Chess Palace in Long Beach in the 90’s (we both recognized one another). Supreme also lives in Fountain. I lost to him, flagged with three seconds on my clock with mate in two, or two queens against him. We talked and played two games afterward, and both got a win and a loss.

[Event “Classical Wednesdays”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.01.17”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Sam Bridle”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1844”]
[ECO “A01”]
[EventDate “2018.01.17”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1850”]

1. b3 d5 2. Bb2 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. O-O e6 7. Bxc6 Bxc6 8. Ne5
Rc8 9. d3 Be7 10. f4 O-O 11. Nd2 b6 12. Rf3 Ne8 13. Rh3 Bf6 14. Qh5 h6 15. Ndf3
d4 16. e4 Be7 17. Ng4 Nf6 18. Nxf6+ Bxf6 19. g4 Re8 20. g5 g6 21. Qxh6 Bg7 22.
Qh4 Kf8 23. Re1 Ke7 24. f5 Kd7 25. f6 Rh8 26. Ne5+ Kc7 27. Qg3 Rxh3 28. Qxh3
Bf8 29. Nxf7 Qe8 30. Qg3+ Kb7 31. Nd6+ Bxd6 32. Qxd6 Qf7 33. Rf1 Rh8 34. Bc1
Qc7 35. Bf4 Qxd6 36. Bxd6 Kc8 37. Be5 Rf8 38. f7 Be8 39. fxe8=Q+ Rxe8 40. Rf6
Rg8 41. Rxe6 Kd7 42. Rf6 Ke7 43. Kg2 1-0


Round 4 Wednesdays

6.Bd3 This was a variation that I always wanted to try, since about six years ago, but never did. Masters Gunnar Andersen and Brian Wall have both played this line as White, although Bd3 could be premature here, as Black can immediately play 6…e5.

7.Nb3 I didn’t like this move at first, as my natural instinct was to play 7.Nxc6, and that is the #1 move in DB, but I felt it gives away too much tension, after 7.NxN bxN, 8.0-0 e5.

8…Be7 Mark actually spent a long time here. I calculated 8…d5, 9.e5 d4, 10.Ne2, then Be4 can be a follow-up, but after the game move, this continuation no longer exists.

9.Qf3 I was going to play 9.Qe2, but Mark took so long that I found myself liking this move better.

13.Rac1 13.Rfc1 would have lead to more interesting play. 13.a3 would have been better, so as not to commit this rook on c1, prematurely.

15. Qg4 Taking advantage in the lull to probe for a weakness. Getting in a4 is a more thematic idea.

25.a5 Played quickly, confidently, thinking I would now attack on the kingside, but this is a mistake. 25.axb was actually my best chance for an advantage in the game. I did consider trading on b5 and getting a rook to a7, but time-pressure was starting to play a role, and it effects my mood somehow, makes me more bipolar.

30.g4?? Played as a guess that I wouldn’t need to play 30.Kg1 first, and that he wouldn’t take a break from his running around like a rabit to actually attack me. This is where blitz chess can have a bad habit of crossing over into a real game. You just start injecting psychology into your game without realizing it. 30…d4, followed by 31…Nxe5+ picks off the Bd3.

38…Rch8. Here, Mark made his second draw offer of the game (with 2 min 40 sec remaining on my clock, and 1 min 30 sec on his), and this time I accepted it. I figured the likely conclusion was 39.Rh1 RxR, 40.RxR RxR (notice there is no second time-control here at move 40), 41.KxR Qh8+, 42.Kg2 Qh4, 43.Qg3 QxQ, 44.KxQ g5! a move which I saw OTB, but in the post-mortem I got the sense that he had not seen this, and probably would not have played it without spending time. I figured this line was most likely a draw. In fact, it did feel better for White but that Black should comfortably have sufficient resources.

However, I was also concerned that he might keep queens on in our mutual time-pressure, and this is why I agreed to the draw. After 41…g5! in the above line, I was worried that he could win my e5 pawn. Actually, the e5 pawn is poisoned, but I did not know this at the time. Mark is great about treating pawns as being poisoned in time-pressure, but I’m more skeptical. In any case, I did not want to risk it as I could not calculate these variations adequately and correctly in time.

