Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Terrible Tuesday! The Photo Edition

Better late then never, but today I'm finally posting the totally bizarre game I played in the last round of Four Rated Games Tonight! It's worthy of Wacky Wednesday status, but given the psychological havoc of the game I decided it deserved its own designation, hence Terrible Tuesday. As an added bonus you get to see some of the fun animals I saw in California last week. If you don't want to look at the pictures scroll down. If you have better captions you can add them to the comments.

"ZZZZZZZZ Maybe I should have taken a bye for round four."

"I have a bone to pick with you."

" No, you will not be the next King Kong."

"Stop yapping to me about how lousy you played."

I can't even begin to understand what happened to me in round four that night. Starting out the evening 0-3 can be rough on the psyche, but I've managed to bounce back and win the last round before. It seemed like I should have been able to do it again. I had gotten paired down against a 1600 who was having an equally rough evening. It looked like his evening was going to get even rougher when he dropped a knight on move 11. That was until a little over confidence on my part combined with a serious brain fart starting on move 13. Maybe finger fart would be the correct term since I let go of the queen a little too quickly.

I had been considering 13. Qf3 and 13. Qe2. I had decided the knight on c3 was defended enough and that it was more important not to allow his rook to come to my second rank with 13...Rxb2. However when I picked up the queen I stopped at f3 instead of e2 and let go of her. That's not the losing move, but the psychological impact was tremendous. I started seeing things that weren't there, and not seeing what was there. I knew at any point he could play Bxc3+ and pick up the pawn on a2 with either the rook or the queen. The prospect of his picking up a second pawn and having two of his major pieces in my territory was causing me utter panic. Winning the second pawn doesn't help Black all that much, but I couldn't see that at the time.

I spent 6 minutes on my 14th move before deciding to break the pin with Kd1. I kept worrying about what would happen if I played Be2 and then castled. For some reason I was convinced I would lose the piece and the a2 pawn. I'm not going to lose the piece with correct play, but I couldn't look at the position objectively. Even after Kd1 I'm okay. I'm still not lost. It wasn't until I played Be2 a move later that the position went all to hell. Despite spending 4 minutes on that move, I totally missed Bg4, and all the problems that causes. Another 5 minutes was spent overlooking the mate in two after Rc2.


So what did I learn from this mess? STAY CALM! Take a deep breath after making a finger fehler move, even if it means leaving the board for a minute or two to compose myself. Trying to analyze a position when you're having a mental panic attack doesn't work. One has to get over the past and work with what is in the present position.


tanc (happyhippo) said...

hello polly,

sometimes, you get the breaks, sometimes you don't.

i'll relate to you what happen in my last game.

i was well and truly busted as Black. i was going to resign on the next move should my opponent play Rc7. However, with 3 minutes left on his clock, he picked up his Rook and plonked it on c6! Just one square short of winning the game with a forced mate in 7 to follow.

i could scarcely believe my good luck.

one square short and the complexion of the game changed dramatically. i now have a drawing chance and played Qe4, threatening a dangerous back rank check. and the only way to stop was it a rather counter intuitive move Rc4 (moving that same rook directly into the path of the queen en prise) and the Rook could not be taken else i get mated in 1.

and then he plays... g3 and in the space of 2 moves, Fritz evaluation (I was to learn later) changed from #7 to +1.4 to -2!

In short, he panicked and I converted his error to a win.

That reminds me of what Albert Einstein once told Lasker on why he never took up chess. He said,"Chess is a cruel game." You can play 30 good moves but it only takes one bad move to lose, thereby rendering all your efforts to naught.

always take your time esp. in critical moments. it is better to think for 10 minutes and play 1 good move than to waste 20 minutes later on after 1 bad move.


likesforests said...

Yowch, a painful game for both of you. A hanged knight and then a piece dropped on the same square. 15...Bg4 was a nice move. I didn't spot that one. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends on your playing style but i wouldn't have played 4. d4 . I go for the more solid position with 4. g3, 5. Bg2, 6. 0-0, 7. d3, ... .

15. ... Bg4 was indeed a nicely executed killer by your opponent. For a 1500+ player he played very decently.

But next time try to stay cool. In every game we play there will be surprises, hopefully more pleasant ones then bad. Take a stroll or go get something to drink if the surprise knocked you off your feet and you need some time to recover from that blow.

KnightFork said...

Tough loss...going 0-4. Maybe we can blame this on jet lag from your travels?

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Polly said...

Tanc: It's funny how a game can change so quickly. My opponent said afterwards that after he blundered the knight he was on the verge of resigning. I could see from his body language that he was really upset with himself. Just my luck he decided to suck it up, and play on. LOL

Like: I didn't see it either, which was my problem.

Tiger: Normally I play g3 in my English. You're right about staying cool. That's one of my weaknesses.

Knight: This was before my trip. I can't blame it on jet lag. It was just one of those nights.

Rolling Pawns said...

The first picture looks exactly like my chinchilla.
Tough experience, at least you learned something and shared it with us.

Polly said...

RP: You have a chinchilla? Actually it's a koala bear. Every single one of them was asleep. A guy from Sydney who was standing near me said that's all they do. That's what I was doing in that last round.

Rolling Pawns said...

Yes, I have chinchilla, it's a nice animal. Also sleepy sometimes, but if you let her out she runs with such a speed, that if I would play chess like that, I would be the world blitz/lightning champion.

wang said...

Auugggh! Sorry Polly, that's a real bummer. Unfortunately I know exactly how you feel. I've just dropped my last 6 tournament games in a row.

At least there's a tournament just about every week where you're at.