Sunday, March 9, 2008

Psycho Psunday Part 1: Draw Pschology Revisited

This day went beyond the realm of Wacky Wednesday. I've been playing in rated tournaments since 1972. I have over 3300 rated games, not counting quick chess. I thought I had seen everything until my last round in the UMBC Open on Sunday. As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn't play so hot on Saturday. The only reason I had a point was the massive brain fart that my opponent had in round two. I think part of my problem is when I play a slower time limit it takes me a couple of rounds to actually pace myself correctly. I tend to rush my moves early on, and then end out with a crummy position that I have trouble recovering from.

My 4th round opponent was about 15 minutes late. I always get a bit anxious in a morning round where I have a crummy score and my opponent is late. It's even worse when day light savings time has just begun. I start thinking "He got the bye last night. He's disgusted with his score, and is not going to show up. He forgot to set his clock forward so he's not going to show up until noon because he thinks it's 11." So on, and so forth. I hate forfeit wins. They're worse then byes.

This game was a struggle. I got a marginal position out of the opening, and couldn't get my pieces coordinated. I did use a lot of time. The 15 minute time edge I had evaporated and for a change I was the one behind on the clock. I felt my opponent had a few different opportunities to either trash my pawn structure or win a pawn, but he just slowly built up pressure and did not rush into anything that would give me play. We eventually traded queens, and I thought I was okay. I offered a draw after playing 29. Kf3 to reach the following position.

I usually don't offer draws when there are so many pieces on the board, but I was tired of struggling with the position. I didn't see that he had so much now that the queens were gone. He didn't say anything. He simply played 29...g5. I spent a couple of minutes debating between Rb3 or h3. I played 30. Rb3. I didn't think that 30...g4+ was that big a deal. Maybe I need to re-read posts like this one regarding draw offers, because I certainly had the "post rejected draw offer" let down. I'm not sure where my head at this point, but I played 31. Ke4.

Now talk about being totally oblivious to danger. After I make the move I'm thinking to myself "Oh damn, he's going to play the rook to d1 and get behind my h pawn, and I can't get back to defend." That was the least of my problems. He plays 31...f5. He doesn't say anything and he doesn't press the clock. I'm thinking to myself "What's this? How come he didn't press the clock?" Then it hits me. DUH! It's mate. Unfreaking believeable. I get mated by a pawn.

What else could possibly go wrong at this point? Remember Murphy's Law. "If anything can go wrong it will." O"Tool's commentary on Murphy's Law is "Murphy was an optimist." I think ole Murphy is a guy with a twisted sense of humor, who decided I needed something totally crazy and different to blog about. See Part II of Psycho Psunday for the details.


tanc(happyhippo) said...

Major ouch! Be careful of brain farts, they're contagious. :)

Wahrheit said...

"Totally crazy and different"??? Oh boy, this one was fairly crazy...I did something like this myself once, charged the king forward in an endgame and got mated; in fact, I seem to remember JH Donner or some other fairly high GM having it happen to them.

Can hardly wait now for part II.

Anonymous said...

On the bright pside, it would have been a completely winning move in Center of Attention chess

denopac said...

GM Bu Xiangzhi walked into mate against Nakamura at Gibralter this year. That was a rapid game, but still, it happens at all levels.

Polly said...

Stuff happens. I know GMs aren't immune to this either. It makes me feel a little better.

wang said...

File this in the AWWWWW CRAP! section. I feel your pain. I've done this more than once. You wonder why the hell your opponent hasn't hit his/her clock and then you realize that you've been mated. And no one even bought you a drink :(