For example, after 41…g5, 42.Kg2 (the natural looking 42.Bd4?! is a mistake, as …f5 will come)…gxf, 43.Qxf (with the queen on f4, the pawn on e5 is now poisoned). For example, 43…Qxe5??, 44.Bd4 skewers, and 44…NxBd4 removes the protection of Black’s queen. 43…Nxe5?? is even more difficult to refute, as after 44.Bd4 Bd6, 45.g5 f5, now after 46.gxf Kf7 (it’s already getting hard to visualize the pawn transformation here) Black can hold, but 47.Qh2! Kg8, 48.Qh6, and White’s invasion will cost Black a piece for two pawns (even Houdini doesn’t see this ahead of time)

However, even more demonstrative, but trickier to find is 43…Nxe5??, 44.Ng3! f6, 45.Nh5+ Kf7, 46.Bd4 because the f6 square is such a weak target, White is winning here.

[Event “Classical Wednesdays”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.01.24”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Mark McGough”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “1851”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1848”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. Nb3 e6 8. f4
Be7 9. Qf3 Qc7 10. Be3 Nb4 11. O-O d5 12. e5 Nd7 13. Rac1 b5 14. a3 Nc6 15.
Qg4 g6 16. Ne2 Nb6 17. Ra1 Na4 18. Bc1 Bd7 19. c3 Nc5 20. Nxc5 Bxc5+ 21. Kh1
Rc8 22. b4 Be7 23. Be3 Bf8 24. a4 Qb7 25. a5 Ne7 26. Rac1 Nc6 27. Qg5 Be7 28.
Qh6 Bf8 29. Qh3 Be7 30. g4 Kd8 31. Bb6+ Ke8 32. Kg1 Qb8 33. Qg3 Kf8 34. Qe3 h5
35. h3 hxg4 36. hxg4 Kg7 37. Kg2 Rh4 38. Qf3 Rch8 1/2-1/2

What I came away with after this game is that I need to save more time because I need to play more moves, figure at least 60 moves, to have a full chance to beat a player of Mark’s caliber.  Back in the days of second time-controls, this would not be an issue, but with G/90, Inc 30, each extra minute one spends on a middlegame move is a minute subtracted from a likely endgame move.  Paul Anderson usually spends half as much time as I do, to make twice as many moves.



MLK 2018 Tournament

I played this tournament impromptu.  Alex was going up to Denver to see his mom, and needed a ride, so he offered to pay my EF.  It took me an hour and a half to get out the door, and I was not planning on playing at all.  Ironically, the restaurants in Denver are nearly all upscale, so I spent quite a bit on food as usual.

I got maybe two and a half hours of sleep each night, but I guess that is my usual state anyhow.

I’ll add to this post round-by-round, so it will be a work in progress until all five rounds are completed.

I just analyzed this game without a computer, so my first notes that I post here can contain errors.  I’ll look at it with engines later.

It wasn’t a great tournament for me, lots of crazy results, did well to come out of it with only surrendering four rating points, in some ways.

LM Brian Wall presented me a trophy in front of all the participants that says “Strongest 1600 – 2012.  Longest Think – 2017.  Best Chess Blog 2018.” after I said I’ve never gotten a trophy in chess.  Very nice gesture on his part!  🙂

LM Brian Wall told me that the problem with my blog is that I discuss tactics but not strategy.  I tried to focus on strategy more after he told me that, but I think it only worked for one move, and after that I was back to doing my same old tactical mad-hacks.  I will work on the strategy part though.  Master Shtivelband, in our post-mortem emphasized that he wanted to take away my plan, and that my pawn moves were concessions, and he praised a move of mine for it’s prophylaxis, and was focused on moves that developed pieces.

