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Archive for July, 2010

Another STTourney, another loss

Last Tuesday I played another game in the STTourney. I expected to have White and quickly looked up some Sicilian lines, just in case. I had indeed White and my opponent hwiechers (rating 1833 at that time) played a dragon-style Sicilian. It was a close game and we reached the following position:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6. Be2 Bg7 7. Nb3 0-0 8.0-0 d6 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 a5 11. a4 Be6 12. f4 Qd7 13. Bf3 Bg4 14. Nd5? Bxf3

I had to play c2-c3 somewhen to block the dangerous bishop but had no chance so far. There are three ways to take back:

  • 15. gxf3 destroys the pawn formation, I didn’t really consider this move
  • 15. Qxf3 leads to Nxd5, exd5, Nd4 which doesn’t look good.
  • 15. Rxf3 avoids the two mentioned problems but Nxe4 loses a pawn. I didn’t really notice that the pawn was lost and played it.

15. Rxf3 Nxe4 16. c3?

According to Rybka 16. Qd3! was much better, getting the initiative as partial compensation for the pawn.

In this position I actually missed the knight fork 16. Nb6 but this gets very tactical now. If you want to you can set up the position and calculate the variations. The FEN code is:

r4rk1/1p1qppb1/1Nnp2pp/p7/P3nP1B/1N3R2/1PP3PP/R2Q2K1 b – –

16…Rae8 17. Qd3 f5 18. Qb5 e6 19. Nb6 Qc7

I tried to get my pawn back!

Now I missed a nasty knight fork and played

20. Nxa5?

After 20… Nxa5 21. Qxa5 Nd2 there is suddenly nothing I can do to avoid losing material. I felt exhausted and annoyed and lost quickly.

22. Rd3 Nb3 23. Qb4 Nxa1 24. Rxd6 Nc2 25. Rd7 Qxd7 26. Qb3 Qd1 White resigns

I was pleasantly suprised that my opening preparation was good. There are ways for improvement of course but it’s just a matter of experience. The real struggle started around move 14 and 15. Instead of carefully calculating the forcing lines, I just followed my original plan. This is something I need to work on and I have to adjust my thought process accordingly. I am glad that I had to face a strong player who was able to exploit my mistakes.

The next steps for my training are clear. I have to train the thought process and the calculation skill. I don’t know how much I can get done before I will go on vacation but I will try to get things rolling.

P.S. Blitz is bad. I played a couple of short games, mainly to increase my rating (what a stupid goal). What happened was that I gained 60 points and quickly lost them again. At least I checked the opening moves, I faced a couple of Philidors and closed Sicilians that I usually don’t play against. Life has no meaning. Blitz is bad.

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New U1600 champion

The chessmasters are the T45 champion in the U1600 division. Super-Kallistos played a Smith-Morra Gambit and was always one step ahead of his opponent. Super-Signalman merciless exploited a blunder and won a game after offering a draw 4 moves ago. werty only had to appear, his opponent missed the game – and it was over!

I had to play another tough game and lost but not without fighting. To get into a better mood I joined the STTourney 4 hours later and won a nice Sicilian.

The victory boosted the ratings of the three best players and the team will change for the next TL. pablito15 and I have started a team that puts more focus on communication, chess improvement and analysis. With some strong and motivated players in our team I am curious if this works out as planned.

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We made it – our team is in the playoff finale of the Erg U1600 section!

As expected my opponent played the Pirc defense. I had prepared some opening moves but didn’t know that the resulting positions are so tactical. Around move 22 I was strategically lost but managed to get a draw. You can play through the game here.

22…Ne4 just played and I am looking into a dark future

I am not unhappy with the result. Similar to the previous game, I simply need more practice. This will give me the chance to study the various openings, middlegames and endgames that arise in my games. Getting punished for mistakes is hard but a good way to make progress and that’s why it’s important to play against strong players. It’s one thing to read a book, it’s a completely different matter to see positions on the board and to understand the reason behind the moves.

The next (final?) TL game in the tournament will be a tough one but as I already mentioned in the Blog, all players < 1800 are within my reach and I will play for a win.

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Playoffs round 2

My last TL playoff game didn’t go too well. I blundered a center pawn around move 22 and lost quickly. Here is the position after Bh3:

Not too difficult to see, right? I felt so bad afterwards, having missed such an easy threat.

When I analysed the game with Paul we quickly realized that I already had a difficult position. We looked at some alternatives and although we are both far away from chess mastery, we were able to understand the positional plans and to find better moves for Black. Such sessions are immensely helpful!

This was the first time I tried the Sicilian Kan in a serious game. I wanted to surprise my opponent, he plays the Scandinavian himself and I thought that it’s a better idea to come up with something different. I played a couple of trainings games on FICS (not ICC) and decided to give it a try in the TL. It’s a good opening but I definitely need more practice, especially against strong players.

ZS-2_01.jpg

Last time I mentioned that my time management in the recent games wasn’t good enough. My opponents played quickly and very early I was low on time. With the emphasis on the middlegame I came up with the following simple rule when using the G45 + 45 time control:

  • after 20 moves, 20 minutes must be left on the clock.
  • after 30 moves, 5 minutes must be left

The idea is to use the time to find a plan and not just playing moves. If you know where you want to place your pieces, it’s easy to play the right moves quickly and in the end it will save time.

It’s exciting to be in the TL playoffs and my team has good chances to reach the finals. The only drawback is that two of our players have their games in the middle of the night (local time). I guess what they will need is this:

bg_5.jpg

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