January 2010

Another game reminding me the past one,  also loss to essentually lower rated player in 28 moves:
This time it wasn’t the result of unexpected/unknown opening.
Vice versa,  I prepared to this opening, knowing that about half of my possible
opponents play Nc3 in French. I prepared to Steinitz, went through my 2 OTB games, also looked at some GM games. But when I got the main Boleslavsky variation  – 7. Be3
( here is the game), I realized that I didn’t get a good look at it  (and never played it before) and didn’t go into details of  the Karjakin-Carlsen game played 2 days ago where Carlsen won against this variation.  Nevertheless I was OK after the opening and even won a pawn. Then something very unexpected started to happen.
I knew that I should refrain from castling kingside, as I can get under attack. I wanted to prevent f5, so I played 17… g6. After 18. Ng5 I didn’t like the possible sac Nxf7 with f5 following, so I decided to castle. Fritz says that 18… Qb6 would diffuse that threat. After 19. Qg4 I thought that the knight is dangerous, wanted to exchange it by 19… Bxg5, but hesitated and decided to play Nc6.  20. f5 was shocking and though Bxg5 was still OK, the whole line that I calculated – 20…Bxg5 21. Bxg5 Qe8 defending e6 was bad, also I played it quickly, then realized that my rook is trapped.
21… Qb6 was again saving the day, leaving him with 0.8.
After f6 and Rf4 I got a very bad feeling that I will probably lose the game. That was right, I resigned a few moves later after the thematic queen sacrifice.
Funny, that I made the same sac about a year ago.
I want to draw serious conclusions out of this game.  I knew he plays Ruy/Chigorin,  so I could play  1… e5 and definitely won’t lose, especially if I would get my Marshall. Still, I don’t want to give up French just because I couldn’t defend properly.  I could have learned, of course, that Qb6 is a typical move in this variation (it’s actually a typical French move).  And again I hurried to make a prepared move, forgetting about the principle that I mentioned in the previous post – spend 15% of the time looking at the final candidate.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
After my game last week,  I, being upset by the blunder, started to analyze my games.
I got even more upset after that.  I found, that in the 1st tournament in the new club
I made a mistake, allowing simple tactics 1,  lets say 1.5  times (second wasn’t very simple) in 5 games,  my performance rating was ~2100. In the 2nd tournament same in 3 out of 6 games, PR = ~1900. In this tournament 2 out of 2, PR = ~1700.
I made a little research and found some interesting stuff from Dan Heisman.
He says that 1200 rated guy makes 4 mistakes (allowing simple tactics) per game, 1600 – 1 , 2000 – 1 in 4 games, 2400 – 1 in 16. It correlates very well with my stats. He offers some advice with regards to this. First, when you choose finally the move out of a few candidates, don’t make it right away. Spend at least 15% of the time, that you spent before on all candidates, just checking this move: checks, captures, threats. Also, he says, a lot of tactics that people solve easily doing exercises, they do not see right away at the board. He says, I see much more patterns than my students without checking and calculating, like we see back rank mate.  I looked again at my last games and I found:
fork, trapped piece, removing of guard, pin, discovered attack, double attack – 2 of each.
So, using the first letters, I got – FTRaPeDD or f&#@ing trapped! 🙂
I decided during my next game to repeat that last sentence before each move.
Yesterday  I  got a pairing with the boy,  judging by his look, first moves, etc. rated ~1600.  It wasn’t far, after the game I found he was rated ~1550.
I was White, Ruy Lopez, Chigorin variation, here is the game. The guy played fast the first 10 moves, then played unusual to me 11. … Nd7.  Though I didn’t quite like it,  it’s actually a second line, Keres played it a few times. Anyway, his 14th move was out of book and on 15th he made a mistake.  I said my motto and saw that he loses a pawn. I got an attack on the kingside and on move 26 he made a decisive mistake.
On move 29 I missed a possibility of mate in 3 – Qg3!, it was a mating pattern with bishop on a1-h8 diagonal and knight, mating on h6. Anyway, after 11 moves the mate was inevitable and the guy resigned.
It’s from the song of my favorite AC/DC:
It’s a long way to the top
If you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
I played in the club yesterday, with the master.  It wasn’t expected as he didn’t play in the 1-st round, but he just entered with the bye. Anyway, another master, I am Black, the Center Game – 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. Qxd4 Nc6 4. Qe3,  here is the game.
I played against it once in a big tournament a year ago,  chose plan with castling queenside – same as White to avoid an attack of pawn majority and it worked well,  I missed a win and drew.  So, same plan here.  Some exchanges arised,  I wanted to avoid queens exchange and played not the best move. Later I had to do it anyway in order to weaken attack on the queenside.  He was spending a lot of time trying to strengthen his position, my pieces were passive,  but I didn’t see any weaknesses. He didn’t use my mistake 23…h5, and then it came a moment when I could intercept the initiative.
I saw the moves 27. … f6 and 28… Ne5, but I didn’t want his knight on e6,
didn’t realize he doesn’t have time to get there. He advanced his “c” pawn and
got a possibility to create a passed pawn. I decided to exchange rooks, didn’t want
his rook getting on 7th row somehow. It was a mistake.
Only with a precise play I could draw that ending with the same-colored bishops.
After his advance d6 I had to play c6 to close up the position and I would probably play
cxd6, which after Kxd6 loses very quickly. Anyway, I was too concentrated on the kingside, started to look at the clock – 25 minutes vs. his 12, and made a mistake (which I saw right away), missing a discovery attack and pawn on b7.
After that it became the matter of technique. My opponent suggested that f6, Ne5 moves would get me a good position.  He said I played well and he didn’t get anything out of the opening.
My game yesterday reminded me the game that I played 8 months ago:
A boy also rated 300 lower,  not the best shape of mine  (though different reason – I
slept 2 hours the night last but one before the game playing this %^&*$#@ blitz on FICS and less than 7 hours of sleep next night didn’t compensate that)  and decisive mistake in the endgame missing the win.
I’ll call it reboot of  “All screwed up” (in mass media it means to a discard much or even all previous continuity in the series and start anew with fresh ideas – bad ideas in this case :)).
So, I was White, Sicilian,  my favorite Moscow variation, here is the game.
I played fast in the familiar position (10 minutes for the first 15 moves), too fast and missed winning an exchange on move 15 , though Fritz doesn’t think much of it (I am leaving my opponent with a strong dark-colored bishop). Then on the next move I really missed winning an exchange with 16. Nd5 with an estimate ~3.  It wasn’t that obvious though. Then his 21. Na5 looked wrong to me, and I saw winning 2 pieces for a rook and pawn. I was afraid of the move 25… Qd4, but he missed it, still Fritz evaluates it as 1.18. During the next moves my advantage grew and we go into the endgame with him having 2 rooks vs. my rook and 2 minor pieces. I tried to win his weak pawn, at the same time didn’t want to let his rook on the second row and here I made a bad mistake, allowing him to win my pawn with a simple strike. I think I had less than 15 minutes on the clock at that time, he had about the same. Fritz drops the evalution from ~4 to 0.  Still later there was a moment when if I would play differently – 60. Nf5 I could win his rook for the passed pawn and get K+N+B vs. K endgame. The thing is I have very remote idea how to mate, except that I should force his king into the corner of the same color as the bishop. Having 5 minutes left I am not sure I would win.
Strange, but I am not very upset, the game was very educational from the opening to the endgame, so I’ll try to get maximum out of it.