Round 4, final round

I played a new opponent tonight.  He was friendly before the game, mentioned that he was friends with Sid Pickard (the player author who wrote a book on the Latvian Gambit, and compiled a book on Adolf Anderssen, and one on Wilhelm Steinitz).  He said that Sid retired in the forests of Tennessee.

At first he kidded that he would play the Latvian Gambit, and then told me that he liked endgames.  It turns out he was an Expert in the early 90’s, then he only played sporadically after that, one tournament in 2016, one in 2011, and one in 2010.

If I had a dime for every chess player who fills out their scoresheet while I set up the equipment before the game, knowing that I have the White pieces.  Mike Smith, Dean Brown, and Alex B., and Earle W. are the only ones I can think of that like to have their equipment set up promptly.  I bite my tongue, but it’s been a source of pre-game stress for me like about a hundred times.  It goes away after everything is set up, and that’s why I never mention it til now.

People should want to talk particularly after the game instead of before the game, while everything’s getting set up and other people are making moves.  But no, after the game, most opponents want to leave right away and not talk.  Anyway, my opponent was a pretty nice guy, nice board manners, and he seemed excited to want to play next month as well.

I played an Open Sicilian, as I figured that would give me the best chance for a last round win.  We got into a Nimzovich, which became an Accelerated Dragon.

I didn’t know what to do after 8…Qa5, it was a new move to me.  I wanted to play either 9.f4 or 9.Qe2.  I had seen the line, but somehow forgot (wanting to play 9.Qe2 to stop …Ba6), and after I made my move, I remembered the line 9.Qe2 d5, 10.Bb3 d4, appearing to win a piece due to the pin on the bishop.   When I got home, the DB and engine said that 9.f4 and 9.Bf4 were playable.  I couldn’t figure out why 9.f4 was playable, but actually calculated this one line for 9.Bf4 d5, 10.Bb3 d4, 11.Qf3 Bb7, 12.Bd2 (relieving the pin, and threatening 13.Qxf7+), but Black still has 12….Qxe5+, 13.Nd2 in this line.  The move I failed to see is best shown in this line. 9.f4 d5, 10.Bb3 (10.exd6?? Bxc3+) d4??, 11.Qc4 (attacking both f7 and c6, I simply didn’t see this move) winning.

Incidentally, my first instinct was to castle 9.0-0, and let him have the pawn, and this is best.  One idea is to follow this up with Re1, and Nc3-e4-d6.  It’s difficult to figure this out OTB because often your opponent is playing too fast to let you spend too much time on it, anyway, realistically.

12.Qf3  I should have played 12.Bb3 first, just in case he still goes for …d4, thought about it.  After the game, he indicated that he was surprised by my Qf3 idea.

15.Qg3?!  I should have played 15.Qe3, which Mike F. suggested after the game, and I could easily see why.  This is one of many moments in the game where it’s important to notice that one move is advantageous over another in the static sense.  After …QxQe3, BxQe3, White gets some static plusses out of that.

27.Kg2  I played this move near instantly because I didn’t want to spend time coming up with a plan, since I was in time-pressure.  After I made this move, I saw the plan Qh5 followed by c4, but now it’s too late to be so effective, as I give Black the tempo to play …Nd7.    I also considered 27.Nc5 Qb6, 28.Qf2, which is better than what I played.

30.Qe2?!  30.Qf3 g4, 31.Qd3 is a better continuation due to the statics of the position.  The lines calculated after 30.Qf3 will lead to much better positions for White than the lines calculated after 30.Qe2.

31.cxd?  A mistake with the static appraisal of the position (in time-pressure).  I figured he would take on f5 so readily, that when he correctly played 31…exd5, I practically wondered if this were a legal position as it first struck me, did a “double-take”.

34.Qc3??  I reached to play 34.Qc2, but then stuck it on c3 instead, instantly realizing I had made a gross time-pressure blunder.  Even this blunder can be judged as bad based on the static differences between Qc2 and Qc3.

