Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tournament update: 2nd Place

I lost the final game in a barn-burner. We both played like patzers (well, we are patzers), but it was fun. Near the end a big crowd had gathered 'round as the game went to the wire and it was for first in the division (U1200). I am very bummed about the loss, but at least it was to a girl (this may encourage her to continue in chess).

Overall, a beautiful tournament venue. It was truly exciting to play with over 30 people U1200. I don't know if I'll play in an U1200 division again: I kind of prefer U1400 as people tend to be better than me and I learn more and play better. It really was a kind of comedy of errors in there, myself included. Also, the U1200 is only 60/0 and I think I need more time. 60/0 isn't enough time for many deep thinks...Rating change: 967-->1110.

Game 5: 4/0
My first loss. A young girl (probably 11 or so) who was on a tear (she had 3.5 points, so this was a battle for first). I skewered her rook/queen early, and was up the exchange. She later equalized with some nice tactics when I hung a rook. We ended up in the endgame with her two pawns up. She promoted, I made one last ditch attempt to draw by repetition (and win 1st in my division) but she had none of that and I resigned.

Game 4: 4/0
I beat the top-seeded dude at board 1. It was intense but I played more aggressively than usual, using pawn pushes and a crazy attack to demolish his kingside pawn structure. Trading my bad bishop for his good bishop early on was key. Confirming what we all knew anyway about rating disparities, he's in the 1500s at ICC, and only rated 1180 USCF. One more game at 1PM today. I'm playing for first in the U1200 division. Everyone is right that I need to stop worrying about flippin' ratings, play the board, and make the best moves I can (that doesn't depend on the other person's rating!).

Game 3: 3/0
Played someone my own age for once, with the white pieces. He was good (but rated around 701 or something: what is it with all these low rating players playing like 1200+ players at ICC?). This was an even game until, once again, there wasn't much material on the board and I found a sweet discovered attack and got his bishop. The king attack then began and I mated him in a few moves. Next game (tomorrow morning) I will probably play the best player in the U1200 division (he is rated 1180). Wish me luck. Gulp.

I really started to feel tired in the third game. The work I've done in CTB has paid off: I'm still not tactically proficient in complicated middlegames when all the material is still on the board, but once we're down to a few pieces and pawns, something just turns on and I see stuff.

Game 2: 2/0
Another nice boy (around 12 yo rated around 650 but played much better after the opening) and I had black. He played horribly in the opening, but I didn't punish him. Before you know it he was doing this crazy queenside pawn storm with this impressive tactics, ending up a rook ahead! He had like 50 minutes on his clock, I had 10. I dug deep, and started a desperate attack. I got my rook back, and then started a king chase and mated him. One thing I've noticed: when there isn't a lot of material on the board, my tactical vision becomes much better and I take my opponent out. This is likely because it mimics the conditions of Chess Tactics for Beginners.

Game 1: 1/0
I played a nice boy (around 10 years old) rated 486. I had the white pieces. He played the French, and was much better than his rating. I played the exchange variation to open things up, get him out of his comfort zone, and hoped for some tactics (thinking at the time, hell he's only 486 I should be able to dominate him tactically). Then I blundered a knight. I had a five move plan, and on move five I didn't think about his responses, but only about implementing my plan. He had me on the ropes, but then weakened his kingside pawn structure and let me fork his king and rook. The attack was on, and I was storming his kingside with an unstoppable attack when he resigned. Note to self: if I have a multi-move plan, don't just make the moves in the plan rapidly. I need to stop and think after each move to make sure my plan is sound, think about the actual position rather than the one I visualized N moves ago.

Next game is in 50 minutes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like this is a blast...the competitiveness is clearly different than ICC as, even if 10 years old, having the person in front of you makes a big difference. As far as I know on ICC I could be playing some drunk at an interent cafe.

Until now I have yet to garner the guts to play at a tournament and am now envious. Good Luck!

P.S. Great Blog!

