Sunday, June 22, 2008

Riding the Chess Roller Coaster

Sometimes a chess game is like a wild roller coaster ride where you keep going and going until the ride operator says "time's up, gotta get off now." Truth be told, I hate roller coasters. They scare the crap out of me. I hate the steep drops and the sharp turns. Forget about the ones that turn you upside down. There is not enough money in the world to get me on one of those suckers. Closing my eyes doesn't help either, because I've already seen the monster at work. The only one I really like is "Space Mountain" at Disney World. Maybe it's because I can't see what's coming in the dark.

There are times during a game where I feel like I'm going to lose. Either my position sucks so bad that it's inevitable that it's going to collapse, or I'm down material of some sort. Also if I have a history against the player in question that also plays a part in what's running through my mind. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with my win-loss record against the player. It may just be remembering situations from past games. They say that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes in chess it's better to forget history so we don't repeat it.

In this game it would have been better if I had not remembered all the times that my opponent has executed correctly with less then 5 seconds on his clock. Just maybe not thinking about that would have helped me get off the "I'm going to lose" rollercoaster before it was too late. John and I have played 14 times up to this point. My record is 1 win, 1 draw, 12 losses. He's a master, and for the most part I've had pretty close games with him. Many games have come down to winning a pawn, and then executing the end game correctly. So when I dropped a pawn against him, and it appeared I'd lose another one I thought to myself "Here we go again."

He had a number of moves that make it easy to convert the ending, but in his time pressure he didn't come up with the killer moves. My problem was I thought there was still a win for him, and I just kept playing on instead of offereing a draw that with 2 seconds left on his clock, he probably would have taken. Despite my time edge, it wasn't like I was playing to run him out of time. I was just trying to hold on for dear life, and somewhere I lost focus on my time and the fact that the position was now a dead draw. As several spectators observed, the game had been drawn for at least the last 20 moves. But no, I got too wrapped up in the rollcoaster ride, and couldn't stop in time.


Anonymous said...

Dont worry... I flag all the time in dead drawn positions.

But yeah you played extremely well and that position was dead drawn. If you offered a draw I guarentee he would have taken. :) Were you using a time dealy clock?

Anonymous said...

Are you playing in the World Open?

Polly said...

I won't play without a delay clock unless I'm late for the game and my opponent has put a non delay clock on the game. I've only had that happen a couple of times.

Using a delay clock doesn't guarantee that things like overstepping in drawn position won't occur. However if one has their wits about them it's less likely to occur. I just lost track of the time because I had such a big time adavantage for most of the game.

Even though I can stop notating once a player is under 5 minutes, I tend to continue keeping score until I can no longer do it on my opponent's time. I like having as much of the game recorded as possible. It's really annoying to see the position where I stopped keeping score, and have it look nothing like the final position. Often I'll scratch my head, and ask myself "What happened that I ended out losing this game?"

With the Mon Roi I can usually get the move inputted in a second or two, so I almost never end out using actual time to record. However if I make an input error and then take the time to try to fix it, I can lose time. That's the point I just have to push the thing to the side, and focus on the game. I did that too late in this particular game.

No I will not be at the World Open. I will be on the other side of the world in Korea.