38…Qe5!  Hammering away on my static weakness, the f5 pawn.  Meanwhile, his static pawn on g4 is an advantage, as it rescues his rook with ….Rf3, if I chase it.

40…Bf6!  Giving an escape square for his king on g7.

41…Rb4!  Even his creeping moves are well-played from a static perspective.

IMHO, most Black players play the Sicilian Defense, hoping for an opening blunder like mine, and then Black usually wins.  This must sort of make up, in the Sicilian player’s mind, for all the times they get checkmated as a result of using this opening.

































Senior Open 2018


Round 1

Dean put up such a good fight that he took it out of me a bit for the second round (he often does).

Round 2

Bozhenov was actually speaking English, and without an accent!  (he’s been taking classes for speaking English on Tuesdays).  I’ve never seen him play 1.d4 before, and he was playing quickly, initially, so I didn’t want to bother to try to refute his opening, so early in the game, but I did regret not taking on c4 about ten seconds after castling.  That was a big missed opportunity (since the way to refute ….dxc4, ….b5 is with a Ra1, and he can’t do it after Rc1.

Somehow I didn’t even see the move Bd3 for him, and soon I felt like sacking a pawn to get some fresh air on the board (I also walked outside many times to get fresh air, envigorating).  I passed up a lot of chances to draw in this game, mostly out of airheaded ignorance.  The game slowed down and it made me more tired that he too was spending lots of time on moves.

Last I remembered checking, Alex B. had got down to 8 minutes or so, and I had been playing on the increment for a long while.  I could have drawn by placing my rook on the a-file, and I thought he would as well, but somehow in our bullet play neither of us did.  I wasn’t sure if he could get a rook to c6 to help push his pawn, or if I wanted to blockade the b-pawn with my king, which should have drawn.  I lost my sense of danger in time-pressure, I’m not even 100% sure of the moves in the game-score, but that is basically 99% of what happened.  I simply didn’t have time to evaluate different ideas so much on the increment.

Lastly, his rook got in there a move faster than I was expecting.  My fastest move of the game was sacking my knight at the end, and while I was playing 61.Rxb5 (sacking my knight), I realized that I wouldn’t be able to win his h-pawn because his knight would win it with a discovered check, and that is when I knew the game was basically over.

Normally before a tournament, I sleep up for a few days, so that I only need a couple hours sleep before and during the tournament, and then after the tournament it goes back to what it was.  This time, I tried changing back my sleep schedule, but I don’t feel I’ve slept deeply in about five days, it’s been more like two one hour naps and four hours, and then I’m tired all day.  Some people play with colds and such and don’t think anything about it, like LM Brian Wall.

Maybe it’s excuses, maybe it’s explanations, but I know I can play 10-15% better when I get deep sleeps and if I ever had some normal, healthy sleep schedule for morning play.  A game like round two, for me, is lost partly due to poor clock management, partly not have enough endgame experience, and partly due to exhaustion.  The last part is something I feel I “should” be able to control, which is why I bring it up.





Round 3

Round 4


EF: $35, won U1900 prize $70.

Throw-away Game

Round 3

It wasn’t decided that Josh would for sure be playing in this round, but that he might, Paul said.  In fact, I asked Josh as he was leaving if he was going to play next week as well, and he replied “probably”.

All in all, it was probably a good thing that I got paired with Josh, as Black, since I only stood to lose two rating points, and I didn’t have the starch in me, physically, to survive the opening.  Right before I left, I ran three miles, and decided to practice my sprinting, then jumped in the shower and headed over, so I was relatively gassed before the game started.  I was going to buy a soda when I got there, but didn’t bother, and I was six minutes late.

To be honest, my bigger focus was on the Senior Championship, which I will be playing in this weekend, and need to adjust my sleeping hours.  I got to bed a couple hours earlier than my usual, after this game, so all in all, everything served it’s purpose as far as I’m concerned.

