Monday, May 23, 2005


Lackluster Results

After a couple of busy weeks, for which no chess was possible, I returned to competitive play with lackluster results. In the first round I played a rather unexciting game versus a 1625 as black. It drew, but I was the one fighting for the draw. The second game began much better for me against a 1654, but the result didn't turn out so good. Now I've had two losses in the last four games. When you lose, it's best to analyse why, not only game, but the surrounding circumstances.

I got into time trouble at the end and that's what made me lose, but what was the cause of my poor time management? Instead of working on openings, perhaps I was playing a little too much blitz on the net? I think playing blitz at time controls less than 5/0 hurts your game. Playing at these quick times disrupts your timing as well as playing any chess variants does. 5/0 blitz is good practice for openings, but you need to back it up with other studying. Playing itself, doesn't necessarily improve your game.

1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 exf4 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. d4 Nf6 6. Bc4 O-O 7. O-O Bg4 8. Qd3 c6 9. Nc3 b5 10. Bb3 b4 11. Ne4 Nxd5 12. Nxd6 Qxd6 13. Ne5 Qe6 14. Bxf4 Bf5 15. Qf3 Nd7

I thought for a while here. I looked at 16. Nxc6 Be4 17. Bxd5 Bxf3 18. Bxe6 Bxc6 19. Bb3. I thought, all that, and I would just win a pawn. Chessmaster (CM) liked it, but engines tend to go for the quick pawn. I thought that it would eleviate all the pressure and that winning with just a pawn isn't a walk in the park. However, black's b4 pawn is very weak and 20. Bd6 will fork the rook and the pawn. Something like this is hard to see when you are playing. I decided instead to bring the other rook into the game and continue putting pressure. It was still a fine move (2nd best according to CM)

16. Rae1 Nxe5 17. Rxe5 I also looked at bishop takes, but thought Bg4 was an easy way out for black. Turns out that CM likes Bxe5 much better. 17...Qg6 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qxd5 Bxc2 20. Rg5 Qd3 21. Rg3 Qe4 22. Qc4 This is played to continue to prevent the f pawn from moving. 22...a5 23. Be5 g6 24. Qc7? This was my major mistake, although it's not obvious! I thought the queen was the most ill placed pieced so I wanted to try to bring it around to f6. I was running short on time by this point though. I had about 7 minutes to my opponent's 25. While 24. Rgf3 would be winning and would have given me a score of 2.47. Instead CM calls it an even game after O-O. Sometimes, you need to create a weakness and then switch to where you are attacking. The only was to protect f6 is 24...Ra7 but 25. Bd6 would have white with a much clearer advantage.

24...Bd3 25. Qe7 Ra6! 26. Rc1 Rc6! 27. Qg5?? f6 I saw f6, but I didn't have time to realise that the rook trade on c1 first, would kill my chances to recapture his bishop. 28. Qd2 Rxc1 29. Qxc1 fxe5 0-1 There was a few more moves, but I shortly ran out of time afterwards.

I'm also including a pgn version of this game here without any comments or move anontations. I will start doing this for my games that I post and I recommend others do it as well. Although screenshots are nice, it's still hard to follow a game. If you to the "Chess Lab" site, hit the link for Load Game, then cut and paste the below, the game will be loaded for easy replay! Proper format is no "!" or "?", one space in between the number and the move, castles are with "O"as in oh, not "0" as zero.
1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 exf4 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. d4 Nf6 6. Bc4 O-O 7. O-O Bg4 8. Qd3 c6 9. Nc3 b5 10. Bb3 b4 11. Ne4 Nxd5 12. Nxd6 Qxd6 13. Ne5 Qe6 14. Bxf4 Bf5 15. Qf3 Nd7 16. Rae1 Nxe5 17. Rxe5 Qg6 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qxd5 Bxc2 20. Rg5 Qd3 21. Rg3 Qe4 22. Qc4 a5 23. Be5 g6 24. Qc7 Bd3 25. Qe7 Ra6 26. Rc1 Rc6 27. Qg5 f6 28. Qd2 Rxc1 29. Qxc1 fxe5

I think natural chess progression includes several slumps or down cycles. You'll be back in the groove before long.
I think slumps happen for a reason. Personally, I quite playing 1/0 blitz and returned to studying instead of just playing blitz online.
Hi, I've seen your blog about the juniors.Thanks for the tips. Here is another one: be stricktly with the rules. Touching a piece is moving the piece. And insist on it that they write down the game correcly. Every move.
About playing to much blitz. It is true that your results in the long games decrease dramatically because of the habit moving to fast.
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