Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I would like another 15 minutes please!

My 15 minutes of chess fame came when I tied for 3rd in the U1800 section  of the $500,000 HB Global chess tournament way back in 2005.  I played a great last round game where I tripled the major pieces on the 7th rank.

My opponent even resorted to what could be termed "Gamesmanship" when he started staring at me and standing behind me (making his moves from there!) He gained 233 points in the event!

The game is here

Cross table here.

Why am I bringing this up now?  That's the best way I can think of to get over the disappointment of losing my last round game at the NASNAJ Open in Houston last Sunday.

A combination of good luck & good chess had me sitting pretty on 3.5/4.0 going into the last round half a point ahead.

All I needed was a draw for a guaranteed share of 1st. A win would have given me $350, a nice plaque and a rating close to 1950.  I ended up with $50 and a rating of 1921 (Still an all time high) .
The difference between winning and losing at the HB Global was $2500 vs $500

After getting a huge positional edge, I didn't cash in on several tactical shots to bring home the point.

I am Black here, with so many options including ...Nxe3, ...Bxf4, ...Bb4, I chose the weak ...Nxd2 and in a few moves White was able to get his pieces out. I had to sac the exchange to get counter play and even after that had a good position, but had eaten up too much time.

The game is here.

I think that I am playing at 2000 level positionaly but tactically I am probably playing at a 1800 level.


  1. I like 32..e5, then after 33.fxe RxN, and 34.pxN Qxe5, your queen can penetrate on the dark squares.

    I looked at that diagram. Bxf4 caught my eye first, but looked risky. Then I saw that ..Nxe3 is winning a pawn, but now that you mention it ..Bb4 is slick, looks like it wins an exchange.

    You are right, you played positionally beautifully to that point of the missed tactical opportunity. It looks like if you had brushed up on your tactics there could have been some money coming your way. You are getting good tournament results lately, though. :-)

  2. Good to see you are still active.

    --Old friend from Green Bay

  3. That's still a great tournament, congratulations! You may have to rename your blog in another year or so.

  4. Checking the playback of the game I think the position in this post is incorrect - the white king should be on f3. Even so, B:f4 looks totally winning to me.

  5. corrected the image - ivan

  6. Looks like you should hit your goal pretty soon!

  7. ivan,

    i think your problem is not purely tactics (but of course tactics is one of your problems...); i think you are not able to evaluate a position correctly and objectively (most of the time you're too optimistic about your own position and ignore the potential of your opponents position) and you are not able to seize the decisive moments in a game. it should have been clear to you, that the given position was THE decisive moment of the game and that there definitely must have been a decisive move in your favor; it would be interesting if you could tell us, which candidate moves you really have evaluated during the game and how your final evaluation of these candidate moves was; it would be interesting if you could give the line you wanted to play after your chosen Nxd2 which indeed is a horrible move, because it only solves all the problems of white after which he brings out his pieces that have been locked in exactly by his Nd2.

    again, tactics is NOT your only problem, as the winning move Bb4 is not really such a challenging tactical solution but rather can be looked at as a positional solution as well.


  8. Hey BRUZ,

    Nice to hear from you.

    Are you going to reveal your true identity some day?

    At least what your rating is.

    The main reasons I lost this game are : over confidence/lazyness.

    I was 3.5/4.0 needing only a draw to clinch first. My opponent was not playing well, and I had built up a very strong position. After playing well up to this point I got into a "anything wins" mentality.

    Although I know one can never do this until the game is actually over.

    The last move by my opponent was to Kg2-f3, getting away from my Knights check. (Which prevented him from playing QxR)

    After his K move, I automatically played my move without analyzing too much because "anything wins"


  9. Don't worry, another 15 minutes can be earned! (That's how I look at things anyway, seeing as some people manage to get much more than 15 minutes.)

  10. You misses a forced win ... it is true!! I do not know the move number then I start with move 20! ;-) The real winning path is the following:

    20. Nxe3! Rxe3

    [if Kxe3 then 21. Bxf4+ Ke2 (if Kd3 22. Rxd2! Qc4+ or Kf3 22. Bxd2! Qg3 winning) 22. Qc4+ Kf3 23. Dxd4 Ke2 24. Kg3 and Kf5 or 23... Qe2 24. Bd6! Qxh4 winning]

    21. Bxf4 Kf1! [other rook moves are loosing for 22. Bxd2! and Qg3] 22. Rxc1 winning easily!

    So you are right and you must improve your tactical capabilities! ;-)

    Good luck by Andrea

    1. I forget to add the 20. Bb4 is not such a strong move because 20... Kxc4!
      if 21. Bxe1 Qxc2 22. Dxc4 and so on better is 21. Dxc4 b3! 22. Qc7 Re2 of course white is quite better anyway but there is not a forced win in sight like before!

      Much better than this is 20... Bxf4!? 21.Kxc4 [if 21. Qxc2 Ke5+ taking the queen is strong!] 21... Bxe3 (with idea Qg3+) then 22. Ke5! is forced 22... Bxf2 23. Re2 Rxe2 24. Dxe2 Bxh4 again with a winning position for white but less then with Nxe3!!

  11. by the way ... my mail is andycucca@gmail.com