Thursday, October 10, 2013

DHLC Swiss 8 Round 3 "Nothing to see here, just blundering from a good attack to a loss!"

In my Art of War team game in Swiss 8 Round 3, I was paired with a very gracious opponent, romanic666. He won the game by being the most persistent and consistent. Despite the fact that I had a great attack going at one point, he persistently defended, and waited for the (almost) inevitable moment when I graciously give him the point. Well, actually I Blundered, actually blundered twice in a row. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Sicilian Grand Prix
We can start with the Sicilian Grand Prix. I'm following the Lev Alburt book. Sort of. I need to devote more time to the openings, but my work schedule (especially through October) prevents me from any in depth study. Nonetheless, I can try and learn the opening somewhat, and apply myself.
An early experience with the Grand Prix, just after I got the book is from the Eastern Class (CCA) tournament in Sturbridge MA, in Spring 2012. Note the complete lack of knowledge of what I was supposed to do. I ended up in a fight over some center squares (not inherently bad, but still), instead of a fiery Kingside attack.

Later as I tried to understand the nature of the opening, I exhibited some signs of attacking. A good example is from the DHLC Medieval "Storm the Castle" competitions. I toss everything at Docterrific, trying to create some initiative for an attack. At times, my position was worse, much worse (due to sac'ing so much material), but by move 23.Rxf6 the position equalized, but it was hard for me to realize that. I just knew I needed to keep pressing. I was also short on time, and wanting to rush what shouldn't be rushed. 23...Reb8 24.Nxe7+ Kh8, and now simply 25.Ng6 is probably a good continuation, but no... I played 25.Rxb8+?? and the attack fizzled, and I ended up losing due to "positional debt". In the process of attacking, I left many dangling unanswered threats that ended up materializing, because now the game will go long instead of me checkmating my opponent. In this case the positional debt is a pawn that I could have taken, but instead it gets away and promotes. The point is that I build up a big attack, burn most of my time down, then the attack fizzles. Much of the time suck beforehand is due to unfamiliar positions. On the otherhand, if I try to speed up my play in openings, I end up crashing and burning. I have other blogs that detail those confused adventures, for example here.

 And now for today's game. Similar pattern. I take enough time so that I make it through the opening in half way decent shape, and can then coordinate for an effective attack. but then the lack of time weighs the game down. 

In this case but I had no time left, and had to use the water closet real bad... (true grit). Check out White's position after 24.Rxf7, not bad, actually pretty decent. I kept it up for  a few moves, through Black's 26...Kh8. Then, I had less than 2 min, and needed the water closet in a serious way. What to do? My choice was to make a move that looked great for 1 sec. 27.Nxg6+??
Objectively speaking, the sac fails, however the position is still ok for White because there are other resources, such as 28.Rf7 and try to regroup. However, after realizing I couldn't just play 28.Qh5+ followed by mate (pesky g-pawn), I was bummed out, still focused on the h-file and played a beauty of a move 28.Qe4?? My good position couldn't take two (??) moves in a row and survive. I was toast soon after. On the bright side, I got to eventually use the water closet... Sometimes I think chess is a diuretic...
Next chess goal: Now that I can make it through an opening, and even into a middlegame in halfway decent shape, I need to learn how to keep an attack from fizzling! Part of that is learning the openings better (recoup time), part of that is analyzing the art of attack. Wait, isn't there a book by that name?...

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