I looked at around 40 games of chess on Monday (which includes the Candidates, and followed them Tuesday as well), so I was feeling chessed-out a the board to the point I wanted to play something different, hence my …Nd5-f4-g6 maneuver.  I always seem to throw away tempos at some point to Josh.

One thing I realized about being tired is that it’s not one’s ability to analyze lines that goes away so much, it’s one’s ability to grasp a (novel) chess position that goes away when tired.  For me, the hardest part of playing a Master is that they try to stick it to you in the opening – which is natural, or why would else would they be a Master, to some extent?  Some Masters like Brian Wall play 1.h4 just to get out of normal opening channels, and force opponents to play by their own wits “or a chess game” as I call this.  At some point, when an opening is over, a player can play on their general ability – I call this this is when “a chess game breaks out”.  For a Master, “a chess game breaks out” on move one, since they can use their general abilities to navigate any position.

Anyway, the game-losing blunder is realistically 13…Bb7?.  I was torn between the better 13…d5 (yes, Josh pointed out he thought this to be my only chance) and 13…Bb7, but that also describes most of my moves in this game.  At first, my intuition told me only to play 13…Bb7, so natural moves and intuition aren’t always right, particularly in a position outside of one’s strike-zone.  Everything feeds into a bad move, tiredness, time-pressure, unfamiliarity with a position.

14…Rb8??  This is definitely a game-losing blunder, no doubt about it.  At this point, my clock had just gone under 20 minutes and I could see the seconds count down, so finally gave in to just making a move.  My initial desire was to play 14…Ne7 (it’s only here that I noticed that …Ne7 covers c6, should have noticed it on the previous move), but I felt that only 14…f5 could put up stiff resistance.  After the game, I asked Josh about this, and he quickly mentioned the Nd2-b3-a4 maneuver, which I didn’t see OTB.  In fact, this maneuver wins against either 14…f5 or 14…Ne7.

I did a long post-mortem of this game with Mike Smith, which was enlightening (I’d say his practical strength is over 1900) – he was much more comfortable finding moves in the resulting positions after move 14 than I.  After that, Josh was still there and I did get his quick thought on this game, but it was clear that he was easily finding winning moves in any given position (there’s a reason why he’s 2362).

Josh had used less than 10 minutes up to move 15, so it’s not a stretch that after 14…Ne7 he could have found the best (positional) move of 15.Qf2 (this keeps the queen on the g1-a7 diagonal, discouraging Black’s castling there, it supports f5 pushes, f7 attacks, prepares Re1 and the opening of the center, gets out of the way of Bc1, and any …Nf5 attacks; IOW, easy move for a Master to find.  Nevertheless, you can plug in 14…Ne7, 15.Nb3, and if you go further in any direction, you will find the computer’s eval steadily climbing after each succeeding move to around +2, but any false-step by Black; i.e., every move I could find, quickly loses even worse than that.

When I played 14…Rb8, I noticed right away that I had dropped that pawn, and when I looked up Josh’s face was glaring at that square like a laser (like 2 seconds after I moved).  I figured I could play my queen back to defend, but when he played the intermezzo, 15.f5, I let out a groan and knew I could resign right then.  I play on until mate because I don’t want to let myself off the hook, and it’s useful to see his technique.

One reason I played 14…Rb8 was that it prepares 15…Be7 against 15.Qb3.  Once I played 14…Rb8, it hit me that I can’t play this move before he plays 16.Qb3, which he will never play anyway because Black can simply play 0-0-0, which he pointed out after the game.  It was difficult for me to pay attention to all of the possibilities like this, when I didn’t have a lot of nervous energy.

On the move before he castled, which I knew he would after I had analyzed this little trap, I had calculated this:  14.Qb3 Rb8, 15.Bxc6+ BxB, 16.QxR Ke7, 17.0-0 (to defend the Rh1) exd! to get the …Bc5 because after all I saw that I would be playing …Nxf4 and …Qh3.  This actually works for Black, and I had calculated it all relatively quickly, but it was also an energy drain of nervous energy, and because it worked, I realized he would never play into it.  The hardest part when making a calculation like this is pulling out of it, and finding other ideas and moves because it leaves you (or me at least) so drained.