It’s clear that I wasn’t ready for this tournament mentally, physically, or psychologically.  This is what happens when you decide last second to play in a tournament, and it’s Open section

Round 1

[Event “MLK”]
[Site “Centennial, Holiday Inn Express”]
[Date “2018.01.14”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Richard Shtivelband”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1848”]
[ECO “C60”]
[EventDate “2018.01.14”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “2248”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. c3 g6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 d5 7. e5 h6 8. Nbd2
Bg7 9. Nb3 a6 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O b6 12. Bd2 Bf5 13. Qc2 Qd7 14. Rac1 Bxd3 15.
Qxd3 Rfc8 16. Rc2 Nd8 17. Rfc1 c6 18. Bb4 a5 19. Ba3 Ra7 20. Nbd2 Qf5 21. Qb3
b5 22. Bc5 Rb7 23. Qa3 Rcc7 24. Qxa5 Ne6 25. Bxe7 Rxe7 26. Rxc6 h5 27. Nf1 Bh6
28. Ng3 Qf4 29. Rc8+ Kg7 30. Ne2 Qe4 31. Qa8 Bxc1 32. Rg8+ Kh6 33. Rh8+ Kg7 34.
Qg8# 1-0

Round 2

The sheer insanity of it all.  I was looking at some better continuations, and then playing the worse ones more frequently than I should have at my level.

[Event “MLK”]
[Site “Centennial, Holiday Inn Express”]
[Date “2018.01.13”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Roger Redmond”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1708”]
[ECO “B27”]
[EventDate “2018.01.13”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1848”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. c3 Bg7 4. d4 cxd4 5. cxd4 d6 6. Nc3 Nf6 7. h3 O-O 8. Be3
Nc6 9. Qd2 Qa5 10. Be2 a6 11. a3 b5 12. d5 Na7 13. b4 Qd8 14. O-O e6 15. Rac1
exd5 16. Nxd5 Nxd5 17. exd5 Bb7 18. Nd4 Bxd5 19. Nf5 Bxg2 20. Nxg7 Bxf1 21.
Bxf1 Kxg7 22. Bg2 Qe7 23. Bh6+ Kh8 24. Qd4+ f6 25. Bxa8 Rxa8 26. Bg5 Rf8 27.
Bh6 Rc8 28. Rxc8+ Nxc8 29. Qc3 Nb6 30. Qc6 g5 31. Qxb6 Qe1+ 32. Kg2 Qe4+ 33.
Kf1 Qd3+ 34. Kg1 Qd1+ 35. Kh2 Kg8 36. Qc7 1-0


Round 3

This game is too barbaric of a screw-up to even contemplate annotating it.  I’ve looked it over with an engine.  I should have attacked with pawns on the queenside in the middlegame, but I simply blundered and lost this game so many times.  He blitzed me in my time-pressure too much to spot his wins, and at the end I think that even for a kid he was sort of a little too gassed from all the previous twists and turns to finish it off.

