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.


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