Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Maybe I Should Have Accepted This Draw.....

Having spent this post and this post ranting about kids offering draws before 20 moves have been played, it was perhaps fitting that I would find myself in this very same situation once again. We're in round two of the Westchester Chess Club Championship. The round two pairings were rather strange because we have numerous games outstanding from round one that all got paired as draws. the 1/2-1/2 score group was the largest group for round two.

For round two I'm paired against Dario's younger brother, Giancarlo. We've played a two times before. I have a win and a draw against him. The first time I had played him, I had to beg him to play in the tournament to make an even number. He'd had just come to hang out while his brother was playing. He thought that his rating of 950 was too low to play in the tournament. I told him it was okay, and that he'd be fine. So what happens? I play him in the second round and barely squeak out a draw with him. In fact I had blundered and he missed a very nice forced mate in this position that arose after 33. Qf8+ Kg5.

The game continued 34. h4+! Kh5 35. Qf3+ White offers draw?? I accepted, figuring he was just going to play 36. Qf8+ and repeat the position which had done twice before playing h4+. We both had missed the killer combination. The solution is at the bottom of the post. I haven't quite figured out how to do the hidden font trick that Happy Hippo does on his blog.

Getting back to Wednesday's game in the club championship. Giancarlo was part of this group of players who had been paired as draw pending the outcome of the first round for the latecomers. I had played the first round and drew with one of these under rated "returning to tournament chess after a long lay off" type players. After his 17th move of Nxc6 we reach this position, and he offers me a draw.

What is it with kids offering their higher rated opponents draws after so few moves? I was rather annoyed by the offer and told him "No I don't want a draw right now. I came here to play chess." We had only been playing for a half hour. Why would either player want a draw at this stage of the game? It's not like we're Grandmasters in the last round playing on board 1 for first place. It's the second round of the club championship where first prize is going to be around $80. What are we going to do for the rest of the evening if we take a draw here? Watch the other games? Play a bunch of blitz games? If I want to play blitz all evening I can save gas by staying at home and playing 5 minute chess on FICS.

Maybe this is a new psychological ploy. Offer a draw to an opponent who you know hates early draw offers. I know it was not intentional on his part, but it seemed to get me so ticked off that I lost focus. Two moves later he played 19. Qb4 attacking my b7 pawn. I spent 10 minutes coming up with one of the worst ways possible to give him the pawn. Here is the entire game.

I could have resigned right after I had to give up the rook on move 31, but having rejected the draw offer 15 minutes earlier because "I was here to play chess", I felt like I should keep playing. Did I regret not taking the draw offer at move 17? No. Perhaps my only regret was allowing it to distract me when I was trying to find the best response to 19. Qb4. That's just another one of those focusing issues that I have to work on. On the bright side I got see how one takes advantage of a weak flank.

I talked to my opponent after the game, and explained why I rejected the draw offer. Draws should only happen with there is nothing left in a position. As a teacher and coach, I would never want my students go for an early draw just for the sake of rating points. One does not learn that way. In this game if I had taken the draw on move 17 he would not have had the opportunity to play out that position and execute the nice queen side attack. Unlike my opponent from Saturday who couldn't take advantage of his position, Giancarlo pounced on my queen side weaknesses.

It's funny because I had given his brother the exact same lecture last fall after one of his premature draw offers ended out with him losing a piece two moves later. Since that little lecture his record against me is two wins and one draw. Maybe I shouldn't be giving these kids advice since it seems to come back and bite me. However the teacher in me wants to see the kids improve. They're not going to improve by asking for early draws.

In case you didn't see the mates that we missed from our first game here they are:

35. Rf5+ Kg4 36.Rg5# or 35... gxf5 36. Qxf5+ Kh6 37. Qg5#.

Even sac-ing my rook doesn't help. 34. h4+ Rxh4 35. gxh4+ Kxh4 36. Qh6+ Kg4 37. Bc1#


transformation said...

i have to be very straight forward and direct, and certainly your chess pedigree and accomplishments well exceed mine in leaps and bounds.

at the same time, i read and i read and i read, and respectfully now must ask, as i do many:

do you have a plan? if so, can you share it here?

i hear a lot of distraction. of course, many can say the same of me, but you are the subject here, no pun intended.

if you have a plan, are you using it?

i am eager to hear about the other parts of you chess, not just results and tournements, and your work with new chess players but about YOU to YOU. intra self communication polly.

warmest, dk
ps i did this to chess vision or chess trainer, to chessLoser, to chess relearner, but now you.... ??

PLEASE consider this!

Polly said...

dk: This is the part I'm wrestling with right now. What to do for myself chess wise beyond simply playing. I have a good library of chess books. I have a lot of good computer based materials. The question is how do I use them in the most efficient manner?

I read some of the other chess improvement bloggers who are far lower rated then me, and have been playing a lot fewer years then me. Many of them write about studying GM games for an hour, another hour on tactics or playing online. Another hour on openings, or end games. I think to myself 3 hours a day on chess? I don't think I've ever studied 3 hours a day.

I think if I could just get myself to work on one part of chess an hour a day that would be significant for me. I admit it. I don't have a plan right now. That's typical of how I function in all parts of my life. I have a tendancy to do things on the fly.

DISTRACTION! Yes you have nailed it. I jump from thing to thing. There are times where it's difficult for me to finish a post on my blog because as I look for one piece of information I get side tracked by something else that is there. So if I'm looking up what my record is against a certain person, I may get side tracked by other results on that spreadsheet which then may send me scurrying off to look at the USCF website to check on the tournament in question. Looking at that tournament then might get me curious about how a certain player has done since then. 45 minutes later I might get back to the original piece of data and incorporate it into the post.

transformation said...

Polly, could you please email directly at my secure account?

dk_experiment at ya who? dott kom, usually spelling.

a leading blogger who is now a very close friend sent me an annotated game, and asked me to forward it to you, thinking i had your email (its true, i have most of the contacts, but not yours).

from there, i can forward through my actually and not screen or filter account.

@you above. good comment, great comment. very honest, and as expected from you very honest, no games either.

warmest, david k

likesforests said...

"I don't think I've ever studied 3 hours a day."

Some of us have to make up for a lack of talent with lots of practice. ;)

"I think if I could just get myself to work on one part of chess an hour a day that would be significant for me."

It would be very interesting to see what would happen!

Wahrheit said...

dk has a wonderful way of gently prodding where prodding would do dome good--I know! :)

Polly said...

Like: I'm not a natural at this. There were a number of years where I did some serious work to get to 1900. Unfortunately since my peak I have regressed. It's unclear to me whether I was over rated when I was 1800-1900, or players are under rated now. I know I don't play as well as I did back in the 80s and 90s. If I had no floor my rating would have dropped to under 1500 last year.

Wahr: I don't need gentle prodding. I need a major kick in the @$$. Subtle hints don't work with me.