[Event “MLK”]
[Site “Centennial Holiday Inn Express”]
[Date “2018.01.13”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Aditya Krishna”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1848”]
[ECO “C80”]
[EventDate “2018.01.13”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1531”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. Re1 Nc5 7. Nxe5 Nxe5 8.
Rxe5+ Be7 9. Bb3 Nxb3 10. axb3 O-O 11. Qe1 Bf6 12. Re2 d5 13. h3 Bf5 14. d3 h6
15. Nc3 Qd6 16. Ra2 c6 17. Bd2 Rfd8 18. Ra4 Qd7 19. Bf4 Re8 20. Ra1 Bg6 21. Qd2
Rxe2 22. Qxe2 Re8 23. Qd2 Qf5 24. Bg3 Bg5 25. f4 Bd8 26. Re1 Bb6+ 27. Kh1 Re6
28. Na4 Ba7 29. b4 Qf6 30. b3 Qe7 31. Rxe6 Qxe6 32. Nc5 Qe7 33. Qf2 Bf5 34. Bh4
Qc7 35. Qe3 Bc8 36. g3 b6 37. Qe8+ Kh7 38. Bd8 Qb8 39. Nd7 Qb7 40. Ne5 c5 41.
Qe7 f6 42. Qxb7 Bxb7 43. Nd7 cxb4 44. Bxb6 Bxb6 45. Nxb6 d4+ 46. Kg1 Bf3 47.
Nd7 Bd1 48. Nc5 a5 49. Kf2 Bxc2 50. Kf3 Kg8 51. Ke4 Kf7 52. Kxd4 Ke7 53. Kc4
Kd6 54. Kd4 Kc6 55. Kc4 Bd1 56. Ne6 g6 57. Nf8 g5 58. Nh7 gxf4 59. gxf4 f5 60.
Nf6 Be2 61. Ng8 Bf1 62. h4 Bh3 63. Nxh6 Kb6 64. h5 Bg4 65. Nxg4 fxg4 66. h6 g3
67. h7 g2 68. h8=Q g1=Q 69. Qd4+ Qxd4+ 70. Kxd4 a4 71. f5 a3 72. f6 a2 73. f7
a1=Q+ 74. Kd5 Qf6 75. Kc4 Ka5 76. d4 Qxf7+ 77. d5 Qc7+ 78. Kd4 Qd6 79. Kc4 Kb6
80. Kd4 Kb5 81. Ke4 Kc5 82. Kd3 Qxd5+ 0-1

Round 4

Threw this one away in time-pressure as spectators gathered, and my body got hot and impatient (should have removed sweater and long shirt), for some reason I just wanted to move to make my discomfort go away.  By the last round I was down to just my t-shirt, as the room was hotter on the second day than it was on the first (they turned up the heater).

29.Kh3?  I told myself I was going to play Kg1, and not this as I had seen …Qf3 previously, but my hand just wanted to move, couldn’t believe I had played this.

32.Kg4??  I saw the mate right after he checked me.  I was going to play 32.Kh4, and almost did, but there were a few details to work out, so that I quickly changed over to and played this move.  After the game, I felt I really deserved the draw, as I had played my last ten moves in time-pressure, and he had spent a good 40 minutes on his.

[Event “MLK”]
[Site “Centennial, Holiday Inn Express”]
[Date “2018.01.14”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Eamon Montgomery”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “2084”]
[ECO “C02”]
[EventDate “2018.01.14”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1848”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. e5 Nc6 5. d4 Nge7 6. Na3 cxd4 7. cxd4 Nf5 8. Nc2
Be7 9. Bd3 g6 10. O-O Bd7 11. Bd2 a5 12. b3 Qb6 13. Bc3 Nb4 14. Bxb4 axb4 15.
Qd2 Bb5 16. Rfc1 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 O-O 18. Ne3 Nxe3 19. Qxe3 Rfc8 20. g3 Qa6 21.
Rxc8+ Rxc8 22. Rc1 Rxc1+ 23. Qxc1 Qxa2 24. Qc8+ Bf8 25. Ng5 Qb1+ 26. Kg2 Qf5
27. Nxh7 Kxh7 28. Qxf8 Qe4+ 29. Kh3 Qf3 30. Qxb4 Qxf2 31. Qe7 Qf1+ 32. Kg4 Qf5+
33. Kh4 Qh5# 0-1


Round 5

This game, I wanted to play more quickly,  something I had played before rather than something new – I thought about playing …g6,…c6.

14…c4? Played too quickly. After I moved, I realized that I was going to lose too much time holding this pawn. 14…Qc7, 15.Ne3 Rfd8 (preventing the immediate 16.Nd5, and allowing for 16.Nf8 Bf8).

15…b5? Another weak move. It was if I had mentally switched to clock focus over board focus, given how the rest of the tournament had gone. 15…Re8 (preparing …Bf8, which I had wanted to do). 16.Qa4, and now 16…Qa4 fails to 17.QxQ NxQ, 18.Nxe5, but 16…a6, 17.Nxc? b5 forks. So 15…b5 was actually unprovoked.

