Monday, September 21, 2009

Leaving the Dark Side....

...of "cracktion". Or I should say trying to. After my success in the slow rounds at the New York State Championships, I decided I try to play more slow chess, and cut back on the game/30. I'm playing in the one game a week tournament at the Marshall instead of "4 Cracktion Games Tonight!" Oops I mean 4 Rated Games Tonight!" Fortunately the Westchester Chess Club where I play on Wednesdays does mostly Game/75 tournaments with one game a week.

We have a new slow tournament on Wednesday that started right after Labor Day. 10 players registered so we split it into a quad and a six player Swiss. Luck would have it that I would be number four, and end out at the bottom of the quad. I have my work cut out for me. In a four player round robin number one has white against number four in the first round. My first round opponent is a new member of our club, so I had never played him before, and wasn't familiar with how he played. All I knew was that with my opponent having a rating of 1976, I was going to have use my time wisely.

One of the hardest adjustments I'm having to make, is to not be lazy with my analysis. When I'm playing game/30, I tend to go through the analysis quickly, and at times the depth of analysis is rather superficial. If I'm way behind on the clock, it may be I'm simply looking for a move that is safe, or not a blunder. Sometimes safe moves aren't the best moves, and I overlook a move that is clearly winning. Here is an example from round two of last Monday's "cracktion" tournament in White Plains. I was planning just to direct and not play. However just as I'm getting ready to make the pairings another player shows up making the number odd. I played so there would not be an odd number. (Tonight the number is even so I did not have to play. Instead I'm working on this post while the tournament is going on.)

My opponent had just played 48...Rg1? I had only 2 seconds left on my clock. I made the very safe move of 49. Bd5. It doesn't hang anything, and protects my bishop, but I totally overlooked 49. Rxd4 cxd4 50. Kxg1. Unfortunately my opponent noticed his mistake, and played 49...Re1. The game continued 50. Rg2 Be5. I lost on time. I couldn't come up with a reasonable defense to threat of h4. It's games like those, that make me want to swear off "cracktion".

So how did my first round go in the Wednesday quad? I was holding my own in a wild Trompowsky where White sac'ed a pawn for play. However despite using almost 5 minutes on one move in particular, the move was horrendous and just loses a rook that I can't even get the exchange for. Check is not always the best way to counter a threat. I had played 14...Qa5+, expecting him to interpose with either his knight or queen. I did not expect 15. b4. It's a pretty obvious move, but I was too focused on trying to get him to move his knight back. Playing 15. e5 or 15. Nxd5 would have eliminated the threats on the c7 square.

Several days later I received a very nice email from him. He had attached a pgn file with his his analysis of the game. He has stronger engines then me, and he provided a lot of analysis. What follows is his analysis aided by Shredder and Fritz.

Souvik R vs Polly W.pgn

Stay tuned for more on my transition to slow chess.


chesstiger said...

Playing against stronger players and afterwards analysing the games with them must help your game since stronger players tend to point you where you went wrong. So that part of the game is covered now only cleaning up your thoughtproces and who knows, maybe you can raise your ratingfloor once all falls into place.

Polly said...

It's great when higher rated players take the time to analyze with me after the game. Some can't be bothered which will be the subject of my next post.

Liquid Egg Product said...

On FICS, G/30 is slow chess. (Making it 25/5 helps it look palatable.)

Polly said...

LEP: That's why I don't play much online chess. Most everyone wants to play blitz. I suck at blitz, besides blitz is more fun in person. Increment helps, but the cracktion tournaments I play in are delay so you can't build up extra time.

Souvik Roychoudhury said...

This was my first entry to your blog. Good to see you mentioned our game. The evaluation was unclear till your blunder. You played very well otherwise. As I said the other day, most of the players in WCC is underrated - you all play real strong. One quick note - the pawn sac variation I played against you - I found is scoring 53% (Ref Pallisar's book on Tromp). I won't say its unsound anymore! All the best for your 50 state vision.

Polly said...

Thanks Souvik. It was an interesting game until I blundered. I really appreciated the annotations, and wanted to share them with my readers. I probably won't try that line again.