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














2 thoughts on “Playing into a hole

  1. My impression is that opponent’s rating affected you, you were playing too lightly.
    The pin blunder could be expected from the same point of view.
    I didn’t like her doubled rooks, but you found the way to neutralize that.

  2. Thank you! Yes, even the engines wanted to keep both rooks on. Doubled rooks are more dangerous for kings, and I wanted to emphasize that mine was safer.

    Yeah, I was playing the opponent too much instead of the board.

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