Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Plunging Back Into The Chess Waters

Vacation is officially over! I plunged right back into the multiple aspects of my chess life.

Wednesday and Thursday I played my first tournament games in over three weeks. Thursday I taught my first chess class of the new school year. Friday and Saturday I inputted entries for my first scholastic tournament of the new school year, and on Sunday I directed the tournament with 190 kids. Last night I had 16 players for our Monday night tournament that I ran with no computer or pairing cards! (That is harder then it looks, especially with 3 upsets in the first round!) I have one question: When is the next plane outta here? (November 28th, Destination Seattle.)

Some people find that a three week break from tournament chess leaves them refreshed and full of renewed energy when they return. I am not one of those people. Rust sets in. This game from Wednesday night proves it. My opponent in this game doesn't play very many tournaments, and he only plays at our club. Even though I out rate him by almost 600 points he always plays me tough. This was only our third game. Up to this point I had a win and a draw. John's biggest is problem is time management. He finds the right moves, but it takes him a long time. He's very cautious in his analysis, and wants to make sure it's right before committing to a move. I think if he could find things quicker, trust his instincts, and played more often his rating would be more like 1400-1500.


I had gotten a big edge on the clock, but gave a big chunk of it back after I blundered. At the end I had a 10 minute edge, he had 8 minutes to my 18. I felt it was too much time to for him to blow it at this point. This game occurred before the one that I discussed in my cheap draw post, so I couldn't even take encouragement that all was not lost if I played on.

Based on the comments I got on that post, I'm sure most of you think I should have played this game out. If the 1/2 point was terribly important to me, perhaps I would have played it out and make him prove that he could win that ending. The 1/2 point didn't matter, and as far I was concerned he deserve to win. Thinking back on the evening I'm sure deep down inside I was punishing myself for my terrible play and felt I deserved to lose. The possibility of slithering away with a cheap draw would have taken away the loss I felt I deserved. I wasn't actually thinking that consciously when I resigned, but I'm sure the inner critic was. Perhaps my reaction to the cheap draw was based on the idea that the 1700 played terribly and also deserved to lose. Then again maybe I'm reading too much into all of this.

So it wasn't exactly how I wanted to return to the chess world, but things started looking up by Thursday. To be continued.....


chesstiger said...

If i am not mistaken your opponent played the very decent and solid Colle-Zukertort opening. It's an opening, if you know it well, you have good drawing chances with or if the opponent doesn't play good moves aswell even winning chances like you found out in your game.

It seems you take alott on your fork when being in chess land. I was already tired after reading how much tournaments you are running for youth and adults. I hope you can follow the pace mentally aswell as physically.

Polly said...

I've faced the Colle many times, and I find it very hard to attack. It's very solid for White. He erred in the one part where I got the exchange, but that edge didn't last very long.

Often friends of mine who aren't chess players envy the fact that I do work that is tied into my hobby, but they don't realize how draining that can be. Often the line between work and hobby becomes blurred and it's hard to seperate the two.

Physically I don't have a problem since I have an endurance sports background. Running or walking 26 miles or cycling 100 miles keeps me physically fit. However sometimes it's mentally draining.

tanc (happyhippo) said...

polly: as with all things in life, it takes a while to get into gear. i'm sure in no time, you'll be up and running.

as for separating work and hobby, that's a real toughie and i can't offer you much of an advice. perhaps scheduling some time out for yourself (call it 'your time') or something where you can do your own things (not necessarily chess related matters)? will that help?

James Stripes said...

It's probably worth looking anew at your move 14, as this move created the weakness that led to the crisis that provoked the blunder.

I wouldn't play this one out because if I have White against Kramnik, I trade my rook for the b-pawn, then convert the extra kingside pawn into a queen. The win is clear, simple, and straightforward. It was time to resign.

Just to prove the merits of my strategy, I set up the position in Hiarcs 12 and played it out. Sixteen moves and twenty seconds later the engine was in checkmate.

likesforests said...

26...Bh8 seems like a wasted tempo. You could have played your ...Rxe6 dxe6 Qxe6 idea right away.

29.f5 gxf5! and if 30.Rxf5 you have mate and if 30.Qxf5 you get to trade queens w/ an extra outside passer.

32...Qe7??, 36...Kxd6?? - The 2nd mistake was probably psychological? He didn't give you any chances to get back into the game after that.

Polly said...

James: f6 wasn't a very good move, though I don't think it was the beginning of the end for me. The knight on e6 was a pain in the butt though giving the exchange back and picking up a pawn should have been good for me. As Like points out the mistakes came later.

Like: I had considered playing 26...Rxe6 instead of Bh8. I missed that he was going to trap my rook with Bc1, but in terms of tempi it's probably a wash because White had to play Bc1 in order to force me into Rxe6. We'd have the same material situation, but both dark squared bishops would be on the squares they originally moved to.

I had considered gxf, but I didn't like the isolated f & h pawns that will result from the capture. I wanted to keep my pawn structure intact.

Black doesn't have to recapture and allow the queen trade. He gets the pawn back within a few moves without the queen trade. 30 Ne2 Nc6 31. Nf4 Qe7 32. Nd5 Qf7 33. Qxf5

32...Qe7?? I was focusing on driving the knight out of the center and just simply had missed the check.

36...Kxd6 was indeed psychological. When he initially played Qc4+ I was upset knowing that I had to give up the exchange. Then I saw that after 35. Nd6+ Ke7 he doesn't have to play Nxe8 right away. I saw Re1+ and I'm thinking "Oh crap I lose a full rook." I didn't see the knight interposition during the initial analysis so I thought to myself, "Maybe he won't see Re1+ and will play Nxe8 because it looks natural." (Hope chess!) When he played Re1+ I'm thinking "Damn it! (Actually I was thinking something much stronger then damn. :-Þ~) He found the right move. I played Kxd6 almost right away without considering whether or not there was a solution to Re1.

Once I'm down a rook in an ending there isn't really a way to get back into the game.

Ronni Gordon said...

Hi Polly,
I was going to comment on your other blog but I see it hasn't been updated so I wandered over to the chess blog and have to first admit that it is all WAAAY over my head, but good for you for being able to master such a complicated game. You commented on my blog, "Running for My Life: Fighting Cancer One Step at a Time," when I first started it. I was just re-reading old posts and thought I'd stop by to tell you that I've been walking a lot and playing tennis but haven't gotten back to running due to setbacks explained on the blog. I'm going to start writing again about staging what is now my eighth or ninth comeback effort, what another running friend calls a "back to zero" effort. Ran a mile the other day. Whew. It's hard to get back!

Polly said...

Ronnie. I'm glad to see you're making another come back. I too am going to try to get back to running. I've been walking mostly. I did Nike Women's 1/2 marathon for TNT. That's how I know Eve. You go girl!

BlunderProne said...

My teaching gig is about over. I should be coming back in full force starting in a couple weeks.

Welcome back.

Polly said...

BP: Sweet! Look forward to updates!