Saturday, January 5, 2008

It's Deja Vu All Over Again!

I played my first tournament of 2008 on Thursday. Unfortunately it was eerily similar to my first tournament of 2007. The only difference was this year I managed to avoid the bye until round 4. Should I take that as sign that 2008 will be better because I put off the bye until round 4? Or should I take it as an omen that 2008 is going to be a lot like 2007 because I'm getting unrequested byes?

Now I could have avoided the entire issue if I could have won a game in one of the earlier rounds. Easier said then done. My best chance was in round three when I finally got paired "down". Down is relative when paired against a 1653 when your own rating is 1700. Down is also relative when the opponent has a 5-1 record against you. In my New Years Day post I made some non-binding New Years resolutions. I certainly did not stick to them very well in this game, especially the one about managing my time better. Here is the position when I stopped inputting moves on my Mon Roi. Neither of us had much time.

This position occurred after 48. axb6 Qxb6+, 49. Qxb6 axb6. I didn't really want the queen trade, but it was check so I had no choice. I felt I was slightly better with the advanced and protected pass pawn, but that knight was making it impossible for my king to penetrate. I don't remember what really occurred after that. Both of us were moving very quickly, and several pawns got traded off. I offered a draw which he declined. Both of us had under three seconds each. Pieces were flying all over the place. Neither one of us seemed capable of putting a piece down on a square without something getting knocked over. The minor pieces eventually were traded off so it came down to king and pawns. We had quite the audience because we were the last game. According to the spectators one or both of us made illegal moves, but neither of us saw the moves. We both could have used an extra two minutes. Unfortunately in the time scramble I managed to lose a couple of pawns and my opponent promoted. 1 second with a 5 second delay is more then enough time to mate with a king and queen against a lone king.

When I saw that I had the bye for the last round I remarked "At least I can go home early." One of the players who also teaches chess to kids said to me, "Go home early, and when you get there count to five so that you know how long five seconds is. You didn't need to move immediately." He had been watching the game, and observed that I missed my chances because I been moving instantaneously. Some days I handle time scrambles better then other days. This was not one of the better days.


Anonymous said...

You are playing way too much. You should play 5-10 rated games a month with a time control of G/60 or slower, then deeply analyze your losses first without a computer and then with. Try too see what mistakes you keep making.

All this playing is re-enforcing your bad habits and you will never improve.

A.J. USCF 2361

Polly said...

AJ: You are right, but it's hard to stop when one loves to play a lot. Unfortunately it's also hard for me to have the time to play slower chess.

Often my schedule makes it necessary to play an accelerated schedule instead of the shorter one. MLK weekend I have to work Saturday which means to play the Liberty Bell Open I have to play the 2 day schedule. That will mean 4 games at g/50 and 3 at 40/2.

Anonymous said...

5 seconds is even enough to record the moves if you were so inclined. (Yes, I've done it. No, it did not cost me the game.)

According to the spectators one or both of us made illegal moves, but neither of us saw the moves.

See, this is exactly when you need to just capture a Pawn close to one of your pieces, whether or not you actually can. Chances are they won't notice. That sort of tactic has bumped up my rating about 70 points.

L.E.P. USCF 1584

Anonymous said...

I apologize for giving an inflated picture my ability in the response. I'm rated 1582, not 1584. Sorry.

Polly said...

LEP: The chess goddess Caissa will strike you dead for such an oversight! Don't let it happen again!

denopac said...

Polly, I hate to pile on, but to AJ's point.... you don't *have* to play the 2-day schedule at the Liberty Bell. Take byes in rounds 1 - 3 (Steve is allowing three 1/2 point byes) and play rounds 4-7 at the slow time control. The way things are now you're putting yourself into situations where it's very difficult for you to succeed.

Anonymous said...

You have to decide if you just want to play, or if you want to get better.

If you really want to get off your floor and get better at chess you need to spend much more time studying.

There is no correct answer, but you should probabably spend twice as much time studying than playing.

At your level you should concentrated almsot 100% on tactics.

Go through your games and find the spots where you blundered, print these out. This will help pin point the type of tactical errors that you make.

Chess Tactics Server can be a good place for tactics. Try for a high rate of accuracy and don't worry about taking too long to solve.

A.J. USCF 2361

Chessaholic said...

hey, just look at it this way: the rest of the year can only get better! :)

Polly said...

Chessaholic: One can hope. Actually it's already better, I won both my games last night.

Wahrheit said...

Wow, some really strict maiden aunts rated USCF 2361 have shown up lately :)

You're a really experienced player and I know the Anon. A.J. 2361 is trying to help, but Go through your games and find the spots where you blundered, print these out. This will help pin point the type of tactical errors that you make.
I think she's been doing that right here already, dude.

Polly said...

Wahr: Thanks. I've been doing some of that. I admit I don't work as hard at my game as I could. Sometimes I'm just lazy, and it's more fun to play then study. If I really want to get off my floor then I'll have to do more of the work AJ is suggesting, and less "cracktion". I'm just not quite at that point yet. As the saying goes: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." I'm not insane yet. :-)

Anonymous said...

The position you posted is quite interesting. I set it up and played white against Shredder 5s/move, full strength, and won. Then I went back and played the black side and drew after about 100 moves.

I think with best play the position is a draw, but it's very instructive.

Polly said...

Anon: Thanks for sharing your experiences playing the position from both sides. It certainly had a lot of play left in it, and time becomes a major factor. It would have been interesting to play it out in the second time control of 40/2 G/1.