Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I have no business playing this game if I play like this...

I played in the North American open in Las Vegas over the Christmas break. It was fun meeting old friends, but my playing was no fun at all. I was hoping I would play better in the New Year Open in San Antonio last w-end, so that I could end my report in a happy note but it was not to be.

San Antonio, New Year Open Jan.2-3

It was a strong event with 50 players, 3 Masters and several experts. BRADLEY J SAWYER won the event with a 5-0 performance.

Going into the 5th and final round, I was 2.5/4.0 after losing to an expert in round 2.

I was White against expert and current grade 11 champ MATTHEW LIU who had 3.0/4.0
I am White. Matthew blundered a pawn in the opening and here I had a chance to win another pawn with check. My last move was N b1-c3, but Qf7 wins another pawn with check! I looked at Qh8, but did not even look at Qf7. I was just plain lazy.
Here I had a chance to put the game away with f5, but played Rd3?? instead. My whole idea of f4 earlier was to play f5, when I finally got the chance I didn't take it becuase I moved too fast (6 seconds).
Here I had a chance to play Re3 and go into a Knight ending a pawn up, but played Rf5?? instead and went into a rook ending a pawn down. Apparently I forgot that Knights can move backwards as well! Another costly error due to lazyness.

I am sure that with accurate play it should still have been a draw, but I used up too much time and lost.

After reading the following chess base article, I am feeling better!

Wijetunge vs Liu

1.d4 d5 2.Bg5 f6 3.Bh4 Nh6 4.e3 Nf5 5.Bg3 Nxg3 6.hxg3 Bf5 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 Qd7 9.Rxh7 Rxh7 10.Qxh7 Nc6 11.Qh5+ Kd8 12.Nc3 [ 12.Qf7 Qe8 13.Qxd5+ Qd7 14.Qf7 Qe8 15.Qc4 e6 16.Nc3 Na5 17.Qd3 Nc6 18.Nf3 Nb4 19.Qd2 Rc8] 12...e6 13.a3 Qe8 14.Qe2 a6 15.Nf3 Bd6 16.e4 dxe4 17.Nxe4 Qh5 18.Nxd6 cxd6 19.0-0-0 Qh6+ 20.Kb1 Kd7 21.d5 exd5 22.Rxd5 Re8 23.Qd1 Re6 24.Nh4 [ 24.c4] 24...Ne7 25.Rd3 Qh7 26.f4 Qe4 27.Rd4 Qe3 28.Rd3 [ 28.f5] 28...Qf2 29.Ka2 [ 29.Nf3 Qxg2 30.Nd4 Re4 31.Nb3 Kc7; 29.Qg4 g6 30.Nxg6 f5] 29...g6 30.c3 [ 30.c4 Qc5 31.Qc2] 30...Kc7 31.Rf3 [ 31.Qb3 Re2 32.a4; 31.Qf3] 31...Qe2 32.Qd3 g5 33.fxg5 fxg5 34.Qxe2 Rxe2 35.Nf5 g4 36.Rf4 [ 36.Re3 Rxe3 37.Nxe3 Kd7 38.Nxg4 Nf5 39.Nf6+ Ke6 40.g4 Ne3 41.g5 Kf5 42.Ne8] 36...Nxf5 37.Rxf5 Rxg2 38.Rg5 Rxg3 39.Rg7+ [ 39.c4 Kc6 40.a4 b6 41.b4 Kd7 42.Kb2 Ke6 43.a5 bxa5 44.Rxa5 Rg1 45.Rxa6 g3 46.Ra5 Rf1 47.Rg5 Rf2+ 48.Kc3 g2 49.b5] 39...Kc6 40.a4 Rg1 41.Kb3 g3 42.Rg5 Rg2 43.Rg7 Kd5 44.Rxb7 [ 44.Ka3; 44.Ka3 b6 45.Kb3 Rg1 46.Kb4 g2 47.Kb3 Ke4 48.Re7+ Kf3 49.Rf7+ Ke2 50.Re7+ Kd3 51.Rg7 d5 52.Rg8 d4 53.cxd4 Kxd4 54.Rd8+ Ke3 55.Re8+ Kd2 56.Rd8+ Ke2 57.Re8+ Kf2 58.Rf8+ Kg3 59.Rg8+ Kf3 60.Rf8+ Ke4 61.Rg8 Kf4 62.Rf8+] 44...Ke4 [ 44...Rd2 45.c4+ Ke4 46.Rg7 g2 47.Kc3 Rf2] 45.Rd7?? [ 45.Re7+ Kf4 ( 45...Kf3 46.Rf7+ Ke2 47.Rg7 Kf2 48.Rf7+ Kg1 49.Rg7) 46.Rf7+ Ke4; 45.Rg7 d5 46.Rg8 d4 47.cxd4 Kxd4] 45...Rd2 46.Re7+ 0-1


  1. In the second position, Re3 is a very common beginner's mistake, and it appears that you are still making these errors. You see that you are able to attack the opponent's queen "for free," so you don't consider any other moves. How tragic.

