Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tournament report

I played in a tournament yesterday in Raleigh, NC. Blogger luminary loomis was there, so I had my first in-person meeting with a blogger. That was cool. Loomis kicks ass at chess. I was watching him play an endgame and I was sure he was dead. His opponent had all of his major pieces aimed at Loomis' King, which was seemingly protected only by a porous pawn barrier. But talking to him afterwards, he had it all calculated out.

I scored one loss and two draws. Here's a little rundown on my games....

Game 1: Draw, as white, against 1622 player. This was ridiculously fun. I played a gambit against his French and blew open the position with a gnarly attack, but I had about 3 minutes left in the endgame and started playing stupid blitz and he got the draw. To my chagrin, loomis was watching and afterwords kindly explained the fifteen ways from sundown I could have won the game.

Game 2: Draw against 1212 as black. I was up a free bishop by move 10, so I proceeded to mindlessly trade everything, thinking I'm ahead I'll trade everything off and the endgame will be an easy win. Well, I implemented that strategy, except for the win part.

With a lone Bishop it turns out things aren't so simple. He let me trade down, put long and strong pawn chains on the opposite color, and worked the draw. Well played by my opponent. It was my first Caro-Kann in a slow game, which was exciting. It is a great opening.

Game 3: Loss against 1506 as black. 1. e4 c6. He sits there thinking for a few minutes, and plays 2. d3. He develops very slowly, but then unleashes a crazy attack after lots of maneuvering. I asked about his second move afterwords, and he said, "I thought and realized I didn't feel like dealing with the Caro-Kann today, so played d3." OK, that's impressive. For one, he has more than one trick in his bag. Second, it made me happy that e4 players tend to hate the Caro-Kann. I know I do. That's one reason I'm playing it.

I'd post the games, but my opponents obsessively read my blog and do tons of preparation before they play me. Either that, or I'm lazy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I played a gambit against his French

What gambit whas that? Wing gambit? Well i do anyway. Against both the French and the Sicilian... That is, IF i play 1.e4.

He develops very slowly, but then unleashes a crazy attack after lots of maneuvering.

Probably a King's Indian Attack.

Anyway, nice report!

10/13/2008 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger likesforests said...

Loomis is back... how excellent! I hope he'll post a report soon. Given your opponents, and your new opening, this is a good showing, yes? :)

10/13/2008 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

CMoB: The Alapin. Yes, it was the KIA.

LF: Yes, it was a decent-enough performance, given my rating is below 1100 right now! I am bummed as hell those two draws would have been wins if I were better in the endgame. Time to get my Silman pgn project going again. (Those that have emailed me, I really do plan on getting that going again!).

10/13/2008 01:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say that i am a bit dissapointed. First you draw a 1622 player and in the next game you cant win against a 1212 player, even when you are a piece up???

I guess you had a shortcircuit in your chess thinking wiring somewhere in that second game. But to pinpoint where you went astray one has to see the game.

But then again, at our level its all about having fun. And since you met Loomis i guess you had lots of fun so one can say it was a weekend well spend.

10/13/2008 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger Frank Sträter said...

2.d3 is not that uncommon against the CK. Anand played it against Karpov in the candidates final, probably for the same reason :)

10/13/2008 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

CT: it was a lack of knowledge as much as anything, which is good because it is easy to fix. Luckily for patzers sometimes learning basic things like 'bishop vs pawn endgames are easy to draw' is enough.

Fier: yes, it is fairly common. I was booked up two moves in (i.e., I knew to play d5 and e5, but after that I was on my own). I think once I get a handle on how to deal with it, I will be happy to play against it as black because white is saying, "Here you go, here's the center." I had spend literally around two minutes on this variation the night before, just tying up loose ends. Luckily that was one of the ends.

10/13/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

One thing that bugged me, when I congratulated the 1622 on pulling out the draw, he just scowled and was like "I played horribly." Sort of lame I thought. Looking at it after, and analyzing with Fritz, I played up to his level, not vice versa. At least when I was using all that time on my clock. Once things dripped down to low time, I started playing like a shithead again.

10/13/2008 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Loomis said...

BDK, I totally agree with your assessment of your first opponent's postgame attitude. He was very lucky to draw and could have congratulated you on a game well played.