16…Bd8 No doubt I will regret this. I looked at 16…NxN, 17.exN Bf5, 18.Qe2 Bd3, 19.Qe3, and could not see how to hold the e-pawn, after the Nc6 moves, although even this may not be as bad as the game continuation. 16…Nd7, 17.NxB NxN with idea of …f6 looks as though that should hold.

17…g5 His kingside attack is beginning to look alarming. 17…Nh7 appears a much better way to keep the g5 push at bay. At this point, I hadn’t seen his potential knight sacs on h6, and then one g5, yet.

18…Kg7? 18…Nh7 is still a way to defend against the kingside attack. Also, 18…Nd7 would stop Bc5, and prepare …f6 to be played one move sooner. The king also gets checked on g7.

24…Bd8?! 24…Rg8, 25.Ne7 NxN, 26.BxN Bd8 appears to defend the kingside. 24…Nb6, 25.hxg hxg, 26.Nxg fxN, 27.Qxg5 BxN, 28.QxB+ QxQ, 27.exQ Rac8.

25…Be7?? After 25…BxN, 26.exBf5 Nb6, 27.Nd4 exd4. If 27.Nxe5 fxe5, 28.Qd6 Ne7, 29.BxR QxB. Another line is 27…Nxe5, 28.BxR QxB. Another idea is 25…Rg8 with …Rb8 to follow.

31.QxN?? 31.BxN picks up a piece versus just regaining the piece lost, and Black can resign.

32…Nf6 32…Nc5 allows 33.f6 Rc7, 34.Bf3, and Black is in command compared to the game.

33…Rb6? The other move I nearly played was 33…e4!, 35.Bxe Nxe, 36.fxe Rxe, 37.Rd7+ Kh6, 38.Rxa7 (38.Kh2 preparing Rh1 makes no difference) Rxg4+ and Black is fine, while 35.fxe Nxg4 covers the e5 square.

35…a6? I realized how useless this move was as soon as I had played it. It was the last chance to play 35…e4.

40…Rb7 40…b4, 41.Rc6 b3, 42.a3 is obviously lost for Black.

46.e5 I was expecting 46.Ra3 here.

52.Rg4 Was happy to see this. 52.Ra4 is resignable.

The rest of the game is a recreation and very close to what actually happened. My scorekeeping became hit or miss in terms of squares and such.

[Event “MLK”]
[Site “Centennial Holiday Inn Express”]
[Date “2018.01.14”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Mukund Gurumurthri”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[BlackElo “1848”]
[ECO “A08”]
[EventDate “2018.01.14”]
[TimeControl “G/90”]
[WhiteElo “1509”]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c5 4. O-O Nc6 5. d3 e5 6. Nbd2 Bf5 7. Re1 Be7 8. e4
dxe4 9. dxe4 Bg4 10. c3 h6 11. Qc2 O-O 12. h3 Be6 13. Nf1 c4 14. Ne3 b5 15. Rd1
Qc8 16. Nd5 Bd8 17. g4 g5 18. Be3 Kg7 19. Bc5 Re8 20. Bd6 Nd7 21. Ne3 Bc7 22.
Nf5+ Kh7 23. Qd2 f6 24. h4 Bd8 25. Ba3 Be7 26. Bxe7 Bxf5 27. exf5 Rxe7 28. hxg5
hxg5 29. Qd6 Rb8 30. Nxg5+ fxg5 31. Qxc6 Qxc6 32. Bxc6 Nf6 33. f3 Rb6 34. Rd6
Kg7 35. Rad1 a6 36. Be4 Rxd6 37. Rxd6 Nxe4 38. fxe4 Kf7 39. Kf2 a5 40. Ke3 Rb7
41. Re6 b4 42. Rxe5 bxc3 43. bxc3 Rb2 44. Rxa5 Rg2 45. Kf3 Rc2 46. e5 Rxc3+ 47.
Ke4 Rg3 48. Rc5 Rxg4+ 49. Kd5 Rh4 50. Rc7+ Ke8 51. Rxc4 Rh2 52. Rg4 Rxa2 53.
Rxg5 Ra5+ 54. Ke4 Ra4+ 55. Kf3 Kf7 56. Rg4 Ra3+ 57. Kf4 Ra4+ 58. Kg5 Ra8 59.
Re4 Rg8+ 60. Kf4 Rg1 61. e6+ Kf6 62. e7 Rg8 63. Re5 Kf7 64. f6 Rh8 65. Kf5 Rh5+
66. Ke4 Rh4+ 67. Kd5 Ke8 68. Re4 Rh1 69. Ke5 Kf7 70. Kd6 Rd1+ 71. Ke5 Ra1 72.
Rd4 Ra5+ 73. Rd5 Ra8 74. Kf5 Ra1 75. Kg5 Rg1+ 76. Kh6 Rh1+ 77. Rh5 Rf1 78. Kg5
Rg1+ 79. Kf4 Rf1+ 80. Ke5 Ra1 81. e8=Q+ Kxe8 1/2-1/2




