Round 2

Round 2

18…Rd8?  My intuition told me to blitz/play 18…Re8, but I tried to figure out why.  I thought that I could respond …Nb6 after 19.Ba5, but then I remembered the pin on the long diagonal.  Somehow the intuition can spot and remember even when the brain is too tired to consciously do this.  I got plenty of sleep, but I’m still not used to staying up so late from the sleep-schedule flip last week.

Even though it should be equal after 18…Re8, I’m confident that Josh would have beaten me another way had I not messed up on this move.  Black’s position is much harder to play than White’s, and I didn’t have enough mental energy to do it.  I blundered my rook and resigned, although Josh wasn’t looking at it, hadn’t reached for it.  Doesn’t matter, he showed me a bunch of winning plans for White after the game.  I felt a bit overwhelmed, playing such a technical position as this.  Like I’ve said before, it’s the technical positions that can really wear one out.  I managed to equalize in the wild-and-crazy phase of the game.

I am in awe of Masters, they can never let themselves have energy let-down issues, and are always full of ideas, in many given positions they can find brilliant ideas.

I want to throw out this game that I just played on Lichess as food for thought.  I figured during the whole game that were I to win it would be based on defensive skills.  At one point I played 15…Bc7 without any conscious thought.  My immediate reaction was “Why did I not just take the pawn?”  Even after asking myself this question, I still did not see that White had a royal fork on b6, which my bishop move just prevented.

This isn’t dumb-luck, or I wouldn’t even mention it.  This is subconscious, intuitive, pattern-recognition which isn’t easily understood by the part of the brain that tries to apply reason.  This part of the brain that tries to be “reasonable, yay even rational” is a complete duffer at chess, never understood chess never will – it’s like it wants to try and apply coupons to a game of chess.

I mean, the above logic is exactly what lead me to play 18…Rd8? instead of 18…Re8 in my game.  My intuition told me not to do it, but the coupon-cutter part of my brain that doesn’t understand chess beyond winning material and putting the rook on a less blocked file, wanted me to do it.  Even for such a seemingly simple blunder-check analysis, I find that it actually takes a massive amount of energy to try and overcome the inertia of intuition, once the intuition takes over and starts playing the game for you.  Part of playing in a reduced time scenario is relying on the intuition.  After the game we want to analyze why each move was played, but the reality is that this is not how chess is often played OTB at the time the game is being played, given this particular situation that I described, which is very intuitive.


[Event “June Swiss”]
[Site “CSCC”]
[Date “2018.06.12”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Josh Bloomer”]
[Black “Brian Rountree”]
[Result “1-0”]
[BlackElo “1879”]
[ECO “E05”]
[EventDate “2018.06.12”]
[TimeControl “G/90, Inc 30”]
[WhiteElo “2324”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Qc2 c5 8. dxc5
Na6 9. Na3 Qa5 10. Nxc4 Qxc5 11. Be3 Qh5 12. Nfe5 Nb4 13. Qb3 Nfd5 14. Bd2 b5
15. g4 bxc4 16. Qg3 Qh4 17. Qxh4 Bxh4 18. Bxb4 Rd8 19. Ba5 Re8 20. Nxc4 Ba6 21.
b3 Bf6 22. Rac1 Be7 23. e3 Rac8 24. Rfd1 Bxc4 25. Rxc4 Rxc4 26. bxc4 Nb6 27.
Bf1 Rc8 28. Rc1 Na4 29. Rb1 Nc5 30. Bc3 h6 31. Bd4 Kf8 32. Rb5 Bd6 33. Ra5 Rc7
34. Bg2 f6 35. h4 e5 36. Bc3 Ke7 37. Bd5 a6 38. h5 Ra7 39. Bd2 Kd7 40. e4 Kc7
41. Be3 Nd3 1-0


2 thoughts on “Round 2

  1. I think you are a bit too hard on yourself.
    Yes, after Re8 you wouldn’t lose a pawn.
    But his advantage during the game was no more than +1.
    After 37… Nd7 38. Kg2 Nb6 you win back the pawn.
    Nd3 you should have played a move earlier.
    By the way who told me to ask yourself periodically: “Is it a blunder?” 🙂

  2. Thanks! It never even registered that I could play 37…Nd7 to try and attack his c4 pawn..

    Regarding intuition, here is an even crazier example. I just played this amazing game on lichess:

    When I played 10…c6? I knew instantly that it was a mistake, that White should play 11.Nxf4, giving up a full piece just to regain the pawn (in material terms). How did I know this, how could I know this(?)

    I couldn’t see at all why the piece sac should work, but I had this really strong feeling that it should, and it actually leads to a forced perpetual with best play from Black – and Black can even easily go wrong here. A person could spend half an hour, an hour, and still not feel certain how to evaluate this piece sac and whether it should work. It’s crazy, it’s like the inner-mind knows. Possibly he knew, too, but it’s a blitz game and there was no way to “figure it out” in so little time.

    Another example from that KG game is move 15…b5. I figured that 15…d5 was best, intuitively, but didn’t understand why (especially, given it’s blitz), so instead play the more “respectable” looking …b5. In a slow game, we would wait for our intuition and then try to figure out “why it works”. Now, my intuition is starting to hit me more during the quick speed of a blitz game, even though it’s hopeless to understand one’s intuition during such a compressed period of time. It even reminds me of how Expert Daniel, from that match, will many times “play his intuition” and just go with it – even though he is capable of seeing long, forced lines.

    Btw, I missed a mate in one for Black on my 46th move, and of course was winning the ending, but was more worried about the clock – I needed to get my king involved. Such are the hazards of blitz chess!

    “Is it a blunder?” is Dan Heisman. Somehow that never helped me. I like Shankland’s saying better “What if I do it anyway?” In this sense, that statement accepts responsibility from the get-go, and also sort of subconsciously acknowledges the fact that the two different moves one is considering are probably also two wholly different lines, and go much deeper than one at first may expect, two different rabbit-holes.

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