Thursday, August 02, 2007

Not in Single Spies

Trying to get back on the horse after my frustrating last-round meltdown against Lung on Tuesday, I attended the Boylston Chess Club Earlybird Rapid Quads this week, but unfortunately, I just succeeded in demonstrating that I have definitely run into some rust at last. I guess you can't take off many months and expect it all to be smooth sailing...

There were three games, 2 wins and a loss; respectable enough, but the second win was very rocky, and the loss was an all out disaster. I had the strange experience, which I don't think I have ever had before, of calculating out a sequence of moves, deciding precisely what I was going to play, and then reaching out and making the second move in the sequence instead of the first. Yeah, instead of being up a pawn, I was down a piece, not because I didn't see it, rather, because I my hand just moved the wrong piece... Hard to explain that kind of a loss.

I think I'll share the second win. It was messy, hectic, and altogether a bit of a botched job by me, but it was entertaining, and it definitely looks like a game played with 30 minute time controls.

White: Joshua Haunstrup (1880)
Black: Walter Driscoll (1807)
Event: BCC Rapid Quad (2)
Date: 2007-08-01
(A40 English Defence)
1 e4 e6
This was quite a surprise, and it got even more surprising when Walter played his second move.
2 d4 b6
Here, I thought for a moment, which I'll bet was the intent of the move - get me behind on the clock in a rapid game - and I decided that my chances of stirring up a hornet's nest - read, a good time - were better by forcing a transposition to the English Defence instead of monkeying around in some hippo-esque position.
3 c4 Bb7
4 Bd3 Nc6!?
I have always thought that the move 4...f5 was fascinating! Lines go something like: 5.exf5 Bxg2 6.Qh5+ g6 7.fxg6 Bg7 8.gxh7+ Kf8 9.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 10.Qg4 Bxh1 with a totally irrational position.Alas, Walter wasn't feeling quite so frisky as I was.
5 d5 Ne5
6 Nf3 Bb4+
7 Nc3 Bxc3+
8 bxc3 Nxd3+
9 Qxd3I had originally assessed this position in my mind as just much better for white based upon my space and the clump of pawns that I have blocking the black white-squared bishop. Now I'm not so sure though, as f5 ideas look fairly promising for black. If my center implodes, he's gonna hvae a lot of energy.
9... Ne7
10 0-0 Ng6
11 Be3 a5
12 c5 b5
13 Rfd1 c6

I thought that this had to be wrong. Once I get my central pawns cemented home on the dark squares, I must be strategically winning, mustn't I? It just seems to rotten for black.
14 d6 Ba6
15 Qd4 0-0
16 e5 b4
17 cxb4 axb4