1/27/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, lots of enthusiasm, but i sense a lack of confidence. You will play a 1180, "gulp"? Why the gulp? Worst case scenario: you lose and it's a learning experience (as all losses are). Everyone loses. I would not be surprised if YOU are the best player in the U1200 section. But you still gotta play good moves. Ratings are just a mind game anyway.

Sounds like you are playing well and having fun! congrats. :)

1/27/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the same experience - 1300's played more like 1600's and so on.

You have to finally convince yourself to just forget about ratings and assume your opponent is really good until he proves himself otherwise.

Good job on the wins today.

1/27/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what is it with all these low rating players playing like 1200+ players at ICC?"

You should not compare real (as in official) ratings to Internet ratings. Real people, real ratings. Internet people, Internet ratings. Your opponents might well be "club" players. And from what i understand, playing club players is a whole different ball game. They probably have that 1200 ICC rating. In fact, it is generally advised to join a club if you're really serious about improving your game. Or are you allready with a club? Ask your coach about what he think's of joining a club.

1/27/2007 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> if I have a multi-move plan, don't just make the moves in the plan rapidly

I know what you mean. Sometimes, somewhere around move 2 or 3 - the opp will do something completely different causing the evaluation to change.

This is my problem too

1/28/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Sancho Pawnza said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/28/2007 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Sancho Pawnza said...

4 out of 5 is a fantastic result!
Especially in that tournament.

As for ratings, I tend to try and ignore them.
Look at it this way, if they are higher rated the pressure on them is not to lose to a lower rated player.
If they lower rated I figure they are intimidated by playing a higher rated.
Of course none it really applies as it is all mental anyway.
As for ICC ratings versus USCF there is an easy explanation for why the class player ratings are always higher online.
It is because most people play more online chess than they do OTB. If anything I would imagine the online ratings are probably closer to true playing strength unless of course the player plays more OTB games.
If you look at MDLM's ascent he played a ton of OTB (around 166 games), imagine how much your rating would climb over the same amount of time if you reviewed each of your games in detail.

1/28/2007 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Near the end a big crowd had gathered 'round as the game went to the wire

the emotional rollercoaster of OTB play is unsurpassed by internet play. That's why I like it so much.

1/28/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done!

1/28/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Sancho: I hope you can make it next year.

It wasn't until my third game that I felt comfortable looking at a real 3-D board. It was very hard to "see" the board and visualize things. I definitely need to work more OTB, likely when I go over my games.

Thanks for the congrats, all. It was a lot of fun. I even won 70 bucks. :)

1/28/2007 10:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you are making money! Well done.

1/29/2007 04:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It wasn't until my third game that I felt comfortable looking at a real 3-D board"

Yeah! Something tells me i am going to have some adjustment problems as well when facing a real board. Up untill now (apart from the games that got me into this game), i've only been facing a computer screen.

1/29/2007 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Montse said...

A 3D board is definitely different than a screen board. Don't forget the size it does matter. Not only that you must have felt the adrenaline and the emotional block with all those people staring at you. No clear thinking, I know the feeling. Just ignore them, and if it bothers you go for Kramink's scientific approach - a real toilet move. It might help.

1/29/2007 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Montse: yes, with all the people watching (lots of punk kids rooting for their friend) I got very nervous. Not in a good way, either. I wanted to tell them to go away :)

1/29/2007 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Looks like all the Knights are doing well in their tourneys!

1/29/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats! nice to see you taking your first step toward your GM norm 8)

1/29/2007 08:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Thanks for the congrats, all. It was a lot of fun. I even won 70 bucks"

Screw poker! Just keep signing up for chess tourneys and you'll be swimming in money before you know it ;-)

So whatcha gon' do with it?

1/29/2007 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Edwin: I bought a nicer set of chess pieces to use for home study. I'll bring my 10 dollar pieces to tournaments :)

1/30/2007 09:14:00 AM  

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