This is like one thing I had calculated, I was also calculating f5 pushes, Ne4 h6 (after the game I realized that getting Nc5 or Nd4 is better for White.

So yeah, silly game, silly blunder, haha.  LM Brian Wall posts this on my FB timeline, which I deleted today (yes, I know I lost, who cares with two minutes, I was forcing myself to take all my time once I was lost).  I mean, I only needed to remember 15 moves of the game-score even if I lost my scoresheet.  So there it is.  I’m sure Brian was just being helpful.  I have this weird thing about posting games to my FB account.  I don’t want anybody to feel publicly embarrassed over the result of one game.

After the game, Josh also (correctly, of course) said that 11..d6 is bad because of 12.g3.   12.g3 is the first move that got me “on tilt”, as it first looked a bit silly, but then I quickly realized that it stops 12…dxe?? because 13.f5 wins my knight – it has no place to retreat.

In this line, the correct move was 11…f6 rather than 11….d6.  I was scared of the reply 12.Bd3, but that’s not as strong as I had feared, can even be better for Black.  I was trying to create a novel opening position, but this goes to show that anything can instead turn into a critical opening position.

I guess I should do like most Masters do, decide on repertoire lines, examine some games in the database, so at least when I face a Master again I won’t get stuck in the opening using too much time and energy there.  I should feel inspired to play the lines that I plan to play, and the prep should be more comprehensive than mere hand-waving.










Felt like two ships passing in the night

Round 2

I was a few minutes late, and Mark graciously had not started the clocks yet.  Mark was in a nice mood, as always, before the game.  I was in a more somber mood because I realized I could be paired against Expert Paul A. (my most frequent round 2 opponent), or a Master from Denver, as they switched their round 2 games from Tuesday to Thursday, in order to encourage cross-participation.  As it was, we didn’t get any players from Denver, but the Hermans and Master Bloomer showed up, since there was no longer any reason for them to drive up to Denver tonight.  We also got a veteran Class A player that I’d never heard of to play, Pete did, so I’m hoping he shows up on some type of regular basis.

Me and Mark have played thirty some games over the past 8 years, and I’m currently at +1.  Mark is like a sounding-board for my play, I sort of know where my chess is at after facing him.  Mark plays Expert-level chess on most nights, when he is in form, but lately he lost 50 rating points at Club Chess!! because lots of quick rounds against lower-rated kids, probably isn’t his cup of tea, playing-wise, and I can hardly blame him as he’s even a few years older than myself, and he’s a hard-working gentleman.

At one point in the opening, I made a move, pressed my clock, and Mark kept examining his flash-cards from work for about 12 minutes (I think he was sorting them).  Often, Mark will talk in the lobby for half an hour in between waiting for me to make my moves, he talks work or something besides chess.  He never got into real time-trouble during the game, down to 58 seconds but it was lost by then.  After the game, he said thanks for the game, that I played well, and I suggested some moves, but he was eager to get back to talking to Earle about work (they work together now).

I realize that my level of chess has gotten better lately, and that some don’t take the occurence quite as seriously as I do, it’s as if my level of seriousness suffices for the both of us.  I think it’s also because I have played so many players, so many times, for so many years, pretty much at the same level, that no one would bat an eye if I played a great game.  I think this was one of my best games, but it had that feeling of clock-work, so it didn’t stand out as much.

I was thinking during the game of how nearly all of our games together were mad time-scrambles.  This one had that feeling a little bit, but was very controlled compared to many previous encounters.

6.Bg5  I considered 6.g4, the Keres Attack, but we had played this last time and I figured he might have something ready, besides I do like to mix it up a little to keep my play from going stale.  6.Be3 seemed a bit like a bridge-to-nowhere, strategy-wise, and f4 looks like a cheesy Grand Prix sort of attack (thinking of Yermolinsky’s opinion of such moves.  hehe).

