In the beginning it looked like no-brainer – of course to play.
I will see better simple threats/combinations, try openings, etc.
OK, apparently it helped, in 9 months I went from “C” to “B”, began to make less gross errors, win more (got some killer instinct), but …
My rating hit plateau, I got 3 endgames out of 5 games in the last tournament – won only one, had chances to win in 2 others, got only 0.5. Of course, loss was under time pressure, still … did I know how to win? Do they teach it on FICS?
You play game after game; most of them are decided by blunder(s)/simple tactics,
you do not remember any of them after some time.
Yeah, scarcely you find a nice combination or play a good endgame, so you feel proud of yourself. Quite a few people play weird openings (meaning not known to mankind), so you are very lucky when you get to play your favorite ones.
Their favorite – Giuoco Pianissimo bores me to death.
When I feel “sharp”, I can win 8-9 out of 10 (with same/lower rated players),
when not – drop 4-5 in a row, when not concentrated at all – lose to patzers and get
rating down by 13-15 points at once ( my stomach almost hurts after that).
You lose a few games, it’s like playing cards and losing money, you want revenge
( and lose more). You stay late, sleep 4 hours, then go to work. I am accustomed to sleep not much, still doesn’t look right.
So, after playing ~2500 blitz/standard games in a year, what next?
Play with much higher rated people? Yeah, they play “good” openings, and know other things well too. So, they will crush me time after time.
Is it good for me? I am not sure, even I decide not to care about rating at all.
I played OTB with people rated much higher then me, and though I resisted
more than 30 moves every time, the game was always going one way.
Maybe I learn something, but my ego suffers.
So, play with longer time control? I like OTB long controls, but online it looks boring/too demanding (your free time is not unlimited).
Do not play at all? There should be some use …
I just played in the big tournament, finally was able to play not one game on Sunday in the club, but the whole thing at once.
Had a problem deciding should I play in stronger section –
U2000 or U1700 ( my rating is about 1650 ).
U1700 looked like easy walk to the prize ( I was in the top) and U2000 looked like the right thing to do, playing with the strong opponents, etc.
Finally I decided on U1700, god … how right I was.
Game 1 – I play black with the old guy rated about 100 lower than me.
It’s some kind of Queen’s pawn opening.
After some maneuvering I get an attack on Queen side, win a pawn,
and finally get to R+2B vs R+2B with closed pawn structure on
king side plus my precious asset on queen side – passed rock pawn.
I exchange rooks and already see myself getting a point.
The guy gets very serious and begins to move his king to the main scene (queen side). I do it too, exchange a bishop and suddenly realize that he actually blocks my pawn and I can’t win, so I have to offer him a draw.
I am thinking now where it got wrong? It looks obvious that leaving myself with a bad bishop wasn’t a way to win, but was there a win with 2 bishops?
If I would not exchange the rooks, maybe then there was a win?
Game 2 – I play with some guy, he arrogantly insists on playing on separate table, with his own clock and board, I feel angry, then I realize he is blind.
I calm down, we play on 2 boards, I tell him my moves, he tells me his.
The guy just feels the board, still plays pretty well.
We play Ruy Lopez, I try to avoid Marshall by playing d3, he gets initiative and I have to make effort to equalize. More and more exchanges – draw, ufff, OK. .
Game 3 – I see kid with whom I played in active tournament, barely got then a draw by time, so I am careful. I am white, we play Sicilian, Rossolimo and I get an attack on king side.
I sac knight on f7, he can’t take it, some complications, then we get into rook ending. I am pawn up, he plays passive, I get another one, exchange rooks, win pawn endgame.
Game 4 – Another kid, even younger. We play Ruy Lopez, I am black, think a moment about playing Marshall, decide not to risk, he closes the center- d5, I play f5, great.
Then I miss simple combination, he gets my h6 pawn.
OK, I double my rooks on f-line, he doesn’t suspect anything, I sacrifice on f3.
See right away that he has defense, still get his h pawn too, so N +2P for R.
Manage somehow to continue attack, he defends, then I bring knight from Queen side, things get worse for him. Finally I strike, get exchange back , I am up a pawn, then we exchange queens, I am already 3 pawns up, happiness overwhelms me, I won!
Suddenly he counterattacks, so I should give up one pawn.
I stop writing moves, about 5 minutes left, he has twice more.
He attacks again, I don’t want to give him passed pawn, so have to give up mine
( at home computer told me that my 2 passed pawns were actually stronger than his one ).
Remaining time – 3:30. Still have a passed pawn on king side, move it too far, lose it too, fuck. The win is gone, material equal, I am in worse position, time is running, 1:10.
Don’t see the moves clearly, damn clock. His king and rook move like tanks on me. I exchange rooks, think I have a draw, few moves later I lose pawn, time – 11 seconds, I resign. People around are saying I had a draw several times, of course now I can see it. The worst lost in my life.
Now I understand why 2 times, when I played with 200-300 higher rated players having 4-5 minutes left, they offered me a draw in a slightly better ( they thought ) endgame.
Game 5 – Last game. I swallow something and start just 15 minutes after game 4 finished.
Young man, we play Sicilian, he plays Nf3 on the second move, I stay closed, then he unexpectedly does 0-0-0. I play b4, easily open the b-line and feel really good.
He slowly does something on king side then suddenly in 2 moves his attack becomes very dangerous. I barely defend, it gets worse, h-line is wide open, his rook is on h8.
I already see his queen getting to h6 with mate threats, another terrible loss, bad total result.
I will quit chess…
But no, he puts another rook on h, it’s not that dangerous, my king escapes, whooo.. And then I see a counterattacking move by my queen ( and my rook is in good position ), with mate threats on back rank, I do it and wait.
He makes another attacking move, he doesn’t see it!
Quick check, and he realizes how bad it is. He thinks for some time, then resigns.
Honor is rescued!!!
The guy is actually nice, we talk about the game, I praise his attack, etc.
I go home, feel about this tourney like Russians felt, thinking before World War II that war will easy, just walk on enemy’s territory, then battled Germans just outside Moscow, survived and ran them back.