Playing into a hole

Round 2

Even though I was playing a Class E player (she has been Class D before), I got down to 4 minutes versus her time of over an hour remaining.  There was a lot to look at, too much in a sense.

5.c4 5.Bb5 is another interesting move that the DB gives.

6.d5 The most aggressive, and probably best, continuation.

7…e6 It’s worth noting that 7…c6!? is a dubious move here.

8.Be2 This is not objectively the best move. 8.Be3, 8.Qd4, 8.Bf4 (after 8.Bg5 Be7, 9.BxB QxB, Black has survived the opening), are more natural or interesting moves with ideas of continuing the attack by castling queenside, should Black play too aggressively. The power of 8.Be2 lies in allowing Black to win the pawn on d5, which I didn’t notice until she played the expected 8…Bb4, but I was happy to see this pawn after the initial moment of surprise that I had not seen it before (my search on the previous move had been quite wide, and I knew that I had liked this position in any event, as I had seriously been considering 8.a3 on the previous move, but decided that the position was too fast and open to worry about such a preventative move.

9.0-0 I did seriously consider 9.Qb3, and spent quite some time on it, but this is still where one should be in their book, for clock purposes, as it would be easy to waste too much time on all of Black’s responses/continuations. That was a big “problem” I ran into during this game, the large number of continuations to consider.

11.cxd5 I didn’t really want to play this move, once I got here, seeing as 11…Qxd5 would free Black quite a bit, though I still had my idea that I played. I just didn’t think that 11.c5 Nd7, 12.Qxd5 was too big a deal, although it turned out to be the #1 continuation given by both Stockfish and Houdini.

The real problem with 11.cxd5 is that it drifts into +=/= positions. 11…QxQ. 12.RaxQ Be6, 13.Rfe1 Nd7, 14. Ng5 0-0-0!, 15.NxBe6 fxN, 16.Bg4 Nf8! and although I do preserve a minor-exchange (bishop vs. knight) this position is equal. At the time, I thought this would be be better for me than 11.Nd4 or 11.Re1 where White gets to castle.

12.c5?? The blunder I had hoped for, but not expected since it obviously drops a pawn. She was moving quickly.

12.QxQ Here is the position where I could not quite put it all together. I seriously considered, and calculated 12.c4, but after 12..QxQ, 13.RaxQ her knights are less developed but still defending well at an immediate concrete level, as far as I could see. Still, I should have more faith or consideration for the addditional attacking resources in White’s position that will come from pawn pushes and piece maneuvers, since Black is totally strapped down in this line.

The killer-blow was actually 12.Qc2, reminiscent of a tactical move that I missed against LM Brian Wall, and even more surprising that I missed it again, perhaps because I was calculating too deeply rather than looking for more tactical ideas in the position. 12.Qc2 BxB?? 13.Rad1.

16.BxBd7 This was the position I had calculated, and decided upon when trading queens, but when I got here I immediately knew that 16.Bc4 was the correct move, but also less fathomable in some way. I had planned, in this case, to play 16.Bc4 Nxc3, 17.Bxc5. At this point, the problem with my game became that I intentionally chose 2nd rate moves in order to force the position into where I could calculate some immediately winning position, rather than simply letting the position play itself, which is what I should have done. This thinking was all because my clock was now getting lower than I should have let it get to.

