Sunday, January 20, 2008

Major Phaux-Pas in Philly

I'm in Philadelphia for the Liberty Bell Open. I'm playing in the 2 day schedule of the Under 1900 section. I've gotten off to a good start with two draws against high 1800s and a win against another high 1800. In round four I play my lowest rated opponent so far, a 1776. I have a great game going, and we reach this position on move 41.

I had a really nice attack earlier, and was sure I was going to win a pawn or a piece, but he defended very nicely. I probably should have offered a draw after the queens and one pair of rooks went off, but I felt I was better and I was ahead on the clock by a bit. I had played 41. f4 and he played 41...e5. At this point I go into a deep think about whether I want to check on d6 with the rook. I was afraid of the interposition after 42. Rd6 Re6. I thought his king would get very active after 43. Rxe6. What I didn't consider was instead of taking, pushing f5+. That actually is very strong for white so Re6 is a mistake. Kf7 is probably best for black, but Fritz rates it + over minus 0.72 for white. I only had considered 43. Rxe6 Kxe6. I decided I didn't want to give the check until I moved my king up to f3. So in that position I played 43. Kf3??? I didn't even notice exd4 until he made the move. Unbelievable!!

Sometimes this damn game gets me so pissed off. I have a great position, and I'm off to a great start in the tournament and I totally screw up up the game with the dumbest move possible. I over analyzed the check, and forgot that the pawn is attacking the rook. Duh! Sometimes I just feel like I just can't deal with success over the chess board. I wasn't in time pressure. I was actually ahead on the clock for most of the game. I had almost 5 minutes left after I made that horrible move. That was just one of my classic ADD moments where I had a serious brain fart.

My fifth round was the first game for me at the slow time control. I played an old guy who spent lots of time on every move, and notated in English Descriptive. I was so freaking antsy that game. I was more twitchy then the little kids playing in the lower sections. I wasn't even thinking about how stupid I played the previous round. I just wanted to go watch the Giants game. The hotel has a bar in the lobby, and you could hear all the shouting every time something happened. I had toyed around with taking a bye for round 5 so I could watch the football game. Being the pessimist I am at times, knowing my luck the Packers would be winning 28-0 by the half and I be super pissed off that I skipped the round to watch a sucky football game. Instead I played a marginally sucky game of chess for three hours and got to watch the last quarter and overtime.

The funny thing was a lot of chess people got to see Polly the crazy sports fan for the first time. Chess people are used to watching me play or direct. I'm usually pretty intense, and not loud. Tonight they got to watch me yell at the TV and curse out the Giants kicker during the fourth quarter. Then they got to watch me run around the bar giving high fives to strangers wearing Giants jerseys. Damn! I can't believe the Giants are playing in the Super Bowl! Can they beat New England? Probably not, but who knows? Nobody thought they could beat Dallas or Green Bay.


Glenn Wilson said...

I used to commit such blunders all too frequently. My cure was to do a quick look at the board and write down the move before playing it and check that the move I was considering wasn't an obvious blunder and made sense for the position on the board now. One is no longer supposed to write the move first and with a monroi that is an even greater offense (or so it seems to me) but I still try to go through that mental routine without actually writing down the move.

One of the causes for blundering for me was considering for a long time some future position and finally deciding what I would play there and evaluating it as good for me. And then playing that future move on the current move before the intermediate move(s) had been played.

Temposchlucker said...

Was er a moment you realised that your rook was en prise and did you forget it or didn't you notice it at all?

Polly said...

Glenn: The writing the move down thing never really worked for me even when I was allowed to do it. A course now I can't do it because I'm using the Mon Roi.

Tempo: I don't remember if I saw that the rook was under attack or not. Given my reaction when he did take it I almost think I didn't see it at all. It was almost like "Hey what did that pawn take? Oh crap it was my rook."

I know that several moves before that my mind was racing around with random thoughts about "possibly being 3-1, what's the prize fund, would I win over $2000 and get a 1900 floor. Having a 1900 floor would make it bad for me to play in the Friday quads because I'd be giving away too many points to 1600s in I continued to lose to those kids", etc. It's those rabling thoughts of over-confidence that do me in. I think sometimes that why I tend to think ugly thoughts so that I don't get ahead of myself.

Being an adult with ADHD can be very frustrating when playng chess and having the mind go from totally out of focus, and rambling a million thoughts at a time to totally over fixated on one thing to the neglect of everything else. I think that's what I like about playing G/30 to G/60 time controls. I don't need to focus as long as I do when playing 40/2 G/60.

If somebody took a video of me playing my 5th round game last night one would swear they were watching a very hyper kid sitting there. I change positions in my chair constantly including getting on my knees in the chair, I stand, I wander around, I chew on my Mon Roi stylus, or I'm tapping in my hand. I stopped tapping on the table much becaue an opponent complaind. I'm not always fidgeting like last night. I think it was because my opponent was moving so slow and really wanted to watch the football game instead.

Anonymous said...

It is somewhat of a paradox - if you get too intensely involved you can miss the obvious stuff.

There is a kind of delicate balance where you relax the mind but keep it alert enought to calculate variations while also look at the overall situation positionally.

Very Zen. How does one stay detached while being engaged?

Anonymous said...

I've personally noticed that when I'm slightly tired that I can focus on the game better without all the extraneous thoughts whizzing through my brain. This happens particularly well with early morning rounds. By the 3rd or 4th round in a 1 day event my brain resents the restrictions of being so focused and just wants done with the chess. Though sometimes it'll be happy to play blitz chess afterwards.