The Raccoon

It was the final round of Tuesdays, as at our membership meeting it was voted on that any fifth week will be some other format than regular G/90, Inc 30 Swiss.  So, since a committee can’t run an organization, it was decided by the board to fill it with quick-chess.  A regrettable compromise.

Tonight was the final round.  I told Mark after the game that I wasn’t thinking about prize-money, but he kept pointing out how much a win and a draw were worth to me after the game.  Okay, a win would have netted me $44 and a draw just under $25, that’s the economic effect of this game, I guess you could say.

Round 4

2…exf.   I was honestly expecting  the Falkbeer Counter-Gambit when I saw this move, not LM Brian Wall’s concoction, The Racoon, although Brian W. mostly named it and promoted it – it’s an old and rarely seen variation, but has gained traction in CO.

4.Bc4  My longest think of the game, I don’t know how long, maybe 25 minutes.  I spent most of the time calculating this move, and very little on my alternate move 4.h4, which is not as positional, as g3 is weak, but g6 isn’t for example, and the Nf3 blocks the attack on h5, unlike his attack on h4, although that is not a major point.  4.d4 is the theoretical move here, but it transposes into the game.

4…h4.  I knew this move was coming next, as it forms the “claw” of the Racoon.

6….Bb4  I figured this was a mistake when I saw it, and he said as much after the game, that he should have used this bishop to defend his kingside.

7.0-0  During the game, I spent a long while considering 7.Ne5 Nh6, 8.Qh5 BxN+ 9.bxB Qf6, 10.0-0 d6, noting now that 11.Nxf7 NxN, 12.BxN+ Kf8 is a waste of a piece.  However, after 9…d6, 10.Nf3 (attacking g5) Rg8, 11.e5! (I noticed during the game, blindfolding, that I could not play both Ne5 and e5, but in this long variation White has gotten both moves in!) 11…Qg6, 12.QxQ RxQ, and White is += out of a King’s Gambit, with the bishop pair, just like that.  Too bad I wasn’t thinking more positional like this, but I really didn’t know.

8.bxB  During the game, I briefly looked at 8.Ne5 Nh6, 9.bxB, and actually this is fine for White after 9…d6, 10.Nf3 g4, 11.Ne1 (can even sac it) or 10…Bg4, 11.h3 Bh5, 12.Qe2, as is the simple recapture as played in the game.  Without the dark-bishop, Black has no fangs in this position, it’s equal, but the simple recapture was best +=.

9.Bxf7+?  Not advisable.  I saw all kinds of variations on this move.  Best is to proceed positionally still with either Qc2, h3, or Rb1, += in all cases, so again a positional advantage out of a Kings’ Gambit, for White.

11.Bxf4  During the game, I meant to play 11.Rxf4 when I started sacking pieces, but I missed 11…Kg6.  Actually, I did spot 12.Rf5 for a fleeting moment, but was a little too nervous to track that one down here, after sacking two pieces.  Actually, it’s losing for White because of 11…Nf6, when White can’t get in e5.  The visual appearance of a KG can be deceiving, and I missed that one.

11….Qh5!  Missed this.  I was only expecting 11….Qg4, when White is still okay.  White is really busted here.  Houdini recommends 12.Be5+, but it’s eval goes up for Black as moves are played – White needs to keep pieces on here, if possible.

16.Qxc7??  purposely not commenting on the moves leading up to this.  During the game, of course, I thought he couldn’t do this, but I was under two minutes and I had this bad thing about wanting to try and stay at two minutes, to make moves just to do this.

Perhaps it sounds crazy to say, but I missed after 16.BxN cxB, 17.Qf7+ Kh6 (…Kg6, same thing), 18.Rf6+ Kg5, 19.Qg7+!  I completely missed this seemingly obvious move, which mates.  In my irrational thoughts, I had stopped analyzing after move 18, and thought that the king might somehow be able to run up the board, even though the kings will end up being mated on either g5 or g3.  In any case, I tried taking the easy way out, and it backfired.

After the game, I told him that he could also let me keep the knight, as he saw the mate, but he kept insisting that he would recapture the knight (and let me mate him).  I tried to show him how ludicrous that was, but I guess I would have stumbled into his defective thinking had I lasted another move, just like he stumbled into my defective thinking when I took on c7, which he knew was bad, but I was rather clueless.

18.Bd2  I had generalized in time-pressure, thinking this was some wide-open position, with an exposed king, when in actuality he soon develops all his pieces with amazing control of all the critical squares of the board.  My queen had no squares left!  So had to make this move to give her an escape.

After this, in time-pressure, more me than him, he managed his time much better than I had, I couldn’t figure out what to do, lost the thread of the game, but White is indeed lost here.

28.dxe7  My idea here was to play the intermezzo 28.Qd4, but even if the Qh5 weren’t defending this rook, which I hadn’t noticed in time, it’s still a worthless idea that drops an exchange.  I was simply grasping at straws.

My weaknesses in this game, in time-pressure were.

1) Horrible ability to blindfold visualize in a reasonable amount of time.

2) Superficial variations.

3) Believing the move played.  He actually spent quite a bit of time on the losing move 15…Nd6, and I wasn’t expecting it because I didn’t think it was possible, had been calculating other variations.

4) Not calculating square-control, and in fact being oblivious to the fact that his pieces were going to control all the important squares on the board, where he didn’t need pawns to protect his king, and his …Qh5 was doing a superb job somehow.

My six pawns controlled nine squares on move 22, whereas my queen controlled ten squares.  The important base ability of a chessplayer is to calculate square-control, and that is what I didn’t do.

I have to give credit to Mark, he can defend, and likes to combine attack with defense; in almost any irrational position, he whips up a defense and is quick to defend first.  Mark is more at home, when positions break down, than am I.

I can play strong in the opening, but don’t consider enough different moves, ideas, get too monolithic on some forcing line.  My rating strength must be on some linear trajectory downward during a game.  On move 1, I play at about 2100 strength, and by move 15 in this game, I was already reduced to making a 1300 level move.  lol.  Okay, that is obviously a joke, and something like a Yogi-Berra-ism, but there is some truth to that.  Like Brian Wall/Andy Soltis say, a person plays 600 points weaker in time-pressure.














[Event “Tuesdays Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.05.22”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Brian Rountree”]
[Black “Mark McGough”]
[Result “0-1”]
[BlackElo “1779”]
[GameNo “-1”]
[WhiteElo “1820”]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 h5 4. Bc4 h4 5. d4 g5 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. O-O Bxc3 8.
bxc3 d6 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Nxg5+ Qxg5 11. Bxf4 Qh5 12. Qd3 Kg6 13. Qc4 Nf6 14.
e5 Ne8 15. exd6 Nxd6 16. Qxc7 Nf5 17. Rae1 Nc6 18. Bd2 Rh7 19. Qf4 Bd7 20. d5
Nce7 21. c4 Rc8 22. Re4 a6 23. Rb1 b5 24. d6 Ng8 25. c5 Rxc5 26. c3 Nf6 27.
Re7 Nxe7 28. dxe7 Rxe7 29. Qd6 Qe5 30. Qd3+ Bf5 31. Qf1 Bxb1 32. Qxb1+ Qe4 33.
Qb3 Rd5 34. Qb2 Rxd2 35. Qxd2 Qe3+ 36. Qxe3 Rxe3 0-1


2 thoughts on “The Raccoon

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