Friday, October 16, 2009

Chess Blind as a Bat!

Week two of FIDE Thursdays at the Marshall I get paired against the dad of kids that used to play in my scholastic tournaments when they were in elementary school. Now those kids are in college. That makes me feel old. Either that or maybe I've been doing all of this for way too long!

This was a game that was mine for the taking, but I just wasn't seeing everything. The opening started as an English but transposed into a Maroczy Bind. Being an Accelerated Dragon player I'm used to seeing it from the Black side. I've had some success transposing into the White side of it from a symmetrical English. One way Black can play against the Maroczy is to play 7...Ng4 attacking White's bishop on e3. I don't play the line, but players have played it against me when I've had White. My opponent played 9...Ng4 which was a blunder. However I missed the simple win of a piece because I was analyzing a different move order. After 10. Bxg4 Bxg4 we reach this position.

I could have simply played 11. Nxc6 Bxd1 12. Nxd8 and I'm up a piece. I wasn't looking at that line. I was looking at 11. Qxg4 Nxd4. I decided to play 11. f3? My opponent wasn't through with trying to give me gifts. He spent 7 minutes on his next move, Instead of retreating his bishop he plays 11...Qb6? 12. Nd5 Qc5?? We reach the position below.

I spent a long time on this next move. Sometimes it's very easy to get fixated on a certain idea, but be blind to what other pieces are doing. I wanted to utilize a discovered attack on the queen, but I kept thinking that my bishop on e3 is not protected. I looked at 13. Nxc6 and if 13...Qxc6 14. Nxe7+ forking the king and queen. I think my problem was that I got ahead of myself in the analysis and saw my knight no longer guarding the bishop. I was forgetting that my knight on d6 isn't going anywhere until he responds to the threat of Bxc5. So to guard my bishop I played the discovered attack move of 13. Nf5. It wins material, but not as much as 13. Nxc6.

Here's the game in its entirety with the analysis of how it might go after 13. Nxc6.


I played too cautiously after winning material. I could have picked up another pawn or two and forced some more trades. Instead I took the wrong approach to trading down and my opponent found ways to avoid trades and hold on to his pawns. Then 3 hours into the game I had one of those total lapses in concentration and allowed him to get the exchange back. I wanted to just kick myself at that point. 7 moves later we agree to a draw. It's that point that he tells me that would have resigned if I played 13. Nxf6. In fact he admitted that he was contemplating resigning when I played 12. Nd5, figuring I saw 13. Nxc6, but he waited to see what I would play. Sigh. I hate when that happens, especially since I saw the move!


chesstiger said...

I guess your fault is to overanalyse the position, wanting to calculate to deep if your visualisation isn't good enough is totally not done.

You saw the move-order but forgot to check the entire position after 1. Nxc6 instead you went directly on to want to check the position after a couple of moves. That's ok if you know where the pieces stand after such variation.

So next time just imagion you play 1. Nxc6 and visualise that one move, check everything, even if the bishop on e3 is defended or not!

If you have that position in mind it propably gets easier to see the follow up 1. Nxc6 Qxc6 2. Ne7+ .

Withother words, walk before you try to run. It's no shame, i too still have to walk in visualisation of position when analysing.

Polly said...

That makes sense to simply look at the first move, and examine the position with just the one piece having moved. Then there are less variables to deal with.

LinuxGuy said...

You need to get your tactics/tactical calculation down. If I am not tired, I should be able to win that as a blitz game, playing both those two moves right.

Good time to get a book on easy tactics and just review as many as possible to get that quick calculation back, as the only other way is to play a lot of games online, but that's best done after studying tactics for a period, anyway.

My impression is that you are playing this game "to the beat", the same rythmic pace. Early in the game, you could slow it down to calculate the piece win, doesn't matter if it takes 10-15 minutes to calculate that. That's fine, and next time it will be much quicker, but the worst thing is to play at a steady drum-beat when there is actually a clinching move at hand.

You played Nxe7+ and soon won an exchange, excellent, winning again. I would have been tempted to play NxB...Bd7, then Bh6, which also seems to have strong possibilities - could then trade f and h-pawns, perhaps.

[27. Qf4 Kg7 ]
This looks like it wins a pawn.

In a blitz game, I would probably play 27. e5 within about 5 seconds, but it doesn't work because of ...d5, then exf ...Qf7 and...d4. But at a slow game, I "should" see this and end up playing Qf4. 27. f4, I would not want to play such a slow, ponderous, strategic move, would look to lock it up tactically somehow first.

I guess before you lost the exchange, you meant to play Qf2, but he has ...Re6. That pawn advance on the light-squares seemed cumbersome, although you pulled it off as well as that was going to go, strategically.

I'm guessing you spent a lot of that time later in the game with a few ponderous moves, and the burden of knowing that you are supposed to win somehow.

You are that close to simply winning the game outright.

LinuxGuy said...

The way to see that first combination was Nxc6 "Ah! I'm winning the knight - as long as I'm the one that ends up capturing or retreating my piece last!"

The way not to see that combination is "Uh, oh, my queen, rook (insert favored piece here) is in trouble!"

LinuxGuy said...

The "Blind as a bat" thing is interesting phrase. I actually start out the same way. Last time I played at a tournament, I did not notice that I had left a piece en-prise until 4 minutes later, and it was really obvious.

When I played over this game, first thing I did was naturally consider the inferior moves first, same ones you looked at saw. I didn't even notice BxN on g4 was possible for about a minute and a half, but after that noticed things quickly.

My point is that it's not what you see at first, it's what you end up playing. Try finding more candidate moves rapidly, instead of simply calculating one line.

Speaking of "undefended", that is what tactics training mostly emphasizes, how checks on the king overrule what is defended or not.

Habits tend to lead to consistent results. My habits on-line are poorer than OTB, so that on-line rating never goes anywhere.

Liquid Egg Product said...

One of Obi Wan's training exercises comes to mind...

Anonymous said...

Nice analysis of the game, even if you didn't see those during. I don't think I would have found those moves either time.

Mrs. Chessloser