  2. I meant to say Rd3 of course.

  3. Tough break Ivan. Chess is just so frustrating. For me, it seems that the harder I study the worse my results are.


  4. @ Ivan

    Is the third diagram correct? If so i wonder why white would play Ne3 since the black rook can just capture the knight. Also, i hope you ment to write Rf4 instead of Rf5. :-)

    @ Tony

    Your brain first has to mould the new learned information and store it at the right neurons. Its normal that ones rating is going down when studying since one is to despaired to put the newly information to work. Even at times when its not needed. But eventually the newly information will fall into place and the results will beter aswill the rating.

  5. Diagram was corrected.

    COngratulations you have won the wager. Where do I mail it to.


  6. Hear, hear! re: Tony's comment.

    FWIW, I thought I might be stuck in Class A for life, as I was over 40 years old, and had been fluctuating between the high 1800s and low 1900s during the past six years and 500+ USCF rated games.

    As long and as hard as I studied, and despite thousands of dollars spent on books, software, entry fees, expensive periodicals (NIC, CBM, Chess Today), and lessons from an IM (now a GM), I could never seem to break past my plateau.

    I finally made it to Expert last summer, after making a deliberate decision to spend less effort on chess and more time on my golf game!

    I truly think there's something to Heisman's advice, "fire your coach and hire a shrink". In my case I prefer playing golf.

    Don't give up, Ivan!

  7. Ivan,

    I'll send you a message on facebook with my address.
    It was a close race. I think our ratings were the same in early November. I just happen to have a really good weekend that sealed the deal.

    With my little girl now here (born 4 weeks ago), I just dont think I will put anymore effort into getting to the Expert level. Maybe I'll change my mind later, but as of now I'm pretty much finished.

    Good luck with your dream of making it to 2000. I hope you get there. I'll be watching and rooting for you from a distance up here in Michigan.

    Take care,


  8. Anon 1/07/2010 11:41 AM

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    It was good to hear about your success. I haven't heard many stories of adults making it to expert and beyond.

    What state are you in?


  9. The last diagram was corrected


  10. Hi Ivan,

    I'm posting from Florida but I live in Michigan. We actually played once. It was a memorable and sort of funny game: I made an illegal move in time-pressure, and neither of us noticed until after the game was over!

    One of the things I learned about golf is if you try to hit the ball hard, it usually won't go very far or straight. You have to try to stay loose, hold the club gently, and swing through the ball nice and easy- not try to clobber it!

    Applied to chess, I think it helps to try to stay relaxed and avoid trying too hard to make something happen on the board. Pay attention to your opponent's threats, be calm and play solid moves, don't get into time-trouble, and let your opponent be the one to overplay his position and make mistakes!

    If you blunder frequently or get into time trouble all the time, maybe it's a symptom of trying too hard? At any rate, I found that once I started to accept that I might never break out of class A, I did better.

    take care,

    PS- at first I wasn't sure, but after reading Tony's second comment, I'm certain I know him too. A good guy, and I hope he doesn't completely give up playing chess.

  11. Ivan, you are a strong enough player to recognize that you threw away 3 wins in a single game, but that basically says to me that you know that those were wins, merely didn't see them at the board.

    In my play, I've noticed that chess is much more tactical than I once thought it was. On FICS I play lower rated a lot now and go for tactical complications, it's a big part of chess.

    What happens is that you are strong positionally, and your rating says so as well. It could be that you understand the game better than your opponent, but getting lazy on the tactics. It's sort of the crucial element that makes a chess game go easy or not. Yes, the "hours of hardwork thrown away" is a cliche that makes me think positional player who was getting cold tactically, hence throwing away all that experience differential.

    Some of these lower-rated players on FICS are sharp tactically, much stronger than their rating, and they find the forcing moves, but you also have to find those tactics that aren't forcing or necessary I should say.

  12. You comment several times that "I could have won by playing X, but instead played Y." Sounds like you are saying "ah, I was really better than the other guy, I really deserved to win."

    I'd love it if you were instead to write "I screwed up at this point, and here's my explanation - not excuse, explanation - why, and here's my plan to prevent a repetition."

    Good luck.

  13. You are absolutely correct. I have made the changes


  14. Maybe you played and studied too much for too long? In such a case a break can do wonders. Maybe you are too busy with your goal, with results? Maybe the sheer fun of playing is missing? Try to get that one back. If playing is not the most fun, if working hard at the board doesn't come easy then don't do it. Forget about opening study and concentrate on raw calculation skills, not tactics. Tactics is pattern recognition, that's different.

  15. Unless diagram 1 is wrong, after Qf7 your opponent castles and doesnt lose a pawn with check.

  16. The Black king has already moved (it is on d8), castling is not an option