Monday, September 25, 2006

That's it!

I have played 10 tournaments in a row in which I have not been able to get off my floor. It's time to stop playing so much and figure out how I can improve.

When I started playing rated chess I got my rating up to the mid 1800s pretty quickly, then I it was stuck from 1600 - 1700 for almost 15 years. Then last year I managed to get my rating up to 1880, but since then I have been stuck at my floor of 1800 (This is a floor based on prize money, not rating) . If not for the floor I would be back in the 1600-1700 range. Is history repeating itself? It might be another 15 years before I see my rating go over 1800 again!

Encouraged by the results of last year I decided to set a goal for myself. To get to 2000 by the February 2007 rating supplement.

My plan

Phase 1) Play lots of rated games
Phase 2) Go over the games with a coach and study (tactics mainly , endgames, grand master games in the openings I play)

I am done with phase 1 I have more than enough games to go over. I didn't expect any rating gains, but a few points would have been nice. There were many instances where it came down to the last round. May be I should start skipping the last round!

I am going to look at my last 100 games and pay special attention to the last 50 losses.

For the month of October I plan to play in two main events, The Midwest Class in Chicago and the Governor's Cup in Sioux Falls. I will be taking first round byes in both so that's only 8 games. I also plan to play another 6 games at local chess clubs. That's a total of 14. (I averaged 28 games/month for last 3 months).

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Greg Knutson Memorial - Sep 23-23

Top seeds :

3) LUO, BRIAN J 1972

Two of the nations top juniors are here.
Velikanov the nations #2 eight year old.
Luo the nations #1 nine year old.

Betaneli vs Luo in round 5 (Betaneli won)

"I am impressed to see kids like Ray Robson, Daniel Naroditsky and Brian Lou. All of them have the potential to become not only strong, but leading American grandmasters....."

-Gary Kasparov (page 39 September 2006 Chess Life)

Velikanov has a +1-0=1 record against Luo.

Touranament results

Cardenas, Jayne,new comer Zeeshaun and I made the trip from Milwaukee

Round 2
me vs Betaneli loss
I had a great game against Betaneli, but it came at a cost; bad time management. I made a critical error right before time control. But I was happy with way I played upto then.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This and that

A few days ago I had a dream that I had suddenly become a better player. I had two relatively easy wins against a 1600 and 1700 right after that. I was almost starting to believe my dream, but was brought back to earth pretty quickly. I had a couple of losses to an expert and an A player and then only scored 1-3=1 at the Iowa Open. One win in seven games!

Today was the last game at the Waukesha Team Tournament. I was paired against the 9-0, eight year old Alexander Velikanov.

I don't think many people gave me a chance, (Including myself) but I managed to win.

I was going to play the Caro Kann which I used to play, instead of my new defense to e4 the Qd6 Scandinavian. But I was surprised when he played 1.d4 which I have never seen him play. He then followed that up with e3, Bd3 and f4.

It was a classic case of good Knight vs bad Bishop.

Game replay

Check out this great application by Wayne Zimmerle

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Iowa Open - Sep 16-17

Burgess beats Betaneli to tie for first(Along with Robert Raynolds). Remarkable come back by Burgess after he was upset in the first round by a 1700 player. This 1700 player Dan Brashaw had a great tournament. 2 wins and 3 draws agains very tough competition.

Cardenas had a chance to tie for first, but lost to Raynolds in the last round.

Complete Results

My problem is that when it comes to chess I am caught in two minds.

1) I really enjoy playing in tournaments.

2) I want to become a better player.

I am obviously playing far too much and not doing much when it comes to # 2 above. Playing so much without studying will have a negative impact (Jose Gatica). Since I am making the same kinds of mistakes over and over.

