Thursday, August 1, 2013

LCCC at the US, Open – Day 6

First……..the good news. I slept well, at night, and even through my games.

Now the bad news.
I am playing just awful! Let’s see, plenty of rest. Good food without over-eating. Drinking nothing but bottled water and Gatorade on occasion. Getting a nap in between rounds. Going over openings and studying a few tactics in between rounds. Keeping up on my Chess dot Com games at meals, where, by the way, I seem not to be “losing it”.
But I am getting in that tournament hall – and there is no other way to say it – and go brain dead …… and blind.
Is it nerves? Is it the lack of distractions or company? I don’t feel nervous and I don’t feel like doing anything else right now but play chess. But I sure picked a bad time to “lose it.”

But – as hitters in a slump would say – keep working and swinging. The fog will (should) clear someday.

Round 3 – I did win, but it felt like a loss because I played so poorly. My opponent had a 900 rating, and played like it. I squeaked out an upset win - by playing like a 700. Wish it was chess-baseball. I need a relief player. My fastball is flat and I am hanging curves (pieces).

So let's talk about Round 2 – With the White pieces, I faced a really nice guy – Brian Villarreal, rated 1820. We talked before and after the game. He said he played my first round opponent when Troy was in elementary school and rated 1000. Now he is 2000! Brain also stated he just got over 1800 after a long stint in the 1700’s. He said he did it by playing the better people at his chess club!
White to move.

Here is the position at the turning point. As I stated, I am not playing well. Post game analysis showed that although my position is not strong, it’s not terribly weak either. 
But I had to come up with the right plan. 
I had two options: 1) challenge for the e4 square with Bf3 and then e4!, or 2) play it safe with Nf3 adding protection to the e5 pawn and putting the knight on a primo square.
I chose Bf3, but not for the correct reason. I only see that unguarded bishop at b7 and don’t concern myself with my opponent’s possible moves.

12. Bf3    Qc7
Of course. But I never considered it. So if I didn't see that, there is no way I see e4!
13. c4?   Nxe5
14 .Kh1    Bd6
15. Qa4+?   Bc6
16.  Qc2   Nxf3
17.  Nxf3   Bxf4
18.   ef      Qxf4
I am down two pawns, so now I decide to play some chess. I always like to be down material or crushed in a position before I start playing well.
19. Ne5    Bb7
20.  cd      Bxd5z
21.  f3       O-O?
Rarely is castling a bad move, but it was here.
22. Nd7    Rfd8
23. Nxb6   Rab8
24. Nxd5?!   Rxd4
Well so much for a short run of decent chess assisted by my opponent's over-confidence. I have not analyzed it, but hanging on to material when down material is usually best. But his bishop is going to be much stronger in this open position. Especially since my knight at a4 is on the rim and grim. I blunder it up the rest of the way anyway.
25. Re4   Qg5
26. b3??  ......
Worried about his c-pawn and my b-pawn and not worrying about my king or queen.
26. .....     Rd2
27. Rg4    Qf6
28. Qc1    Rad8
Record: 1-2 but should be 0-3.
Other stuff. The President of the Michigan Chess Association, Jennifer Skidmore, saw me and said there will be an attempt made to get all the Michigan attendees together for a Team picture Friday night. If it happens, I will try to get one myself or have her email it to me so I can post it here before it comes out in the MCA magazine (whenever that is published again).

1 comment:

  1. OK... so from the diagram

    12. Bf3

    12. e4 was a slight advantage in all variations that I can see. Given your pawns structure and where your pieces are aimed, it's the right move on principle.

    12.. Qc7 13. c4? (not paying attention) Nxe5 14. Kh1? (A capture will happen on f3 regardless, why waste a tempo? The king move does not improve your position.) Bd6 15. Qa4+ (Of course you know the old adage about patzer sees check - patzer gives check. Gotta break you of this habit of wasting time, buddy.) Bc6 16. Qc2 Nxf3 17. Nxf3 Bxf4 18.
    exf4 Qxf4 (if you hadn't moved your queen to c2, you would have had the intermezzo 6. Bxd6 first, then Nxf3 and you would have only been a pawn down.) 19. Ne5 Bb7 20. cxd5 Bxd5 21. f3 O-O 22. Nd7 Rfd8 23. Nxb6 Rab8 24. Nxd5 Rxd5 25. Re4 Qg5 26. b3 Rd2 27. Rg4 Qf6 28. Qc1 Rbd8 0-1
    Resigning may have been a bit premature. You are clearly worse after 28. .. Rad8, but you have defenses. For example, both 29. h3 and 29. Re4 are playable. On 29. Re4 Qxa1 30. Qxa1 Rd1+ 31. Ree1 defends. On 29. h3, black will likely play 29. .. h5 and then pick up your a-pawn, but you still have a few moves to play yet.

    Things to work on:
    1. Paying attention to opponent's threats. No tunnel-vision with your own plans.
    2. Thematic chess is good chess. Learn those pawn structures and the thematic pawn breaks!
    3. Don't waste time on needless king moves, pawn moves, or checks. Always think carefully about passive moves on your part. Ask yourself:
    * Am I giving away the initiative by making a passive move?
    * Was my opponents last move passive? If so, then I'm usually safe to play one one my turn.