The first nine moves, felt like theory, it was move ten where I was really on my own.  I spent a lot of time looking at 10.Bxb5+, because that sort of idea (played by Bronstein) is a line, pretty much equal actually, but it’s in some position after say 9…Nbd7 instead of 9…Be7, it seemed.  I realized that I have this tendency to get locked-in to my opportunities, rather than what’s actually going on on the board, so I determined to look for something else besides just this sort of nutty idea.

So then I spotted this 10.BxNf6, which is actually theory, and this line overall scores very well for White.  My idea was to double his f-pawns, possibly play f5 and try to create a hole on d5 for my knight, even though I could see that his …b4 was coming first, and hadn’t resolved yet how to handle this.

I was pleasantly surprised to see 10…Bxf6, but also figured that he must have seen quite deeply into this line before deciding on it.

I knew when I played 11.e5, that …Bb7 would be the most likely response, and that even after 12.Qg3, he could gobble up my e5 pawn, and I had calculated the intermezzo of taking on d6, some, as well, but I actually played this move, like the previous move, on intuition.  I’d normally say that allowing a …Bb7 reply like this is bad for White, but I didn’t care about losing a pawn with his king in the center, so many undeveloped queen-side pieces, including some penetration, and opening up of the center.

I had calculated that 11…Bb7 seemed losing well before he played it.  After the game, I suggested (as well as castling before playing …b5) that 11…dxe5 might have given him better chances.  For example, if after 11…dxe5, I decide to reply 12.QxRa8, then dxNd4, 13.Rxd4 say Bb7, 14.Qa7 Nc6 and the queen would appear to be trapped here, although it’s not necessary to play 13.Rxd4 as there is 13.Nxb5 (and even in the previous line it would be the move), which not only attacks the knight but lets my queen escape along the a-file, or back to f3 or e4 along that diagonal.  Anway, the point I am trying to make is that it’s not so clear that 12.QxRa8 wouldn’t be a mistake, and I could see that 12.fxe5 allows …Bg5+, so the correct move, just looking at this position here, would seem to indicate 12.Ndxb5.  So, 11…dxe5, 12.Ndxb5, so the queen and Ra8 are still hanging for the moment, and I still have Nd6+, supported by the rook, that is how I am thinking about this position – could be right, could be wrong, I’m just sayin’.

Like I say, I played 10.BxNf6 partly on intuition, so when I took, exchanged pieces there, I was thinking that if he recaptured on f6 with the bishop, that one of these sacs on b5 might work, that’s the point, I hadn’t calculated all this out, it just felt right, and it didn’t appear to be just some obvious blunder in any event.

16.Bb5+  I had correct analyzed here that 16.exBf6 was a little better, and Houdini confirms that, but I wanted to play this line just because it felt more principled to develop my bishop, and hopefully rook.

16….Kc8.  This is the best move.  The other line I focused on is 16….Nc6, 17.RxBd1 RxNa8, 18.Rxd6+ Ke7, 19.RxNc6

17…Bg4  I was happy to see this, as the bishop is now blocking the g-file from his rook.  17…Bh5 was better.

20…Rxg7  If 20…Be2, 21.Nxd6 wins a pawn.

23.Bd3  Houdini says 23.f5 now is more accurate, but I was up two pawns and hadn’t decided on this idea yet; I had to watch the clock a bit from here out as well.

26.f6  In the game, I wasn’t sure, as I realized my pieces were going to be out of play compared to his after capturing on a7.  I considered 26.Nd5+ Kfd8, 27.Nf6 Bf4, 28.Rf1 but only now do I notice this bishop has nowhere to go, as 28…Bg2, 29.Rg1 is game-over.  I must be missing something here, but I noticed Houdini did confirm that 26.Nd5+ was slightly better.

29.Bd3  Mostly just a solid wait-and-see move.

41.a6  I also noticed that 41.Re2+ looked winning.