The good news is that playing technically won games is one of the easier things to learn. Since you had technically won games against 1600 and 1200 players, your 1100 rating will soon be a thing of the past.

Nice to meet you (again).

10/13/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Phaedrus said...

I was troubled for year with time trouble. I got rid of it when I started analyzing my games with a chess engine. I used to write down the time I used for every move. One day I decided to see if there was a relationship between the engines evaluation and the time I had used for the move. The results were shocking. In some games it looked like that thinking long even produced below average.

I now use the following rules for the allocation of time:
1. I never ever take longer than 20 minutes for a single move, and after 15 minutes I alarm myself and reconfirm that a move has to be made in 5 minutes.
2. I make sure I have 15 minutes left for the last 5 moves before the time controll.

Preventing time trouble is good for you rating and your blood pressure.

10/13/2008 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Loomis: thanks. It was fun, despite the fact that I locked my keys in my car and was attacked by a flock of bird-bats. :)

Phaedrus: that sounds like an interesting experiment. One thing I find is once I've thought more than ten minutes (fifteen for a really tough position), my evaluation of which move to play almost never changes. I spend the extra time analyzing the variations, but typically that doesn't lead to a different judgment about which move to play.

This tournament is 60 0 (or usually 55 5), so there isn't the luxury of a lot of deep thinks.

But regardless, I need to come up with some heuristics to help me with time management. And also, I had 3 minutes left and was clearly ahead. Since it was 3 5 effectively, I could have stopped with the crazy bullet mode of playing, and actually taken 20 seconds or so to think about the position. Even that short think likely would have let me win that one game! I was so scared of losing on time I played like a jackanape.

10/13/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Chigoran had a nice approach to the French that delayed if not prevented the shmuck from playing 2...d5. He played 2.Qe2 everytime someone attempted the french. He fianchettos the King B and plays a for control of the center.

As for the lame-ass 2.d3 Caro-freak. Meh! I play e5! because the wuss deserves it. Then, a d5 follows and if he exchanges not only am I left with the pinnacle of central Pawn domnination with pawns on e5 and d5 but I now have an open c-file to play with PLUS not more problem bishop ( that blues I was telling you about in the other post... well, this is turns into an amped up power chord driven rock anthum ... in true metallica-style with growling lyrics menat to leave the white pieces quivering for shelter)

10/13/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP: that's what I played, but eventually got killed. I'm analyzing game 2 tonight will look at that one tonight or tomorrow.

10/13/2008 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

I'll bet you tried to steer the game back to a Caro-K feel after playing 2...e5. It turns into a whole different kind of beast/song/game. Sticking with the principles is important.

He's hoping it will trip you up and it you play to make it "look" like a C-K, white gets a strong King side attack. It's all about controlling d4 when he plays 2.d3. First one to control it, gets the spot light( space).

10/13/2008 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I had no idea what I was doing frankly. I don't really know enough about the opening to try to play a typical CK! :) I've been playing it a week now. I focused on the e5 square, though, not d4 as you suggest, so that is a helpful bit of information.

After a little more lazy play with the CK I'll dig into the actual strategy and lines a bit more (though luckily I had studied the classical lines quite a few moves deep and that helped me a lot in my drawn 1212 game where I went a Bishop up).

10/13/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Jorge said...

Thank you very much; I have placed a link on my blog too...

10/14/2008 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger wang said...

Cool, congrats on your tournament results. Is this your first OTB tourney? I can't remember you posting about another one before today. Whatever congrats and good to see you back.

10/14/2008 02:31:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Past tournament reports here and here and probably elsewhere.

10/14/2008 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Polly said...

Time pressure is tough to deal with. Not only is there the problem of trying to find a good move in a short amount of time, there is also the aspect of trying to stay calm while thinking quickly. The 5 second delay is very useful as long as you remember you have that 5 seconds.

Someone watching me go crazy in time pressure once told me to count to 5 and see how long 5 seconds really is. I still don't always pace myself self right, but it's something to think about. See what 5 seconds feels like.

10/16/2008 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Polly: that is a really good idea! It is not all that short a period of time, to my surprise. I can move and hit the clock with time to spare. Dag.

10/17/2008 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Phaedrus said...

another idea is to set the clock for one minute, and than play at lightning speed to see how many moves you can play in a minute. You will be surprised!

10/21/2008 04:39:00 AM  

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