Friday, June 18, 2010

National Open: Sunday the 13th - Round 5

My sub-title for this post could be "Sucky Sunday" because almost everything about it sucked.  Actually I should rephrase that.  Everything about the way I played on Sunday sucked.  The tournament itself was a wonderful event, and really well run.  I could get on my computer in my room and find my pairing at least a half hour before the scheduled start of the round.  It's nice to not have to fight the mobs crowding around the pairing sheet.  Go straight to the board, and sit down.  Though sometimes it can be dangerous looking up pairings online because then I can't help but to go to the USCF website and see what the opponent's real rating is.

Sunday morning after breakfast I find my pairing and look up the opponent.  He seemed to be another older player because his ID number was lower then mine.  He only played a couple of tournaments recently and nothing from 1991 to 2009.  I know from past experience that one has to be wary of the player who hasn't played much recently.  One never knows if the so called "rusty" player has been taking lessons or playing on the internet in lieu of over the board play.

So much for getting my pairing ahead of time.  When I came downstairs I noticed the pairing sheet for the under 1800 section was a different color.  When the pairing sheet is some other color besides white it means the pairings have changed.  On Saturday that had happened.  My pairing stayed the same, but the board number changed.  This time the board number stayed the same, but my opponent was different.  He was already at the board and had an analog clock set up.  I told him I preferred to use a digital clock, so we switched to my clock.

He was much older then me, but I wouldn't find out until later just how much older he was.  I was guessing late 70s or early 80s.  I wasn't even close.  He's 93.  Damn! I hope I'm still alive and able to play chess when I'm 93.  More to the point I hope I can play like he does.  I found out his age at the beginning of round 6 when they awarded prizes to the youngest and oldest players.  He's won the oldest player prize many years in a row.  I should have remembered him from last year because I photographed him and wrote pretty much the same things I just wrote here.  Damn I'm getting senile!

 NTD Bill Snead, organizer Al Losoff, 93 year old Daniel Litowsky

After two games where I struggled playing the White side of the Colle, I decided I would go back to playing the English.  I was happy to get the opportunity to transpose to the Maroczy Bind against what ended out turning into a Sicilian Dragon.  I usually have trouble with the Black side of it so I always welcome the chance to play the White side of it.  I was happy with the position I got out of the opening, and I felt I was better.  From moves 15 through 18 he made 4 queen moves in a row.  I couldn't quite figure out what the queen moves were all about.  It wasn't until he kept attacking my pawn on f4 that I realized with those queen moves he had suckered me into weakening my king position and I was going to lose the pawn on f4. 

At this point I'm really ticked off with myself because I clearly had underestimated this old guy.  Now I was struggling with a position where I was down a pawn, and facing a nasty attack.  When I get angry while playing sometimes I don't use the best judgment in my choice of moves. I made a trade on the h file which allows him to double up his queen and rook on the open h file.  I think he felt he was going to mate me within a few moves because he picks up his clock from the floor and sets it down in front of him as if he'll be leaving the board soon.  Though I don't think he meant any disrespect in his action, I got kind of annoyed.  I was already mad at myself so I was going to look really carefully to see if I was getting mated or not.

As it turned out there was no mate, and in fact after the queens came off the board he made a mistake and I won the exchange.  However he did have two pawns, and his bishop pair was very powerful against my rooks.  In my Fritz analysis it seems I had better chances then I thought I did during the game.  I misplayed it, and then on move 60 hung a rook.  I was going to give back the exchange if I had not overlooked the hanging rook.  Hanging the rook just made it harder. I was so fed up at that point I just resigned.  The position had gone from bad to outright ugly.  Here's the game.


At this point I'm just beside myself.  I couldn't hang out in the tournament area because every time a friend asked me how it was going I just lost it emotionally.  I went back to the hotel room, but then decided what I needed to do was get out into the sunshine.  I should have changed clothes because it was much hotter the it had been on Saturday when I took the pictures of the surrounding landscape and mountains.  It's hard to lose oneself in outdoors when there are lots of cars zipping by.  I took my iPod with me to listen to some soothing music.  There wasn't any direction to walk that lead to anywhere pretty or quiet.  I ended out walking towards the freeway because view of the mountains in that direction was nicer.  I noticed when I got to the bridge that crosses over the freeway that they have put a high fence that curves over the sidewalk.  I guess it's to keep despondent gamblers from jumping off the bridge onto the freeway.  One would have to be a monkey to be able to climb up and over that fence.

My walk didn't last particularly long.  20 minutes in the heat wearing a long sleeve shirt was about all I could take.  Also all the traffic wasn't having the calming affect I so desperately needed.  Walking back inside the hotel wasn't much better.  All the flashing lights and ringing bells from the slot machines get to be overwhelming.  I just try to get through the casino part as fast as possible.  This year I didn't even bother to set aside an entertainment budget to play blackjack. I wanted to spend as little time as possible in the casino area.  I wanted to just hole up in my room and ignore the Vegas glitz.


LinuxGuy said...

On the move where you blunder with Rg1, I think Rg8 is maybe winning. Trade rooks on g7, then perhaps a4.

I wanna give you some advice, how can I say this. Forget about waiting for the opponent to come up with a plan and then praising it. Yes, it's something, but it's also nothing in the sense that plans are like something else, everyone has one. Sorry, I just don't know of a nicer way of putting it.

Actually, you seem to be lacking a plan and instead maneuvering around defending your shield wall; which you are doing a great job of, if that were the objective of chess.

Move 19. Bd3? allows ...d5.

Did you consider this plan: 19. Bf3. If you could kick the Bc6 back to d7 with a b-pawn advance, then you have Nd5 and if NxN, cxN wins the queen (she has nowhere to go), and otherwise Nc7 forks queen and rook.

You are doing great at defending when things are forced, but when they aren't you need a plan and that seems to be what leads to your missteps; that's my take on it, anyway.

Believe me, I don't feel any better when I learn that my opponent's first name is Dragan and has an eastern European accent. It's something we all have to get past in order to put our best effort into the game.

Polly said...

He doesn't interpose on g7. Instead he plays Kf7. Now he's attacking my rook on g8 and I still have to deal with the threat of Bf4.

19...d5 is not a threat. I can simply play 20. cxd55 Bxd5 21. Nxd5 Nxd5 22. exd5 Qxd5 23. Bc4.

19. Bd3 was not the error. In fact 19. Bf3 allows Qxc4. My rook moves 20. Rc2 and 21. Rf1 are the the moves that aren't the best for me.

Looking at the position now I'm wondering if I forgot my Q on e3 is guarded. 20 Nd5 is much better.

I understand your assessment of my tendency to react to threats instead of creating my own. At times I muddle through the middle game. I think in this game I over reacted to threats that weren't there, and missed the ones that were there.

LinuxGuy said...

Your analysis looks right, I goofed. 18. b4 instead of 18.f4 follows up White's active play on the queenside, because although Black has defended everything it's sort of zugzwangish, or at least very slow, for Black.

If ...Qg3, then Bf1 allowing Nd2 if ...Nh5.