After Eastern Class earlier this year, OTB chess took a backseat, while work ramped up. I still did my correspondence chess praxis as per usual.
Correspondence Chess Praxis
Below are a couple of miniatures from a correspondence chess CCLA section played on the ICCF server. You can view the section here. I have one loss, four wins, and one game still in progress (I'm about to win an exchange). For the record, my loss was a great example of lazy, sloppy play on my part. I "woke up" in my other games.
The first example is a rout of the opponents King in the center:
The second is opponent hesitation punished with a Queenside attack. I'm still analyzing this game. I have some comments from other players at MetroWest CC. If you have comments, please send them in:
MetroWest CC June 2011 -- Round 2
The object of this post however is to get back in the saddle with my OTB play. I will be playing at the Continental Open in Sturbridge MA, and would like to have an even better performance than at Eastern Class earlier this year. Below is my June 2011 Round 2 game played at MetroWest CC:
Here is the un-annotated game, followed by:
- My thoughts during the game
- My home analysis
- What Fritz said...
Please note that the game was "reconstructed" from approximately move 64 on. The major piece movements are there, but there is a mystery on 68.Rd7, why didn't the White King capture the pawn?
My Thoughts During The Game
Since I have been reading a ton of Silman, plus doing tactics when I can (skills and drills), I was in good spirits, a bit of good nervous energy, and looking forward to the game. I hadn't been to the MetroWest CC in a while (although still doing my volunteer activities in the background), and I looked forward to a good old fashioned chess battle! I found my opponent, Clark Ewer. We used to play each other a while ago, and during the late 90's we sometimes rode the commuter rail together. I'll highlight the points in the game where I thought I had to make a major decision. As opposed to the points where I really needed to make a decision - which are hopefully highlighted in my home analysis and with Fritz assistance below this section. As usual, your comments are welcome:
- 2.Nf3 - "Either (a) he does not know the French and is trying to throw me off, or; (b) he does know the French and this is some killer line". Of course this is all crap. I should just play what I think should be played to the best of my ability. I played 2...d5 seeking a French, knowing it'll likely go into an Exchange Variation.
- 5. Bd3 - "Hmmm... now we can break symmetry, and possibly I'll be a fraction of a tempo to the better", and played 5...Bg4 prompting 6. Be2. I get a tempo back.
- 10.Ne5 - "Gees, I mentally prepared for this, but why does a Knight on e5 feel so oppressive?". Of course more crap. Brush it off, and start exchanging to relieve the cramp.
- 15. Qd2 - "Feels quiescent. I think I've heard that word used before in chess books". The "pawn chain" indicates I should play on the King-side. I decided to try and induce a weakness with 15...Qc7.
- 19. g3 - "I'm conflicted. Am I in a better position (because of the pressure on e-file) or can he blockade, and maybe this is a draw?". You don't win by resigning, so I continued to put maximum pressure down the e-file with 19...Rae8.
- 23.Kh2 - "Hmmm, so I contradict myself (lose focus on the e-file pressure) and find out I'm making no progress with direct action against the King". I think here I'm losing the plot, and can't figure out how to assess the position and formulate a coherent plan. Then I follow-up with 23...f5 thinking "if my opponent exchanges, I get a passed pawn". This line of reasoning is faulty and violates Silman's guidelines. Never wish that your opponent will make a good move for you! Each move must be judged on it's merit for what it does for your position.
- 27.Rxe4 - "Wow, my opponent did exchange, and now I get a passed pawn! But... with which pawn should I capture?". DOH. I mentally debated between taking with the d-pawn (which I thought made me vulnerable to a d-pawn push), and the f-pawn which concedes a King-side pawn majority to my opponent. I decided to take with the f-pawn to reduce counter play with the d-pawn. 27...fxe4.
- 30.f5 - "Am I going to regret taking with the f-pawn and leaving White with a King-side pawn majority?". Such are decisions in the rear-view mirror. I decide to not mull on the past, but look ahead. 30...Rf6.
- 36.Rh1 - "Why am I still fooling around with direct action on the King, when I should be nursing my protected passed pawn?". Re-deploy. 36...Qe7.
- 42.Re3 - "I'm thoroughly blocked. I need to either go around (attack from behind) which is not practical, or open up another file to assist.". 42...Qg5.
- 46.Qe5 - "I now have an open file adjacent to the file my protected passed pawn is on. If I trade Queens am I in a superior endgame? Or is this yet another Rook/Pawn endgame that is drawn?". Without answering that basic question in detail, I played 46...Qf6.
- 49.Ke3 - "Hmmm... Should I super-activate my Rook with 49...Rf1?". Nah. Play on. 49...h6.
- 57.Rc3 - "Wow, I wish I activated my Rook earlier. I'm getting more passive each move". 57...Rc6.
- 63.Ke3 - "I need to try to activate my Rook, clear the King out a blockade position of my protected passed pawn". 63...Rc6.
- 67.Ke5 - "White's King blocks any attack by his Rook on my e-pawn. It's now or never...". 67...e3.
- 73.d5 - "One Rook vs. two pawns. No I need to work for a draw". 73...Rc3+
- 74.Kb7 - "Gift! Now I can get a draw". 74...Rc5
My Home Analysis
The game viewer below has my game analysis, with comments and variations in the viewer. Variations are in blue, and comments are displayed in the comment window, directly below the board, in the game viewer. In the comment viewer, you can see forward/backward VCR controls. Use those to quickly scan where I made comments. The current move is highlighted in yellow.
What Fritz Said...
Fritz analysis highlights are in the list below, tactical comments in red:
- Game is even up to 10...Bxe2
- Black has advantage starting at 16...Nf6
- Black's advantage continues through 27.Rxe4
- 28.g4?? blunder, allowing 28...Bxf4
- 28...Qf5? Black still has advantage, but missed tactical opportunity
- 29.Bg3 Black still has advantage
- 42...Qg5 Black has slight advantage
- 46.Qe5 Black still has slight advantage. Instead of 46...Qf6 (game) Fritz suggests 46...Re8 keeping the Queens on the board, and maintaining a Black advantage
- 47.Qxf6, game is equal (same as home analysis)
- 51...Kg5, Black has advantage, due to 51.Re3
- After 53.Re3, Black had an opportunity for 53...b5 for a major advantage
- 54.gxh5 Black still has slight advantage, dwindling to equal
- 65...Rc3?? Blunder. Fritz suggests 65...Rb6 as keeping equal game
- 66.Kf4 White has big advantage
- 68.Rd7 Black should capture pawn with King. I'm not sure if this is an error in reconstructing the game
- 68.Kg3, Fritz suggests 68...e2, Black with a big advantage
- 70...e2, Black has big advantage
- 71...e=Q?? equalizes. Blunder, Fritz suggests 71...Re3 preserving a small advantage
- 72.Rxe1 Equal
My thoughts during the game, home analysis and Fritz all highlight gaps in my understanding, as well as momentary tactical lapses. My goal is to continue to use this as a praxis technique, and to show improvement over time. As usual comments and critiques are welcome!