Friday, April 08, 2005

 

Rating Intimidation

A young player I know sent out his game, which quickly ended in a repetitive check draw. He wrote wondering, if he should have played on. He was white rated 1250 facing his 1688 rated opponent. Here is the final position

Here's what I wrote:

Of course you should have played on! I hope you weren’t intimidated by the rating gap. The position is crying out for it to be played. In a position like that, there HAS to be something, even if it only involves picking up a pawn or two and then trading down to a won endgame.

Here’s my 2 p analysis:

17. exf5 Nxf5 18. Ne4+ Ke7 (18…Kf7 19. Qh7 Ng7 20. Rh6) 19. Qxg6. Now Rh7+ is threatened. You have a lot of possibilities. The knight is only protected by the bishop and the bishop is only protected by the king. Allowing Rxh7 would pick up the bishop. If 19….Qe8 which may be black’s best move here, 20. Rh7+ anyway and 20… Kd8. If 20…Rh7 21. Qg5+ Kd7 22. Nf6+ wins the queen. After 21. Qg5+, you are up a clear pawn and his position is in shambles.

If 17… Bxf5, but 18. Nf3 Rh8 19. Qg5+ Kf7 (19…Ke6 20. g4 traps the bishop) 20. O-O-O and you have a substantially better position.

Ratings can either be intimating or make you relax too much. I think it’s best not to know if you can. In high school, I played a teenager sensation who was a master and I was so intimidated I lost before I even moved a piece. On the other hand, I recently played a 1300 and although I actively tried not to be overconfident, I still didn’t evaluate as much as I should have, so I got in a bad position. Luckily I was able to win, but it wasn’t pretty.

Play for fun first, winning second, and rating third. Always be eager to try to beat a higher rated player.

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