In reality, instead of 17.Bxc5 in that above line, White should play 17.Ne5 Be8 first, an idea I had seen, but I was feeling “tight” in time-pressure, and most of my opponents figure there chances lie on the clock, anyway.

18…Kc7?? I felt this move would be bad for her, when calculating, so gave most of my time finding the best line 18…Rhe8, 19.Ne5! and was planning on playing that.

19.Bd6? One of the funny things about time-pressure is not wanting to give things up. I had seen 19.BxNd6, but didn’t want to give up the a-file, seeing 19…axB, 20.Re7 Rhd7, but missing 21.Ne5!, but in any case even without that theatric the strength of this continuation should have been plain obvious. Perhaps it was because it was now getting into endgame territory, and I still wanted to calculate a “middle-game” that I let this stunt my thinking.

20.Ne5? Of course the bullet-move I had prepared was 20.Re7, but now wanted to force some things against her king (mistaken middle-game mindset still).

21.Na4! This move had completely escaped my attention. Of course, I had wanted to play for mate after 21.Rhe8??, 22.Rc5+. After her move, I felt a bit lost, and made my reply with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

I had wanted to play 21.Be7, but didn’t want to try and make that work in time-pressure, and get caught in a blunder. As it turns out, that move is only equal and 21.Re7 is the best try for a win. So, I begin to back-pedal into a loss here with 21.Ba3(?)!

23…Nxc3?? Of course, I had only expected this in my wildest dreams, but she played it rather quickly. I was expecting (or dreading) 23…Rhe8, 24.g3, not seeing this idea here of 24…RexR, 25.RxR Nxc3!, 26.Rc1? (Kg2) Rd1+! trading rooks, and now it is Black who has a winning endgame!

On the one hand, it’s startling to see how this game turned on me, but it’s also much easier to envision how Clifton (1800) could have drawn Selah a couple months back – she drew him.

It takes a lot more to win or draw a chess game than it does to lose a chess game, and this is a big reason that clock-management is so key. The night before I played in an 11 round blitz tournament, did alright (score-wise, but not board-wise), but it’s easy to see how blitz does not translate over into moving more quickly in a classical game, as moving quickly means you don’t calculate a lot of the things that one should have calculated.

I figured out a while back that moving more quickly in slow-chess has to do with other things, not simply training your reflexes to move faster. In slow chess, it’s a more conscious decision on when, where, why to cut calculation shorter (and it may depend on how fast your opponent is moving). The only alternative is to learn to increase the speed and accuracy of your calculation, which is often done by solving combinations (aka “tactics”).

I’ll get a tough opponent, as Black, in the next round.  There are a few strong players, such as Calvin and Sam and Mark, but Mark got upset (crushed) by Jesse in this last round.  There is no slow-chess tournament on Tuesdays this month.

[Event “Classical Wednesdays”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.01.10”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Selah Williams”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1174”]
[ECO “B01”]
[EventDate “2018.01.10”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “1848”]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. d4 Nxd5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c4 Nb6 6. d5 Nb8 7. Nc3 e6 8. Be2
Bb4 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 exd5 11. cxd5 Qxd5 12. Ba3 c5 13. Bb5+ Bd7 14. Re1+
Kd8 15. Qxd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd7 Nxd7 17. Rad1 N5b6 18. Bxc5 Kc7 19. Bd6+ Kc6 20.
Ne5+ Nxe5 21. Rxe5 Na4 22. Ba3 Rad8 23. Ree1 Nxc3 24. Rc1 Rd3 25. Bb4 Kb6 26.
Bxc3 Rhd8 27. Bxg7 Rd2 28. Be5 R8d3 29. Bc7+ Ka6 30. a4 Ra2 31. a5 Rdd2 32. Rf1
h5 33. h4 Rac2 34. g3 Rb2 35. Bf4 Re2 36. Rcd1 Rec2 37. Rd7 Kxa5 1-0