Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wacky Wednesday!

After spending the weekend in Nashville watching kids do crazy things, I got back to my normal routine of playing "Cracktion" chess and dealing with insane positions with no time left on my clock. I probably should have reread my post Kidz Night to remind myself to stay away. Once again with the NYC schools on vacation there were lots of kids playing. After losing to a master in round one I got paired down against a kid in round two. We reached this position with two seconds left on my clock.

He just pushed e7. I'm looking at this move, and thinking to myself "Oh crap my knight is out of place. I can't stop e8. If I take on e7, I'm down a full rook. My passed pawns aren't going anywhere. If I check, I still can't get the knight back in time....I'm busted."

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 00:02, 00:01, ...Nxe7, 00:00

"Always check, it might be mate."

Damn, I hate this game sometimes. The night was not a total washout. In the next round I managed to draw with a higher rated player. It was surprising going into round three 0-2 and getting paired up. However that sort of stuff happens when the other 1/2 pointers are unrated. Unrateds don't get dropped down a score group unless they're the only ones left. The unrateds played each other and I got the 1890 who also had a 1/2 point.

The two unrateds were playing next me. At the time I had no idea both of them were playing in their first tournament. It was a very strange game. At first I thought one player was deliberately dumping the game, because he had mate on the move by capturing with his rook. Instead he captured with his knight, and then a few moves later sac'ed his queen. He ended out losing.

In the last round I got to play this guy. I would get to see for myself if he was dumping games to get a low rating. It was a crazy game where he attacked like a maniac. Towards the end he got up went to the bathroom on his own time. I thought that was a little weird. Was he going into the bathroom to check with Pocket Fritz to see what to play next? If he did, then his Pocket Fritz has a virus. When he came back he played probably the worst move on the board. I call these moves "Bathroom Blunders". I made one of those moves in Saratoga Springs this year. They happen when you don't take enough time to recheck what is happening in the game upon returning to the board.

Here's the game.


It actually had taken me awhile to find Qg8+. I had considered taking the pawn on b7, but saw that I'd lose a piece. I guess I had not been think about getting a check on the 8th rank because his rook had covered until that last move. My opponent told me afterwards that he saw the check almost immediately after he made the move. He was just waiting to see if I spotted it.


chesstiger said...

Geeze,i still cant believe you didn't see Nf4 mate in that diagram. If low in time give checks then you know for sure which move your opp will play.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the game, its a classic case of "never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence..." :-)

No sandbagger here, just a 1300

Polly said...

Tiger: Easy to say when you're on the outside looking in. The kibitzer doesn't have the emotional baggage of playing out a game down the exchange for almost 50 moves. After awhile one is numb to the possibility that there is a win in a "lost position". There is also the time issue that an cloud one's ability to think logically.

The problem was I just outright missed that the knight is not only giving check on h3, but covering g2 at the same time. I saw the check, but said to myself he goes to g2, I have no more checks, and I still can't get to a square to prevent e8/Q.

That was one of those resignations by clock where one plays the losing move as time runs out. When the game was over a kibitzer said "Why didn't you play Nf4?" I said "Because I have no more checks after that and I still can't stop the pawn from queening." At that point the kibitzer said "It's mate." Both my opponent and I missed that.

Anon: LOL Excellent point. I was referring to my game against the unrated player as possible dump. It was previous round game between the two unrateds. They were not little kids, they were adults so at first it seemed fishy. But my game against the one player just confirmed a lack of experience.

wang said...

I loves me the Wacky Wednesdays! Like you said it wasn't a total loss. I think I'm going to be up in NY in October, do you have any idea of when the Cracktion days will be? I would love to play in some rated games at the MCC.

Polly said...

Wang: Every Thursday there is "Four Rated Games Tonight!" 4 rounds of game/30. Usually once a month there is a 5 round g/30 on a Saturday, and on another weekend a g/30 on Sunday. The Thursday night "cracktion" is run by the Chess Center of NY. They also run the Saturday G/30. The Sunday G/30 is run by the Marshall. I believe the club Championship or the qualifier is held in October, so there may not be as many one day events in October. It's tough competition.

