Sunday, December 16, 2007

DUH!! Sometimes Looking Ahead Doesn't Help.

Wormwood has an excellent post about how deep players look. At times when I play my mind gets cluttered with the different lines I'm considering and the number of moves in each line. I can recall as a college kid trying to make my way through "Think Like a Grandmaster". The whole tree of analysis thing would just overwhelm me and I'd end out setting the book aside. I never did make my way through the book. 30 years and a few less brain cells later I still have no interest in picking up the book and slogging through that stuff.

What drives me crazy is when I look at something that's only 2 moves deep, and miss the simplest of moves. Take this position from Friday night's tournament:

My opponent just played 10. b3. If I spent a little more time brushing up on some of the off main line stuff that white plays against 7...Qa5, I wouldn't get myself into time trouble, and I wouldn't play stupid moves like the one I chose. Simply playing 10...Ng4 or 10...O-O gives me a slight advantage out of the opening. Instead I come up with the bright idea of 10...Nxe4? I'm looking at 11. Nxe4 Qxd2+, 12. Nxd2 Bxa1, 13. O-O Bg7 winning a pawn and the exchange. I also looked at continuations for white such as 11. Bxf7 Kxf7 12. Nxe4 Qxe4, which don't do a thing except lose material for white. So after a good 4 minutes of thought I played 10...Nxe4.

Having gotten over fixated on the idea that White would take back with the knight to preserve his castling rights, imagine my surprise when he played 12. Kxd2. It never even occurred to me that he'd recapture with the king. I forgot that Kxd2 protects the rook. When he played the move I actually said, "Duh!" I was really annoyed with myself for overlooking the obvious, especially since I had spent a decent amount of time analyzing the possibilities.

I get ticked off when I move too quickly, but I think I get more annoyed when I spend time on a move and it's totally wrong. It's easy to rationalize a mistake made because one moved too fast. The "I was low on time" card is a handy excuse. Time pressure causes us not to look deep enough, but that excuse doesn't work on the 10th move of an Accelerated Dragon Sicilian. Had I been distracted by having seen King Kong's opponent blunder a piece early and losing in 1o minutes? Did I feel the anticipated pressure of going into round 3 against King Kong knowing he was 2-0 and the best I would be is 1.5 -.5 if I won my current game? Was I having one my ADD moments where I simply over focused on one idea? I think it may have been a combination of all three.

At that point I opted to deal with his having two minor pieces for the rook and pawn. Unfortunately I think I had trouble adjusting to the flaw in my analysis so the position kind of deteriorated from there. His bishop pair was pretty overwhelming. The rest of the game continued: 11. Nxe4 Qxd2+ 12. Kxd2 Bxa1 13. Rxa1 Bf5 14.Ng5 e6 15. Bd4 Rg8 16. Nxh7 O-O-O 17. Kc3 b6 18. Ng5 Rd7 19. h3 b5 20. Be2 Rgd821. Bf6 Re8 22. g4 1-0. Knowing that I was having to give up a third piece, and he'd still have the bishop pair I decided enough was enough. I need to save my energy for King Kong.

There is the story behind the story of this game. My opponent in this particular is the kid in my lunch time chess class. Earlier that day I had done the last class of the session, and gave a simul. I let all the kids pick what color they would have against me, except Mike. I made him take black. A lot of the regulars were missing so I had mostly the 1st and 2nd graders to play. I could concentrate on my game with Mike. I knew there was a good chance he would be in my quad that evening. I just didn't know whether I'd be white or black against him. Just in case I would be white that evening, I decided I wouldn't play my regular stuff against him in the simul. Too bad I used up all my good moves in the afternoon. I was up the exchange against him when class was over.


Liquid Egg Product said...

"[This game] shows I need to perfect my play of two-move variations." -- Mikhail Botvinnik

chessboozer said...

Thanks for the link,
Have done likewise.