Friday, November 09, 2007

Game, counting redux

Back from vacation, and back to blogging about my post-Circles games. Tonight I got the rust out as black playing the Scandinavian. Game is here with my novice lengthy annotations. I got lucky here. He blundered early. I think he was tired or something. A 1520 player moving quickly likely playing zombie chess plays worse than I do playing slowly. Good to know. There's hope for me yet.

I post the game only because of the elementary counting error I made on move 15. When a sequence of captures goes more than three or so half-moves into the future, I find it oh-so-easy to be lazy and evaluate the position based on a narrow search horizon: if it looks bad in such a horizon, I don't make the move (if it looks good, I analyze through to quiescience). That is an important assymmetry in my thinking I need to be wary of. Oh, I have some excuses. Partly I was a little rusty after almost a week away from chess. Partly I was worried about time (he had twice as much time as me on the clock). But the biggest reason is flat-out laziness, which will kill you in sharp positions where lots of exchanges are possible.

Note to self: move fast in quiet positions so in positions like this you can think through exchanges to quiescience. I took seven minutes thinking about an early move in a quiet position, which put me in a little bit of a time crunch, which made me abandon some of my responsibilities later in the game.

Finally, getting back to what seems like forever ago on the counting problem. I look at counting as necessary but not sufficient for competence in move selection. The most basic question for any candidate capture is 'It is safe? Will I lose material (or gain material) with this set of exchanges?' It is more basic than elementary tactics, for instance, but almost all tactics books include zero such problems. Glenn, in a nice challenge, posted examples where rudimentary counting at a single square is not sufficient. There will be tons of cases like that, of course! But there are cases like that with all elementary tactics. Don't fork his knight and bishop with your pawn if he is going to mate you in the next move. But that doesn't mean you don't need to be able to spot forks!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why people learn to meet the Scandinavian with 2.e5. It sucks! And you showed him ;-)

11/09/2007 02:08:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

This variation is known as a good variation of the french. As you know well. The reason for this is that you developed your queens bishop outside the chain. You should have a bit an idea how to play the french. In this variation it is logical to put pressure on d4. 6. ... a6 you know my reaction on such pawnmoves in the opening. Why not 6. ... Qb6 and put pressure on d4 while putting the question to the bishop? It develops a piece, it gives you an option to keep your pawnstructure intact and It gives you sometimes the option to castle long.

I noticed a little nervosity about castling early. There is no need to hurry in this position since the centre is closed, so it is a slow position. Sometimes you can even keep your king in the middle.

If you are not happy with Nh4, g6 is a better place for your bishop when he wants to trade. Leaving f5 for your knight.

If you opt for pressure on d4 then Bxf3 takes away a defender, while it leaves f5 for your knight as extra attacker of d4.

Further I noticed in this game again that you overrate the bisshoppair.

11/09/2007 05:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11/09/2007 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Ookmania: It must be because they know Scandy players will tend to hate the French so they are bringing us out of our comfort zone.

Tempo: Muchas gracias!

Thanks for pointing out the d4 weakness theme. Indeed, I think 4...cxd4 would have been better in the opening. Then d4 is backwards and weak (or whatever the jargon is with you kids these days). A real long-term weakness.

a6 was a tough decision: I considered that or Qb6. I avoided Qb6 as a classic phantom threat response.

Great comments are about the importance of the f5 square and possible maneuvers to use it to one's advantage.

It has been so long since I played this variation as black that I had forgotten many of the helpful comments on it from you and others at a previous post. I'm going to enter your comments into my Bookup file so I don't forget again!

SP: thanks I'll have a look at that (and also thanks to loomis for his comment over at the original game).

11/09/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

I have been playing 2...c5 pretty regularly now before Bf5, with reasonable success. I think to understand this opening, and I'm theorizing here, the best approach is to understand black's aspirations in a traditional French Advanced Variation. I have a promising lead on such a source. From what I've read, John Watson's Vol. 1 on understanding the openings goes through the French Advance variation explaining ideas, not just doing variation dumps.

In the end I dislike 2.e5 because it just closes the game up.

11/09/2007 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

I see you did not worry about the gift horse on move 12. I guess a case of not having to be wary of geeks bearing gifts.

Nice game!

11/09/2007 11:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your blog has been such a help to me. Thanks for introducing Practical Chess Exercises, A First Book of Morphy, the thought process, and many other things, including the Danish Gambit! This is a Danish Gambit game that I've dedicated to you.

Thanks much!

"BDK Tribute Game"

11/10/2007 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Opampman: I'm honored. That's a first, for sure :)

Wat a crazy swashbuckling game! That's what chess is all about! Screw these 1000 move games where no pieces are exchanged and all is positional maneuvering.

That game is a nice example of how much you can get away with when you have a rook and queen unfettered, with the opponent's king in the middle, even though you had much less material in the end. Good stuff.

If you ever want to book up on it, Davies Gambiteer I book is pretty helpful.

11/10/2007 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger transformation said...

BDK, fyi, my chessBase indicates this to be a B22 or 2.c3 Sicilian. I had to check, because I thought that this was some odd french, which I play as my secondary or opening B. against 1.e4, with primary of course Caro-Kann A.

Sweet the joy: winning.

And, of course, welcome back... to Tar Heal country [1].

Warm Regards, dk

[1. for Europeans: North Carolina, where the author of this post seems to live]

11/11/2007 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Pawn Shaman said...

As you know blogging has been light on this end for a while. However, I want to say I really enjoy your coining of the term Zombie chess. Its quite fitting and easy to substitute for actual training. Also your blog, along with your game play, seems to be accelerating as usual.

11/11/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

DK: I never thought I'd transpose into a version of the Sicilian! Indeed after move four it seems to be a transpositional convergence zone, resembling many an opening. Pure luck it was a win. Yesterday it happened again even more flagrantly: in a clear losing position and he blundered a Bishop.

Shaman: Thanks for the kind note. It is often a good sign in someone's life that their blogging is getting lighter!

My blog activity is much lighter for now too. One or two updates a week instead of every other day. When doing the Circles it was easier to take a break to go blogging, to procrastinate essentially :) When playing it isn't possible.

Plus, my blog was mainly to discuss the Circles. Now it's becoming an annotated game house where I will just lightly discuss thought process during the games.

11/11/2007 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

PMD: I have that book by Watson. That book almost makes me wish I played the French it is so damned good.

Polly: I indeed had to think for a minute making sure he wasn't launching Odysseus into my midst! When players rated so much higher than me (he was 1520 I was about 1430 or something) blunder I am very suspicious. But sometimes ya' just get lucky! :)

11/11/2007 11:22:00 AM  

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