Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A frustrating loss

A little background:

I know it’s silly to be concerned so much about ratings, but I can't help it. I finally managed to get my rating above the floor albeit by just 6 points. But I had the possibility of getting it even higher because I am currently playing in two local events:

Event 1 – Event ends Oct/17th

Game 1 Win 1250
Game 2 Win 1550
Game 3 Win 1900
Game 4 Win 1600

Event 2 Event ends Oct/18th

Game 1 loss 1900
Game 2 Draw 1800
Game 3 Loss 1733 - The game I am taking about.

When you are close to your floor the order in which the events get rated is important. For instance If I have 1 bad and 1 good performance. If the bad one gets rated first, I get to keep the points form the good one, but if the good one gets rated first I don’t. In this situation I have the latter case. (Event 2 has an official end date of 10/18 although I played the game yesterday)

Mistakes and other observations I made in this game:

1) I got over-confident after getting a great position. Mentally, I had already marked a 1 in the win column pretty early in the game.

2) When confronted with an unexpected move (20 ..Qe5) I panicked and did not look hard enough for a refutation. I should have done what Jose Gatica recommends in these situations - Walk away from the board so you can mentally adjust. With 21. Qd3 I am still winning. But this 2 move sequence Qd3, Qd4 is very hard to find in time trouble.

3) Did not look hard enough for tactics 15. B x c6 wins.

4) I was taking to Jose Gaticca about me getting into time trouble often. The obseravation he made is that becuase I am not tactically up to par, I take too long thinking about tactcal posibilties (even then I miss things). To really improve I have to train myself tactically so the ideas come to me without having to spend too much time. To address this issue, I am currently reading a book that Tim Crouse recomended. The is book called Understanding Chess Tactics . This book does a great job in breaking down tactical ideas.

5) What I was thinking just before/after the blunder.
"Can the Queen get out of the pin and cover all the knight escape routes" I didn't look hard enough and did not find 20 ..Qe5. So when he played it I panicked. What's ironic is that although there is such a square it still does not work becaouse of 21. Qd3, so my initial assessment was correct after all!

"There was such a square, now I am lost"
"I should have not played Nxb5"
"I should have just put pressure on the c pawn"

What I should have been thinking:

"Okay I didn't expect 20 ..Qe5, don't panic, calm down, look for a refutation" If I had done that I would probably have found 21. Qd3

The number of actual points I lose for this loss depends on the result of my round four game in the other event. According to my calculations:

Win 1854 1828 26
Draw 1831 1800 25
Loss 1818 1800 18

Column 2 Rating after good event
Column 3 Rating after bad event
Column 4 number of points this game cost.


  1. You should talk to your coach about time pressure, any good coach knows how to get his students out of this bad habit. You cannot say that calculation of variations is the cause of time pressure, there is much more to it. You should talk to your coach about this one and draw up a plan to remedy this problem.

  2. Another option you can try is to move fast and flag your opponents.