Sunday, February 14, 2010

USATE - A very brief update

The chess playing hordes. A small part of them.

Sometimes I just can't make heads or tails of how I'm playing. I had two good tournaments in a row both on Monday night at G/30 followed by the nice weekend in Bermuda. Chess Tiger left the following comment on my last Bermuda report: "Good luck at the UState!

Lets hope that the slump is over and that with the Bahamas a periode of wonderful results has come to the horizon. At least at your new tournament you have teammates to do all the running to the result boards and such. :-)"

Here's the short summary. Round one our team is paired down. Boards 3 & 4 win, board two loses and now I'm desperately trying to hold a draw against a kid rated 1450 on board one. I do hold the draw so we win the match.

Round two we get paired up and we lose the match 3.5 - .5. I lost to 2273 who was some what intoxicated, but could not take advantage of his impaired state so I lost.

Round three we get paired up again. I lose a painfully torturous game where my bishop finally moves off c8 on my 32. We lose that match 4-0.

Round four we're paired against a team of kids. Once again boards three and four win. Board two is losing. I'm up a pawn, but then go into chicken mode, and ghost spotting and blunder. I made one move too fast. It was annoying because I was staying pretty focused, but one move tossed the game. When given the choice of playing out a lost game or making it to dinner on time, I decided a strategic resignation was called for. Here is the game with some notes.


I will discuss some of what was going on mentally in another post. All I know is I've seen to hit another rough patch, and it's very frustrating. I'm not dealing with it very well. Two more rounds. Maybe I can recoup a bit of my wounded pride.

I have no idea what's happening on the top boards. They're playing on the other side of the ballroom from where I am. It's a bit of an effort to walk over there. I try to save my walking to the water cooler, and the bathroom. I still have the cast and my leg swells up by the end of the day.

I did get my team assigned to permanent table so that could avoid get mashed by the hordes and can prop my leg up. It makes it easier to show up and know where we are every round instead of looking at pairing sheets trying to find our name.

Best seat in the house.
Our team's permanently assigned board

I'll post more pictures in another post.


Banatt said...

Did you get the crazy guy who was in the 82-106 room?! I was two boards down from that!

chesstiger said...

Here we go again. Our trusthworthy ramblings of "poor polly". Polly wants a cracker? ;-)

Maybe you got a little to comfy after previous two tournaments and thought that all would fall into place no matter what. Helas, Caissa is a cruel mistress who takes and gives.

So just doing that extra mile, that extra bit of effort, each and every game can make a big difference in the outcome of the game.

It's like you said, that one move to quickly dashed on the board, that one, simple, move one didn't think through, can cost the game.

But if i read correctly that is the only blunder you made. That you lose against higher rated opponents can be painfull but may not leave open wounds since such opponents have statistically more winning chances then yourself. So any result is good against them. Hopefully you learned from those games in the postmortoms.

LinuxGuy said...

This blog is so entertaining, Polly. ;-D

That was nice how you won that pawn, didn't notice that, then you defended nicely with 17. Nce4. But oh yeah, I forgot to say, when you win a pawn on move 10 like that, don't trade queens as your objective should no longer be to win, but to win by move 20 - at least that's the goal.

Okay, so you are completely winning dominating anyway. Keep in mind that the queens are off, so a technical slip can lose the game.

Okay, but here we go again, move 20. Be2, and you rightly admitted ghost-spotting. Here's the thing, though, and I could have told you this after the Bermuda Open, even though you played excellent there, you need to become comfortable playing with the "dynamic". Really, this is already beneath your ability, but it's simply a question of style/choice.

Nc5, okay a dynamic move, you are comfortable making it there, but then miss the fork two turns in row. I'm not sure if you didn't miss the whole MDLM discussion, I'm guessing you didn't, but this is where that comes in to play.

I was wondering if Bd3 or Bf1 was better on that second move (Kf2 was basically a no-brainer to stop the fork on the first move). See, Bd3, the "dynamic" move is better.

It's funny how on some blogs people will quote Fritz' dynamic move (or insert chess engine here). Why do people bother, if they don't change their style accordingly(?), but I love it because it is so instructive and what the game is really about.

Unfortunately, that one mistake was the game in what should have been a clean-up operation, you were winning. Chalk it up to needing to have that MDLM level feel when it comes to sensing tactics. If you incorporate the dynamic into your game consistently, you should be able to win quickly. You should be trying to break 1900 right now, they shouldn't even be taking you to an endgame half the time - alright so I exaggerate a bit. :-D

Your blog is very fun to read, I think you can crack 1900, that's what I am trying to do.

Polly said...

Banatt: I never ventured outside the main ballroom into any of the side rooms. It was too much like work.

One round our second board was paired against some weird guy who was walking around with about 100 napkins and using antibacterial gel on every other move.

Tiger: I don't think it was a matter of getting too comfy after a couple of good tournaments. I had the one big blunder where I got sucked into the pace of my opponent.

The other losses were series of small mistakes and getting poor positions out of the opening. I played 2 masters, an expert and 3 C players. The three lower rated players the rating difference was less then 200 points, so it wasn't like I lost to people I rated by some large margin.

Linux: I know that I don't play very dynamic chess. I have a tendency to play for small advantages and then grind them out. I try to trade down to take it to an ending, but in some positions it's just not possible.

I don't see that keeping the queens on gives me a chance to win in 20 moves. If anything he had play for the pawn which is why I wanted to trade off.

That's probably not the way I should be playing especially given my compromised state of endurance. Long drawn out games that take 3 or more hours are physically and mentally taxing. Until I get back into some physical condition, I'm going to have problems with staying energized through a long game.

I saw the fork, and Kf2 eliminates it immediately. I was focusing too much on allowing Black to isolate my pawns after Rxc3. My advantage according to Fritz goes from +1 to + .53 even though I would still be up a pawn.

If I was so worried about the pawns I should have simply played Rxd8 allowing Nxe2+ and then get the piece back after Rxd8. I wasn't trusting my analysis enough. Somehow I thought there was something I was missing. That's what I called playing scared.

I've followed the MDLM discussions and though I find the concept interesting, it's not something I've actively wanted to pursue. I've done some things on chess tempo and CTS and I get bored after awhile. I don't really like looking at the positions on the computer.

I'd rather look at them on an actual board, but I get too lazy to set up each position. I think setting up every position becomes too time consuming, and distracts from focusing on what is happening in the position.

I need to find a way to make tactics training work for me. At the moment it's not.

Globular said...


The point of tactics training isn't to really concentrate on the solution, but to just repeat, repeat, repeat to ingrain the patterns in your brain without your even knowing it.

Also, I did about 20-30 minutes on the computer before each game, and it helped just getting my brain working, especially after beers in the lounge each night :)


LinuxGuy said...

Polly, Globular is right, it's about repetition, to where you see immediately or sense it.

I did well at the grind down style, non-dynamic, played that way for a few years. But like you say, you are trying to grind it out, and the better tactician will have the better tactical endurance anyway, so it's a self-defeating prophecy, IMHO.

And then after a while that style simply does come down to endurance, so if you have it you win and if you don't, then a good chance of losing even won games.

It's not that you can win in 20 moves so much but that the tension becomes so thick that the extra pawn helps produce a winning combo, if you can handle the tension of the position better than your opponent, not we trade it all off and my extra pawn wins.

Nowadays online, I get losing positions, but I can handle the dynamic tension better than most players I come across, so I win a lot of those games.