In this tournament I lost to a 2300 player in the first round. (No time trouble)

In the second round I could only manage a draw against a 1666 player after obtaining the following position as black: (Time trouble) In round 3 I lost to a 1523 player (Who is actually much better and beat a 1943 player in the first round) I had this position as White, but could not come up with a good plan. (Time trouble)
I finally had a win aginst a 1732 player in round 4. I just played e5 (I am black) and right after that saw that White could play Rxh2. But I can then play Qf5 and it gets pretty complicated. (No time trouble)

Round 5 : Made the wrong move in the opening and it was all down hill from there. I am suposed to bring the Q bishop to g4. (6.....Bg4)
(12) Johnson,K (1677) - Me (1800) [B01]Iowa Open (5), 17.09.2006
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bd3 b5? [ 6...Bg4 7.Ne4 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nc6] 7.Ne4 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nc6 9.0-0 [ 9.Bf4 Qf6 10.Be5 Qh6 11.Bxc7] 9...Bb7 10.c3 Na5 11.Qc2 e6 12.Ne5 c5 13.Bf4 Qb6 14.dxc5 Bxc5 [ 14...Bxe4 15.Qxe4 Qb7 16.c6] 15.b4 Bxf2+ 16.Rxf2 Nc6 17.Nxf7 Rf8 18.Nd6+ Ke7 19.Qd2 Rad8 20.Bg5+ Rf6 21.Bxf6+ gxf6 22.Qf4 Rxd6 23.Qxf6+ Kd7 24.Kh1 Ne7 25.Bxb7 Qxb7 26.Qg7 Qd5 27.Raf1 Qd1 28.h3 1-0

My Games

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dream etc.

I had a dream a couple of days ago that I had suddenly become a better player! Since then I have played 2 rated games (G/90), and in both cases I won pretty handily. (against a 1600 and 1700). I am almost beginning to believe my dream. But I am sure that I will be brought down to earth in short order.

In the first game I got my pieces well developed and the attack netted me a pawn. Although I was pretty sure that I could have gotten more, (move 12) I decided to go into the end game a solid pawn up. Later I managed to weaken black's pawn structure and then get a knight on to the great f4 square. I have been reading Irving Chernev's "Capablanca's Best Chess Endings", and was reminded of some of them in this game, especially when black finds him self in zugzwang after he runs out of pawn moves around move 36. Even patzers like us can have a good day once in a while!

In the next game my opponent makes a not so good move against the center counter. 2. e5, and got himself in trouble with my bishops causing havoc on the queen side.

Game Link

Both these games are part of a 5 round double round robin. I only have a 4-4=0 score so far. The story of the event is 8 year old Alexander Velikanov. He is 9-0. With only one game remaining against me. All the other adults in the club are rooting for me. I can't let an 8 year old go 10-0! After this tournament gets rated he should be the highest ranked 8-year old in the nation!

Here is Alxander's last game. (He is playing white)

If you have any pointers for me please let me know. I usually play the Qd6 Scandinavian, I played it against Alexander a few weeks ago and got a great game out of the opening, but lost in the end. I don't think he will play the same way again. He is very good tactically and has a lot off opening knowledge. He is thought to have an expert level knowlede of rook endings and to be almost as good in pawn endings. I thought of playing the Caro Kann (Which I used to play) But by me switching openings just for him, I might find myself in more trouble. He has a coach and they prepare for specific opponent's by going through their openings. When I played white against him a few weeks ago, he knew more about the opening that I did!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Michigan Open

The playing site. The very nice Radisson Plaza Hotel
Top seed Torman, Eric (2454) (right) who re-entered the 2 day schedule after losing in round 3. He has 3.5/4. All schedules merge for the next round (5)

I took a first round by.

Round 2 : Loss
I was paired agianst near master Seth Homa. He was upset by a 1900 player in the first round. I thought I had an even game but could not hold.

