Sunday, November 11, 2007

Not The New York Knights: Round 2

The next round we played the team called Alec Ostrovskiy. The team consisted of Alec Getz and Anotoliy Ostrovskiy. Anotoliy is the father of another talented kid named Aleksandr, hence the team name. Alek was playing on a different team with Irenya Zenyuk. They are the top rated team. Anotoliy and I have played two times with a draw and a loss. He was the house player at the NY State Championship who took me apart the round I got the bye.

Jay beat Alec fairly quickly so it came down to my game. It was very drawish, and that’s all I needed for us to win the match. He had the bishop pair, but I had a centralized knight so I thought I had very good drawing chances. We eventually traded off the dark squared bishops. I was a little nervous because all my pawns were on light squares, but my knight was making it hard for him to try to get behind my pawns. Eventually he traded the bishop for the knight. I think he was hoping I’d take with the b pawn giving him the outside passed pawn. I knew that lost, so I wisely took with the c pawn.

I was really pleased with how I was playing up this point. I was counting squares right for possible pawn races. I was finding the right square for my king when I had to back off. My first opportunity for a potential pawn race I counted and determined he would queen two moves ahead, so I knew I had to retreat the king instead. It’s amazing how much easier it is to calculated these endings with time on the clock. (Note to self: Play more slow tournaments!)

So we reached this position.

I looked at several different possibilities such as Kd4, followed by Ke3. I calculated the pawn race if I push c4 and he plays b4. I promote one move earlier, and get to check on a1 forcing his king to the b file. Qb1+, and I skewer the queen on b8. Seeing that this variation is simple to count and wins, I push the pawn to c4, and then do one of those annoying things that cocky little kids do. I reached over and got a black queen for the anticipated promotion. I'm doing mental somersaults in my head. I'm so pumped because I'm going to be 2-0 in a tournament that I'm one of the lowest rated players. My opponent pushed b4, just as I had anticipated. I think I used about 2 seconds of the delay and immediately pushed c3. This move is a major mistake. All I have to do is play Kd4! I had around 40 minutes left and my opponent had around 10 so there was no need to make the move so fast. Instead of playing the anticipated b5, he played Kb3! At this point I have a major meltdown. I’ve thrown away the win with my hasty pawn push. I still have a draw after 49…Kd4. 50. Kc2, Kc4, 51. b5, Kxb5, 52. Kxc3, Kc5, 52. Kd3, Kd5, 53. Kc3, Kc5.

I’m so angry at this point that I can’t even see Kd4. I put the black queen back on the other table, knowing that I had been presumptuous to take it so soon. I just start shaking my head, and tapping my Mon Roi stylus on my hand. I get up, I sit down. I couldn't believe I did such a stupid thing. In my rage I push b2??, and walk out of the playing room. This move just loses. He takes the pawn on c2. I have to give up my hard earned opposition to go chase down his pawn. The rest of the games goes like this. 50.Kxc2 Kc4 51.b5 Kxb5 52.Kd3 Kc5 53.Ke4 Kd6 54.Kxf4 Ke6 55.Kg5 Ke5 56.f4+ Ke6 57.Kg6 Ke7 58.f5 Kf8 59.Kf6 Kg8 60.Ke7 Kg7 61.f6+ Kg6 62.f7 12 moves later with him on the verge of promoting and no stalemate possibilities I resign in disgust. So instead of going into round 3 against the top rated team with the same 2-0 score we have 1.5. Instead of me being on the top of the world with a 2-0 score, I'm 1-1 and mad as hell. If it had been game/30 and I had 4 seconds left then I wouldn't have been so pissed off. I would have been able to blame it on time pressure, and moved on. I had 40 freaking minutes!! Total loss of focus.


ookwelbekendalsemc said...

I too f'd up games like that so i can imagine the rage. I hope you calmed down a bit by now...

Glenn Wilson said...

When that happens to me I say "my head exploded." To help prevent that I literally sit on my hands (they will pick up the pieces and move them unless restrained, at times), if time on the clock allows.

Breathe deep. There is a temptation to blitz/slam out the winning move but ... relax. Take your time. Analyze. Calculate. Double-check.

Fantasies about savoring the victory later are usually a sign that my head is not in the game.

Polly said...

I think the annoying thing about the whole episode is this is the sort of things that I tell my students not to do. I know about about sitting on the hands, double checking everything, taking one's time. I guess it's the old "do as I say, not what I do." Now I have to do as I say. LOL

Liquid Egg Product said...

*Nods head in empathy.* Although the last time something like that happened, I was about to win a Pawn on move 9. (????) Which meant there was obviously still a ton of game left, so it made no sense...

Glenn: or "My head a splode."