On Easter Sunday I attended church near the club, and then played in the Sunday Action. Despite the fact that most of the strong players were at Foxwoods, there were 16 players. At 1700 I was ranked 15th. Most everyone was rated between 1850 and 2300.

phishcake5 said...

Could you please splain me origins of the phrase "cracktion chess." Checked the link but it only made me more curious :)

Nice blog btw. Its funny, I was reading some of your back issues a few weeks ago and noticed the games had gone missing back there...I thought of saying something but figured you was awares. Its a bummer, those pgn thingies must be time consuming to load up. Hope you find a easy solution for getting them back. I really like the little MonRoi game players as seen here for example but don't think they are available to the general public as I've not seen em in use on any of the blogs.

Polly said...

Phish: I coined the term "cracktion" in describing action chess, because it's very addicting like crack. I will have look back and find the first post where I called it "cracktion".

The Mon Roi is available for sale. It saves the games in pgn format. Then you can copy the pgn file onto an SD card and read it in Chess Base. I own one, and even though it's expensive, it's a big time saver when it comes to analyzing games with Fritz.

I have all the pgn files for the games that have gone awol. I just need to go back and edit the posts and upload the files into Chess Flash which is the pgn viewer I use now.

Rolling Pawns said...

Polly, these finals are getting notorious :). Please, start to control better your time. I found in one of your previous posts: "I've tried to get through the first 20 moves using less then half the time (G/30) but sometimes stuff happens that takes time to work out." Botvinnik rule says - 20% of the time for the first 15 moves, meaning 6/15, not 15/20, i.e. 24 seconds per move, not 45. Half of the time for most of the middlegame and whole endgame is just not enough and even super-GMs blunder when they have a few seconds left.

Polly said...

RP: When I ran out of time we had played around 70 moves. The organizer has players deduct 5 minutes for the delay, so the time control becomes G/25 5 second delay. In reality I probably averaged about 12 seconds a move. 17 if you factor in the delay. It would be nice if I could still have 10 minutes left when I get into these crazy endings, but when I've already played 40 moves that's a lot of time to have left. There's the fine balance between playing too fast and not fast enough.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Polly: your response to chesstiger is exactly right.

I often get very frustrated because I see things in others' games so easily but then when it's me playing my rating seems to drop 200 points. WTF!!!

Polly said...

BDK: We're all master strength at kibitzing. Funny how we can't the same stuff in our own games.

chesstiger said...

I agree that one plays better if one is a kibitzer but doesn't that mean that one has found a working point namely how to stay relaxed when playing an official game of chess?

Oke, nerves will always be there. But being to nervous means that one is to much focussed on the result of the game instead of having fun.

When having fun one is relaxed and try to play at his or her best while not thinking about the outcome of the game.

Polly said...

Tiger: I disagree with the idea that being nervous is because one is too focused on the result, and not enjoying the game. Tournament chess is not "fun" chess. There is something on the line. We can have fun at a tournament, but while playing our energy is on trying to achieve the best outcome possible. The best outcome in a given situation might not necessarily be winning. It might be hold a draw, or making the opponent work his butt off to beat you.

There is a certain amount of nervous energy that comes out as one is trying to work out the complexities of a given position. If you recall I wrote a piece about brain chemistry and how stress hormones put one into an over drive mode to deal with the given situation. My question was does time pressure or other tough situations in a chess game cause the same sort of chemical reactions?

I believe these situations do cause similar chemical reactions. Winning or losing a chess game is not a matter of life and death, but our brain doesn't know that as we go into deep thought over how to extract ourselves from the mess we face on the board.

Some people survive a catastrophe because of how they respond to chemical stimuli, and the decisions they make. Another person of equal intelligence in that same situation may not survive because he over reacted and made poor decisions.

A person observing a life threatening situation from the outside might be able to say "If the person does X he'll survive." But if that same person was in that situation himself would he come up with X, or would he end out doing Y because the stress induced hormones caused him to react differently.

Learning issues such as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD are a function of brain chemistry. I often wonder these type of brain chemistry anomalies impact how one's stress hormones kick in, and how someone reacts to those hormonal changes.