Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ouch. A painful loss as black

It was in a game for the King Assassins in the 45/45 league. If I had won, it would have put us up 2-0 in this round. As it stands now, we are tied 1-1 so the next two games will decide this round, and whether we win our division. The game, largely unannotated, is here. I was sure I had him starting around move 37, but he defended very well against a bunch of potential tactics and ended up winning. I Fritzed it, and while I had the right plan (push pawns) after move 38, I didn't find the right specific moves. This is one of those games that makes me think, "Why do I keep torturing myself with this %$#!-ing game?!"

Circle 4.2 is coming along well. I should finish it within three weeks.


Blogger Temposchlucker said...

SEVEN (!) pawn moves in the the first eight moves??! If I was your chess mom I sure would know what the subject of my nagging would be!

5/27/2007 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

You are right. He is going to give me a serious smackdown for those wing pawn pushes to meet threats that didn't exist :)

5/27/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Loomis said...

An expert player (former student of Heisman coincidentally) once told me "pawns get weaker when you push them." I didn't understand this at all when he said it, but he's a good player so I've thought about it a lot. My first instinct is that pawns get stronger as you push them -- they get closer to promoting and control squares deeper in the opponents territory. So what the heck does it mean they get weaker!?

As they go forward, they tend to lose the comfort of their buddies. They no longer get to hang out with their pawn friends and pawns with no friends tend to disappear pretty quickly. This is my best explanation of "pawns get weaker when you push them." For some reason your game reminded me of that saying. Pushing pawns is often the right way, but you have to be careful about it.

5/27/2007 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

I'm actually analyzing this game as an exercise...something I should do more often. I took some notes and I'm having Fritz go through it as we speak to see if it agrees with my impressions. I'll post or email you an annotated game at some point. Of course, I'm no expert, so take anything I think with healthy skepticism. What got me interested in the game, though, was how many of the moves just felt wrong on general principles.

Things that jumped out of me:
-not getting developed (suggested reading: Emms Discovering Chess Openings
-too many pawn moves (already addressed). Maybe read Heisman's P-R3 article, or the unpinning section of My System?
-issues with controlling the centre (currently one of my obsessions, because of My System and some traing I've been doing...will be topic of a blog entry at some point)
-strategic issues (planless play, exchanging your light bishop, missed opportunities to create weaknesses).

There were some tactical issues, but that game struck me as largely a problem with opening and positional play. A lot of it on both sides seemed to be pushing pawns about and looking for tricks like knight forks. I kept thinking of that recommendation (Silman's or Heisman's, can't remember) of asking: "What wonderful thing does this move do for my position?"

5/27/2007 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Loomis: especially bad is the weak squares they create, and this game has a nice example of an extreme weakness on the f file I created for fear of a tactical threat on my kingside. Pawn pushes are like marriage in the midevil Catholic church: there is no going back!

GP: yes, lots of positional weaknesses (and of course crappy early pawn pushes: at the time I thought they were required tactically, but that was just straight out miscalculation on my part: there was no serious danger).

It was not one of my better games positionally (typically I don't create such glaring weaknesses like that). I know the main principles of opening development, and just didn't follow them well this game because I kept responding to phantom threats (one of my biggest problems my coach keeps on me about: I typically put myself into a passive position that way).

I always like to learn about my games from better players, so if you'd be willing to look it over and offer advice that would be great. I haven't analyzed it yet closely and annotated it, and will do so tomorrow sometime and perhaps post it.

At this point, since 95% of my games are still decided by tactics, I'm purposefully taking a superficially tactical view of the game. My thought process is now geared almost solely toward material. I have needed to do this to counteract a bad tendency I had to overlook material fluctuations, worrying more about weak squares and pawns than losing pieces and pawns! I am finally getting on the right track with the whole heirarchy of threats in my thinking, and if I ever stabilize I'll start thinking more explicitly about working on my positional play again. I look at it as a sign of progress that my main weaknesses in this game were more positional in character: no howling material blunders is big progress.