45.Re8  I realized this was a mistake right after I played it, as it would probably have shortened the game by a few moves if I had played 45.Re7 Ba8, 46.Rxf, as now there are two White pawns that can quickly promote.

48.Kb2  I felt that Black could resign here, but it never hurts to play on.

Sometimes, as White, you have to play one of these full-blooded Open Sicilians just to keep your opponent honest.

[Event “Tuesday Night Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.03.13”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Mark McGough”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1795”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1867”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 a6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3
Qc7 9. O-O-O b5 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. e5 Bb7 12. Ndxb5 axb5 13. Nxb5 Bxf3 14.
Nxc7+ Kd7 15. Nxa8 Bxd1 16. Bb5+ Kc8 17. exf6 Bg4 18. fxg7 Rg8 19. Nb6+ Kc7
20. Nc4 Rxg7 21. Ne3 Bh5 22. g4 Bg6 23. Bd3 Nc6 24. f5 exf5 25. gxf5 Bh5 26.
f6 Rg5 27. Bxh7 Bf3 28. Rf1 Ne5 29. Bd3 Rh5 30. Rf2 Rh6 31. Nc4 Nxd3+ 32. cxd3
Bd5 33. Kd2 Rh3 34. b3 Kc6 35. Ne3 Be6 36. Nc2 Kc5 37. b4+ Kd5 38. a4 Ke5 39.
a5 Bf5 40. d4+ Ke4 41. a6 Rd3+ 42. Kc1 Bc8 43. a7 Bb7 44. Re2+ Kf5 45. Re8
Kxf6 46. a8=Q Bxa8 47. Rxa8 Kg5 48. Kb2 f5 49. b5 f4 50. b6 Rh3 51. b7 1-0





The Chess Hangover

A chess hangover is when you have a great tournament (like winning against a 450  higher-rated opponent in your last game), and then you have to play a couple days later, and you’re not ready to let go of your previous success.

Round 1, Tuesdays

4…Bb4, 5.Nd5 Nxe4 is the Belgrade Gambit, I believe, or at least similar looking, fine for Black.

5…a6 Played instantly, in response to his move, but this is not the best move. 5…d6, 6.Na5? Nxe4, 7.NxB NxN, Black is up a pawn.

7….Nxd5 At two games, this is still the most replied move in the database. I normally play 7…Be6 in this position (probably the a3/a6 moves are relatively normal for it as well) and have huge success with it against lower-rated players, but I wanted to try this move instead. I had only beaten Larry (900 rated) with this in a blitz game, so I felt I must have chosen to follow my own bad “theory”, once he played his light squared bishop back (which I had advised Larry after that game).

After 7…Be6, 8.Bg5 BxN, 9.BxB (9.exB equalizes because the d5 pawn is blocking in his bishop) it’s interesting that while Black looks okay I don’t find games in the DB (probably due to a3/a6). The computer will say it’s okay to play …h6, and …g5 here, kicking the bishop, but after …0-0, and …0-0-0, it shows how White can give up the Nf3 to get a perpetual on the Black king. Now that may be equal, but giving up 15 rating points to a forced draw may not be considered an “equal” result among human players. Clearly, one person would be getting the better of that deal.

9…Bg4?? The three top moves, which are equal by Houdini, …0-0, …h6, and …Nc6 are all three moves which I wanted to play, but here is where the trifecta of badness came in. I was nervous (after once again being congratulated for my last game of beating a Master, this time by Dean, and I think Mike F.), I was seeing ghosts (500 yard stare), and the table five feet to my right was playing blitz chess, hitting the clock loudly and most importantly Sean’s giggling after every move, which was driving me crazy, couldn’t concentrate. After I blundered I got up and told them to play blitz outside the hall, if they would; they did, and I was able to concentrate after that. In truth, after playing the weekend tournament, I knew it is better to take a bye on Tuesday but chose not to allow myself to.