Seth Homa in his trademark outfit

Homa,S (2197) - Me(1800) [B01]MI Open (2), 02.09.2006
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 a6 6.g3 b5 7.Bg2 Bb7 8.0-0 e6 9.Bf4 Qb6 10.a4 b4 11.a5 Qa7 12.Na4 Nd5 13.Bd2 Nd7 14.c4 bxc3 15.bxc3 Be7 16.c4 N5f6 17.Qe2 Ne4 [ 17...0-0 18.d5 Rae8 19.dxe6 fxe6 20.Qxe6+ Kh8 21.Be3 Qa8 22.Nh4] 18.Bf4 Bd6 19.Ne5 Bxe5 20.dxe5 Nec5 21.Bxb7 Qxb7 22.Nxc5 Nxc5 23.Rad1 0-0 24.Bg5 Ne4 25.Qf3 Nc5 26.Qg4 Qe4 27.Qxe4 Nxe4 28.Be7 Rfe8 29.Rd7 Rac8 30.Rfd1 Rxe7 [ 30...f6 31.f3 Ng5 32.Kf2] 31.Rxe7 Nc5 32.Rxc7 1-0

Round 3: Draw against a 1500 (a kid who is having a great tourament)

Round 4 : Win
Finaly a win against a higher rated player. It's amazing the tactics we missed. I could have won right out of the opening with 12...Be4 or 13 ...Qd5, but instead went into an equal middle game. Then I was completely lost, but managed to win in the end.

Skidmore,M (1927) - Me (1800) [B01]MI Open (4), 03.09.2006
1.e4 d5 2.e5 c5 3.Bb5+ Nc6 4.Bxc6+ bxc6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.0-0 e6 7.c3 d4 8.h3 Bh5 9.g4 Bg6 10.cxd4 h5 11.dxc5 hxg4 12.hxg4 Bd3 [ 12...Be4 13.d4 Rh3 14.Nbd2 Qh4 15.Nxe4 Rh1+] 13.Qa4 Bb5 [ 13...Qd5 14.Qf4 Be2] 14.Qe4 Bxc5 15.d4 Bb6 [ 15...Bxf1 16.Qxc6+ Kf8 17.Qxc5+ Ne7 18.Kxf1 Rc8] 16.Re1 Ne7 17.Bg5 Qd7 18.Bxe7 Kxe7 19.a4 Bc4 20.Nc3 Ba5 21.Qe3 Rab8 22.Qg5+ Kf8 23.Qd2 Ke7 [ 23...Bd5] 24.Qg5+ Kf8 25.Kg2 Rxb2 26.Rh1 Rg8 27.Ne4 Bd8 28.Qc1 Rb4 29.Qc3 a5 30.Rab1 Qb7 31.Nd6 [ 31.Nc5] 31...Qa6 32.Rxb4 axb4 33.Qxb4 Bd5 34.Qb8 Ke7 35.Rb1 c5 36.dxc5 Rf8 37.Qb5 [ 37.Nc8+ Ke8] 37...Qa8 38.Qd3 Qxa4 39.Kg3 Bc7 40.Rh1 Qc6 41.Rh7 Qxc5 42.Rxg7 Bxf3 [ 42...Bxd6 43.exd6+ Qxd6+ 44.Kg2 Rh8 45.Rg5 Qf4 46.Rxd5 Qxg4+] 43.Nxf7 Rxf7 44.Rxf7+ Kxf7 45.Qh7+ Ke8 46.Qg8+ Ke7 47.Qg7+ Ke8 48.Qg8+ Ke7 49.Qg7+ Kd8 50.Qg8+ Kd7 51.Qf7+ Qe7 52.Qxf3 Bxe5+ 53.Kg2 Qd6 54.Qf7+ Kc6 55.Qe8+ Kc5 56.Qc8+ Qc6+ 57.Qxc6+ Kxc6 58.Kf3 Kd5 59.g5 Bd4 60.g6 Bf6 61.Kf4 Kd6 62.Kg4 Ke7 63.Kh5 Kf8 64.Kh6 Be5 65.Kh7 Bg7 66.f3 e5 67.f4 e4 0-1

Round 5 : Loss to 1885

Round 6: Draw 1849

Round 7: Loss 1820

I had a chance to gain rating points right upto the last round, but since I lost the game I did not. But I had a great time and made many new friends. The playing conditions were excellent.

Even with 40/2 G/1 I found myself getting into time trouble. In four of the games it was mutual. Reminds me of "The slowness of genius is hard to bear, but the slowness of mediocrity is intolerable. – Henry Thomas Buckle"

Losses and Draws