Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Mateness!!

March came in like a lion with snow on March 1st. Though in my case it came in like a bear. Starting a month 0-4 is a bear. Fortunately it's going out like a lamb. It was in the 50s today, and in my last tournament of the month I scored 1.5 - 1.5 and picked up 17 rating points. It was a funny month. I played 32 games, and 5 of them ended in checkmate. Usually games played in open tournaments end before checkmate. Two checkmates that I executed were in games where a couple of stubborn opponents decided to play it out to checkmate despite being down a lot of material. One of the players was not a kid!

In the other checkmate games material was close to being even. None of the games were resignable when they came to their abrupt end. However the clock played a critical role in each of the games

Mate #1 Outsmarted by Mr. Smart

In February I had played this kid on a Thursday night. He was the kid who kept offering me a draw with a lot of material on the board. It never fails that when I give a kid a lecture about offering early draws to higher rated opponents that I end out having to play the kid again with a much different result. (Yes Dario and Giancarlo I'm talking about you guys!) Here it was three weeks later I'm playing Black again against this same kid. Once again he played the Grand Prix against my Sicilian. Unlike the last game, he didn't allow me to force the early queen trade. Instead of playing the queen to h4, he pushed g4 and then put his queen on g3. He got a very good attack going, but I defended well. We both had less then a minute when we reached this position.

He just played 36. Qe2. It's too bad I don't have that little arrow showing when I'm playing. Perhaps then I wouldn't make such moves like 36...Rf8?? I had 26 seconds left. Just maybe if I had used a few of those 26 seconds I would have found 36...Qd7. Fritz rates the position even after Qd7. Then if he offered a draw, I would take it. After I beat back the attack with 35...Rh8, I considered offering a draw. I think after our last game, I didn't want to offer the draw. He did not need any of his remaining 34 seconds to find 37. Qe6#

Here's the entire game.


Time Pressure Meltdown Mates #2 & #3

On Sunday I travelled out to Westfield, New Jersey to play in the Westfield Quads. My last visit there resulted in a Wacky Wednesday post where I actually was the recipient of an early gift. Two of my three opponents this weekend were in my quad last month too. There were no early gifts to be had this weekend. Instead almost every game was decided in the last few seconds of play.

In round 1 I reached this position after 48. Ne8.

Black is down a pawn, but with correct play might be able to hold a draw. Though after 48...Kg5 49. Rg7+ Kh4 50. Nxf6 Kxh3 Black has her hands full. However playing this line entails having the time to find it. Unfortunately I was Black, and I had been playing the last few moves with only 1 second left on my clock. I had just been making moves in order not to run out of time. My opponent had 25 seconds, so anything could happen. I had given a whole series of checks chasing his king to b7. Then I moved the rook from a7 to a1 to escape his king's attack on my rook. After he played 48. Ne8 I was not thinking about mate threats. I was concerned about his attacking my weak f pawn with the knight, followed by the rook coming to d6. I decided to defend the pawn with 48...Bh4??, overlooking 49. Rg7# A quasi-epaulet mate with pawns instead of rooks.

In round two I'm paired against Rodrigo Vinluan again. I played him in the second round the last time I was there. He was the one who made the exchange sacrifice where I ran out of time trying to figure out if I could accept it or not. In this game I was looking to get revenge. I actually won an exchange after losing a pawn early. Unfortunately like our last game I got way behind on the clock. He got a nasty attack, and was on the verge of winning back the exchange when we reached this position. Once again I only have 1 second left. Black just played 41...Bd5. This stops me from getting any perpetual check tries after 41...Nxd2 42. Qxd2 Qxa3 43. Qd8+ Kg7 44. Qf6+.

After having my one plan stuffed with his bishop move, I panicked here and played the horrendous move 42. Qg4?? Not only do I outright hang the rook, I hang it with mate. 42...Qxd2#. My best try here is 42. Qd3 but it's still going to be very difficult after 42...Qxe5 43. Rc2 Nxg3+ 44. Be2 Nf5.


likesforests said...

Look on the bright side. You're off the floor again, on the way back to 1900!

chesstiger said...

I guess you mean Qg4 instead of Qf4 in that last example?

We all alowed such one move mates either by playing to fast (in my case) or playing to slow which gives you time presure (in your case).

So maybe it's best you work on your time usage. Do you write down the time you still have after each move? Maybe time to do so so that you can find out what makes you lose so much time during the game.

Polly said...

Like: Let's not get carried away here. I'd like to just sustain an mid 1700 rating for awhile without doing my usual crash and burn back to my floor.

Tiger. Yes I meant Qg4. Typo has been fixed. I used to track my time every 5 moves, and sometimes more if a sequence of moves took an unsual amount of time. Since I use a Mon Roi to keep score, I would have to write times down on a piece of paper. The unit has a time log in it, but it's based on when a move is inputted. Often I forget to put my opponent's move in right away so the time showing is reflected as my opponent's time. I may have to make some time notes to see where I'm losing the time.

Anonymous said...

Polly: First off, do you happen to have Jeffrey hall's email address? I need to contact him about something, and I don't know how to reach him.

Two: make a serious effort to get your opponents' moves into your Monroi. Get them in as soon as the move is played, then focus on the position. It's very important to keep track of your time EVERY move. It helps you understand which positions you're having trouble with. One of my weaknesses right now is that I take too much time in the opening. I'm trying to fix this and make the opening a strength. A rule of thumb to follow is Botvinnik's Rule, which says make your first 15 moves in the first 20% of your time. Be even more conservative in fast games.

Three: I bought Schmidt's book. Interesting notes, and I plan to read it at some point soon.

Howard Goldowsky.

PS: If you have Hall's email, please send it to w_rox-at-yahoo.com. Thanks.

Polly said...

Howard: Nice to see you're amongst the living. :-) Always enjoy your insightful comments on my blogs and others. I don't recall getting Jeffrey's email last August. Maybe the organizer of the tournament has it.

Rolling Pawns said...

I got mated yesterday in online blitz game by 200 lower rated opponent with him/her having 0.1 sec left, it was 1 move mate, like you described. Seriously, I agree with chesstiger about working on the time usage. Let them play with 1 minute remaining, but don't get there yourself. What was the time control? Try to leave at least 30 minutes for the endgame. About a year ago I had two 200+ higher rated opponents offering me a draw in ~equal position when they had 5 minutes remaining (I had a few minutes more). They knew that they can screw up the ending in such situation.

Anonymous said...

The game vs. Smart sounds like it was a Thursday night special at the Marshall CC, which is G/30. That time control is way too fast for my taste and only a notch or 2 above blitz in my book. There's no time to really thinking thru complex variations (like a Yugoslav Dragon or Najdorf where you need 10 minutes just to figure out that what you calculated doesn't work because of some sharp (or basic!) response you overlooked originally). G/90 is about right, slower is better and G/60, while still too fast, is somewhat doable. G/30 is a slower version of blitz IMHO.

Polly said...

Rolling: I've won games with very little time on my clock. I've tried to get trough the first 20 moves using less then half the time (G/30) but sometimes stuff happens that takes time to work out.

Anon: Yes that was the "4 rated games tonight!" event at the Marshall. I have a love/hate relationship with the event. I love the competition I get, but the time limit is a pain. I like G/90. It's long enough to be able to think, but short enough not to put me to sleep in the first 20 moves.