That said, I obviously want to avoid positional blunders and play well positionally, to develop well in the opening, have a good plan: by the time I finish these rather narrowly focused tactical intensive-care-unit of the Circles, I should have more time to focus on the subtleties of positional ideas if I stick with any serious study plan at all (I'm kind of following Stean's progress from my previous post, and getting to the point where I am not horribly worse tactically than similarly-rated opponents: I hope to get the point where most of my mistakes are positional (positional ideas are easier than tactical for my mind: more based on principles than on crunching through variations (ugh, work) and recognizing patterns (ugh, building up pattern recognition takes tons of time and effort)).

5/28/2007 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger hisbestfriend said...

Ok, I am going to be a bit less of a chess mom.

This isn't horrible except for the result, and the late tactical error that you made. You would have had a much easier game at the end if you simply take the knight with the H rook on move 42. That move was fully within your skills, and it ultimately cost you.

As to the beginning. It kinda goes with the territory, a lot of it just seemed like the meeting of styles. The only thing that I noticed is that you seem to have an unnatural fear of Bg5. You must have been abused pretty good with that move. You should play a bunch of games were you don't play h3 just so that you can better deal with it. You will shed that in the future, but it really isn't costing you too much at this level.

But ultimately, yes the mistake you made here, is a real chess mistake. Not a tactical error, or a positional error, but simply a basic abc error. I think the game actually showed fairly decent board vision. But you absolutely must play real chess every move. As Mr. Heisman says, that is probably worth 200 strength points.

As to the chess mom stuff. Stylistically, you simply have to play better tactically if you are going to play so defensively. It is simply true that playing aggressively will generally result in more wins at this level, due to more errors by your opponent. This is not to say that you can't be successful with your style, just you are going to get less opportunities to take advantage, so you must take advantage everytime.

5/28/2007 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

If you discipline yourself to make only 2 pawn moves in the opening, you will always find yourself well-developed. An opponent who doesn't do the same will always get into trouble is my experience.

Once I played a game against a 2100+ player. He started out with 6 pawn moves as white. So I had 4 pieces developed against him none. Which I saw as a sign that it was time to sac a knight for two pawns and open lines. Leaving me still with 3 developed pieces against 0. I won eventually in 31 moves.

5/28/2007 02:57:00 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I echo the comments about development. If you are tempted to move a pawn - especially one other than the c,d,e or f pawn in the opening - think very carefully about whether you really need to do it. Until all your pieces are developed - including rooks - then pawn moves should only be played to clear lines to let your pieces to develop, respond to direct threats, or create useful threats of their own.

5/28/2007 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

hisbestfriend: that is how I feel about the game.

As for my paranoia: I had a really awful loss last week because I didn't protect the g5 square, so I'm a bit paranoid. If opening were my biggest weakness I would be very happy as that is easy to remedy, perhaps the easiest thing in chess to learn quickly :)

At the command of my coach, I usually try to follow the following four opening principles:

1. Move only the d/e pawns in the opening (unless absolutely tactically required, which it almost never is).
2. Knights before Bishops.
3. Develop K-side pieces before Q-side.
4. Move each piece only once.

While it looks like I violated 1, at the time I thought I didn't because I thought it was tactically required: that was my real mistake that I need to work on.

OK, no more on the openings.

5/28/2007 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

If you have a gmail address I can send a compressed database with some analysis (includes an engine tournament at a key endgame position). I'm

I believe in the supremacy of tactics, but what struck me here was candidate selection. I believe people our level need just enough knowledge of strategy to help choose good candidate moves when tactics alone can't identify the best one. I also believe that rather than read a dozen books on strategy, you can learn the basics (say, Silman, My System, and Kmoch) and then study annotated master games instead. You then develop your "spidey sense" of what moves are good and bad. I find a lot of times, when I play a bad move, it just feels bad.

Someday I'll have to put my money where my mouth is and post a tournament game of my own. Someday... :D I really should check into leagues that play longer ICC controls. After I move to the East Coast I should be able to play tournament games regularly...looking forward to that.

5/28/2007 12:24:00 PM  

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