A good position to take stock, and really a rather critical one for the subsequent vicissitudes of the game. Here is where the troubles started for me, troubles in the category of oversights. Somehow, though I sat and looked at it, rather blankly I should think, I studied the upcoming tactical shot Be2 without registering that it posed a mortal threat to my e5 pawn. Certainly e5 has gotta be worth a good deal more than b4 as far as zones of control go, and I don't know... It just slipped away from me, and by the time I woke up and stopped making bad moves, I was in a lot of trouble.
18 Qxb4? Be2
19 Rd2? Bxf3
20 gxf3 Nxe5
21 Qe4? Qf6
3 bad moves later and my position is rapidly approaching the lost periphery. First I blundered by snatching b4 when I thought I was winning it. I had seen the doubling on f3 but somehow hadn't considered that I was also losing e5. Then I played the foolish d2, making my a1 rook into a potential tactical target. Then I played the queen to e4 instead of f4, allowing Walter to fit f3 with real force. I think I was just reacting slowly to developments at this point, thinking that I would have time to play Kh1, Rg1 and use my queen's pleasant white square threats from e4...ha! Yeah right, the position is now a total mess.
22 Kg2 Nc4?
Whoops, Walter tosses some of it back to me. 22... Nxf3 was really nasty and probably best.
23 Rdd1 Nxe3+
24 fxe3 Qg6+?
This is also wrong. With my king so exposed and my pawn centre crumbling, the queen could really have helped Walter to tie me down. It's true that my pawns are more vulnerable without the support of my queen, but I think that the queens were certainly as much an aid to him as to me.
25 Qxg6 fxg6
26 a4 Rf5
27 Rdc1 Ra5
28 e4
Curious. I haven't Fritz'd this in any depth, but I really wonder if I have anything substantial in the endgame after 28...Rxc5. My a-pawn looks really dangerous, but Walter might have time to make all of that work for him, and if the a-pawn advance runs out of juice, I am definitely toast.
28... Rg5+
29 Kf2 Re5
30 Rc4 Kf7
31 Rac1 Kf6
32 Rb1 Rexc5
33 Rxc5 Rxc5
34 Rb7 Rc2+
35 Kg3 Ra2
36 Rxd7 Rxa4
37 Rc7 Rd4
38 Rxc6 e5
Blunderprone and others are going to start mocking me for all of my insistence that rook endings are insignificant to chess improvement, and it is pretty funny that right after I wrote that I have seen a glut of these things in my games... but I have yet to ever lose one! I think that from here I'm doing fine again, though the position is still pretty messy. I haven't the foggiest what the theory on something like this would be. I just knew how the king ending would look if I played it right, and I'll leave the rest without comment, as I'm really not qualified to say anything more than that the king and pawn ending was totally won after Walter advanced his h-pawn.
39 h4 Ke6
40 Rc7 Rxd6
41 Rxg7 Rd7
42 Rxd7 Kxd7
43 Kg4 h6
44 h5 gxh5+
45 Kxh5 Ke7
46 Kxh6 Kf6
47 Kh5 Kf7
48 Kg5 Ke6
49 Kg6 Ke7
50 Kf5 Kf7
51 Kxe5 Ke7
52 f4 Kf7
53 Kd6 Ke8
54 f5 Kd8
55 e5 Ke8
56 f6 Kf8
57 Kd7 Kf7
58 e6+ Kf8
59 e7+ 1-0

5 Comments:

Anonymous marcel said...

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a bientot
marcel

5:54 AM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Well, I won't razz you about the R+P endgames...this time.

Rather, I will comment on the perplexity of inconsistent playing strength we all tend to go through.

Why is it one week I am holding my own against an 1800 or higher player and another I leave a piece en-prise against one 200 points lower than me? Inconsistent thought discipline? I'm having my "chess period" ( as Chess Loser once called it)? Or the conspiracy theorist route...perhaps there are negative through control patterns interfering with my play... and me without my tinfoil hat.

My own blundering experience is thematic to three things... one is psychological... whether I know the opponent or not... there is a sizing up and prejudgment that takes place before the match. Its worse if I know my opponent... I think. The second one is a manifestation of the first. Once I am comfortable with my psychological justification of why I should either beat my opponent hands down or how I should narrowly escape eminent death... I will make a howler of a move... thinking it was a precise calculation ...and MUCH better than the tamer safer candidate that was obvious. Lastly, Real chess... I forget to do the basics, and look for checks captures and threats.

Again as these "quirks" cascade one into the other, the end result is a lost point. I too have fallen victim of over-analyzing a position and playing a well thought out sequence of moves out of order at the last minute as I hit the clock . Humility leaves a lasting impression. I haven’t done that in a while.

Welcome to the Dog days of summer for chess. You will get on the other side of this.

-BP

10:33 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

Thanks for the support GD. The bumpiness has continued pretty steadily over five days and 7 games. I've had a howler loss from the opening, two rocky wins that hung on the edge, a horrible blunder loss, a win that I let collapse into a perpetual, a won endgame that I almost lost and drew and another holwer loss from the opening. And every game was against someone lower rated! I just hope I have gotten it out of my system and can move forward...

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Camiseta Personalizada said...

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10:08 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

You have always been a help for me in my most blunderous moments. I glad I can provide some perspective.

BTW..you might try to enable word verification in blogger to limit the trolls in the posts

6:23 AM  

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