9….Bg4?? Okay, well I told myself that after 9…Bg4, 10.Bxf7+ KxB, 11.Ng5+ QxNg5 is impossible because the Ne7 is in the way, but the blitzing on the table to the right wouldn’t let me concentrate no matter how hard I tried, and I had no cotton for my ears or anything, and so this is how that affected me, I couldn’t focus properly. I don’t think I’ll ever try playing a rated game in a noisy resteraunt again, for example. hehe. hmm, that tournament in a food-court coming up, I would need some earplugs or something to survive that.

11…Ke8. 11…Kg8 is better, and I noted after the game that I do have 11…Kg8, 12.QxB Qc8, 13.Qf3 the move 13…Qf8 here, so that it did look like the better move after all.

14.Nxg7+?? This is the trap I was hoping he’d fall into when I played 12.Qd7, and thought that I may not have played my moves quickly enough for him to casually fall into it, but he did reply with this move quickly after all.

15…Ne7 My intuition told me that 15…Nf4 was best, and is, but I was going with my calculations over intuition in this game, which wasn’t nearly as strong, but sometimes this happens.

16…h6 I liked 16…Rg8 better (it’s much better), but I wasn’t seeing all of the lines.

29…Rdg8? I had seen the maneuver …Rf4-h4xh5 since I had played …Rf8 initially, but for some reason here was quickly wanting to play some clever move-order. Yes, I was off-form in this game, pretty much throughout.

32…Kf6, not solving the position. I thought we were getting into some mutual zugzwang, but it is only White that is getting zugwanged here, with the Black king on f4,Bg3,Rg5 White runs out of moves which don’t lose. It’s easier to see on a computer than to type out all the variations as to why.

34…Kb3?? Allowing my 1200 level opponent to solve the position for me. A bit of a sad game, but sometimes people play down to a lower level, and sometimes people play up. I’m not known for doing this, but it happened on a few other boards as well, with still no upsets.


[Event “Tuesdays Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.03.06”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Scott Williams”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1867”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1201”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. a3 a6 6. d3 d6 7. Nd5 Nxd5 8.
Bxd5 Ne7 9. Ba2 Bg4 10. Bxf7+ Kxf7 11. Ng5+ Ke8 12. Qxg4 Qd7 13. Ne6 Ng6 14.
Nxg7+ Qxg7 15. Bg5 Ne7 16. h3 h6 17. Bxe7 Qxg4 18. hxg4 Kxe7 19. Rh5 Raf8 20.
f3 Be3 21. Ke2 Bf4 22. Rd1 Rfg8 23. b4 Rg5 24. c4 Rxh5 25. gxh5 Bg3 26. a4 Rf8
27. d4 exd4 28. Rxd4 Rg8 29. Rd1 Rg5 30. Rh1 Kf6 31. Kd3 Ke5 32. a5 Kf6 33.
Kc2 Bf2 34. Kb3 Rxg2 0-1

Colorado Springs Open 2018

Round 1

Round 2

We traded bishops on c6, then I offered a draw because I was tired.  Two moves later Daniel hung his queen, but I didn’t notice, and neither did anyone else.  LM Brian Wall asked me if I make up my excuses before the game.  Well, in chess you obviously aren’t allowed to be tired or believe your opponent’s rating.  It’s all your fault for not noticing, even if it’s your opponent’s fault for doing it to begin with.  I almost played the correct 27.Rb8, and focused on that in the two post-mortems me and Daniel had.

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5





An Interesting Nimzo

Final Round Wednesdays

Well, the pawn structure in this game was quite unique, and it took me a while to come up with a plan, or at least until Dean blundered it did.  It was still complicated after that.

3…c5  Unusual for Dean, who normally plays a Nimzo-Indian.  Now, 4.d5 would turn the game into a Benoni, whereas with 4.e3 it became a Tarrasch Defense.

6.Nc3  I could play 6.d5 here, but it’s so far outside the norm of anything I’ve seen before, maybe next time!

7.a3  For me, this opening is highly unusual after 7.Bd3 d5, so I hedged my bets with a3 instead.

10.a4 Black is now slightly better after …Rc8.  Houdini likes 10.Bf4 best.

10…a5?!  Giving up an entire point, just in positional advantage.  White is now +1, and I haven’t even won a pawn yet.

11.Ba3  11.Bg5 is a little better, according to Houdini – I thought so OTB as well, since it puts some pressure on Black’s kingside.

12.0-0  I didn’t realize that 12.d5 Nb8, 13.dxe6 dxe6, 14.0-0 0-0 could be such a huge advantage for White – It’s nearly +2 by Houdini.  It’s funny, I almost never play 1.d4, so I assumed we were in a line.  Heck, we were in a race to see who could leave lines the fastest!

15.Nd2  15.Ng5 is more active, but I thought it not prophylactic enough after 15.Ng5 d5, 16.Qc2! h6?? (..g6), 17.Bxh7+, and it’s mate-in-one.  I guess my prophylaxis from now on should be checkmate.  hehe.

15…d5  I was glad to see bite, by playing the most obvious move.  Houdini prefers 15…Ne7.

16.Qf3  This threat was enough to get Dean to make a mistake, but 16.Qb3!, attacking d5 and b6 is very strong for White.

16….Qc7??  I figured I’d be okay after 16…e5, and was expecting 16…Rc8.

17.cxd5!  At first, I looked at 17.c5 bxc5, 18.Bxc5 and figured a pleasant positional advantage, but when I turned to 17.cxd5, I saw all of the back-rank threats, and actually played this move relatively fast.

17…BxB (best, according to Houdini).  I wasn’t completely sure if 17…exd5 was entirely losing, but it turns out it will lose both d5 and b6 pawns, so -2 for Black.

19…Red8.  19…Nd5 right away seemed more compelling, but he chose to hope to win the d-pawn back instead with the idea 20…Ne8.

20.Nc4  20.Ne4 seemed best (and is according to Houdini), but the lines are more complex after 21.Nd5.

21….Qa6  I was hoping he would bite on the pin against my queen, and play this, but 21…Ra6 is a much more complex defense, which I also noticed at the board.

22…Rxd6  This is the best move, yet I didn’t realistically consider it, possibly because it’s easier to defend against.  I am more of a tempo-counter than a pawn guy, so I was more afraid of 22…Rbd8, 23.Bc5 (Bc7 is better) RxR, 24.RxR Rb8, 24.RxR NxR, and now I am left in this pin where any knight move trades queens but also drops the c3 pawn.  I saw that my queen covers b1, but hadn’t seen here 25.Qb1! (…QxNc4, 26.QxNb8+) Nd7, 26.Qb5 QxQ, 27.axQ Nxc3, 28.Ne5 Nf6 (trading knights would connect the pawns), 29.b6 and the pawns race to queening ++-.

24…Nc7??  Anything but this.  Dean says he was issues with trying to visualize, but I don’t think that can be at (he spent a long time on this move).  I should think he has trouble keeping lines straight in his head, to make this sort of blunder.  In this game, I was doing a much better job of keeping lines differentiated in my head, keeping track of lines (by self-verbalizing them) – IMHO, it’s an important trait for a chess player, the anticipation and collection of lines during a game.


[Event “Classical Wednesdays”]
[Site “Club Chess!!”]
[Date “2018.02.28”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Dean Brown”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1470”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1845”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. e3 cxd4 5. exd4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8.
bxc3 b6 9. Bd3 Bb7 10. a4 a5 11. Ba3 d6 12. O-O O-O 13. Re1 Re8 14. Rb1 Ba6
15. Nd2 d5 16. Qf3 Qc7 17. cxd5 Bxd3 18. d6 Qb7 19. Qxd3 Red8 20. Nc4 Nd5 21.
Bc5 Qa6 22. Bxb6 Rxd6 23. Bc5 Rdd8 24. Rb5 Nc7 25. Rb6 1-0