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...the harder they fall.

The first round of any Swiss tournament matches the top half of the field against the bottom and, as a result, there are many unequal pairings. If chess ratings were set in stone the result should really be 1-0 all the way down to the midpoint but it doesn't usually happen that way and we expect a few draws and an upset or two where an up-and-coming David manages to bounce his pebble off the cranium of some modern Goliath.

The same thing can happen in a chess.com tournament when, by necessity, there is a wide range of experience. The trick is to play carefully and confidently, because Goliath makes his share of mistakes.

The games I've selected here are taken from the “Biggest Upset” posted in my own recent chess.com tournaments. Generally speaking, they aren't shown for their excellence but because a lower rated player had a satisfying win.

In the first game there were 430 rating points between bjmin and his higher-rated opponent, and the game went pretty much as you'd expect. Mr No-Name was having a lovely time gobbling up pawns and exposing the White king. If he'd taken a moment to think before snaffling a fourth pawn he'd have won easily. But “ifs” don't cut it on the chess board and full marks go to bjmin for hanging on in a lost game and seizing his opportunity when it came.

 

The second game is one that angelor, rated 1474, won against N.N. on 1858—and that's a difference of 384 points. Angelor showed right from the outset that he was willing to get in and mix it with his stronger opponent and, if his 7...Qh4 threatening mate was easy enough to counter, it created weaknesses in White's position that Angelor was later able to exploit. His willingness to castle long, right under the nose of the marauding queen, left him in control of the open d-file; White's attempts to shore up the king-side weaknesses converted this to a permanent advantage. By the time White had played 24.Bg5 attacking the d8 rook there was blood on the board and none of it belonged to Black. A very nice exploitation of open lines.

 

Here's an upset of Biblical proportions where BexterDogg, rated 1293 defeated an opponent on 2285—near enough to 1,000 points difference. It's easy enough to see what happened. NN intended to play 10.Nf3 winning a piece for the knight protects mate and attacks the bishop while discovering an attack on the queen by the c1 bishop. If the queen moves to a square that defends the bishop she is still unable to recapture because if 11.Nxe5 Qxe5 12.Re1 pins the queen. We've all done it—moved the wrong piece, hit the Submit button, and recognised the blunder a heartbeat too late. All we can do then is hope that our opponent suffers an attack of chess blindness or neuronepaenia and fails to capitalise on our misfortune. It's not often we get that lucky.

 

 

Comments


  • 4 years ago

    Mr_Majestic98

    yeah , right it is a great blog ,thank you ,dozy

  • 4 years ago

    proKnight98

    lol picture :)

  • 4 years ago

    1chessking

    trust me, I am not a king at chess.

  • 4 years ago

    Dozy

    1chessking: this is a great blog.  even great players are allowed to have a bad game.

    From a chessking that has to be a royal endorsement!  Wink

    And you're right, of course. Anybody can blunder.

  • 4 years ago

    1chessking

    this is a great blog.  even great players are allowed to have a bad game.

  • 4 years ago

    Dozy

    mynd_zye: you forgot to include my two turn based games with the NM

    My apologies, mynd_zye. Had they cropped up in the tournaments I looked at I'm sure they'd have been there. I even left out a few of my own games that would have qualified.

    But congrats on your choice of names. It's clever!

  • 4 years ago

    mynd_zye

    you forgot to include my two turn based games with the NM

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    mathijs: That second game was rather nice. I think black missed an even more satisfying win, though: 25...hxg3! 26.Rxh3 g2 and there's no convincing way to cover the mating promotion: 27.Qe2 g1=Q+! 28.Qf1 Qxf1 29.Kxf1 Rxh3 30.Kg1 Rdh8 and mate in two more moves.

    That's very nice, mathijs. I don't think I'd have found it either. Let's face it, I didn't! Thanks for the input.

  • 5 years ago

    mathijs

    That second game was rather nice. I think black missed an even more satisfying win, though: 25...hxg3! 26.Rxh3 g2 and there's no convincing way to cover the mating promotion: 27.Qe2 g1=Q+! 28.Qf1 Qxf1 29.Kxf1 Rxh3 30.Kg1 Rdh8 and mate in two more moves.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    Sbo: Wow I really liked your article. Hahaha to the last gameLaughing.

    Thanks, Sbo. They're always fun...when they happen to somebody else!

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    demetrios 18: this is not an upset, opponents made huge blunders and thats why they lost.  What I call an impressive win is beating an IM who doesnt blunder in a game but makes a small inaccuracy which he mistakes for a winning position and then I suprise him, Now thats a BIG win ; )

    Semantics, demetrios. You may be right but I'll bet each of these wins upset the opponent. But if you don't them labelled as "upsets" you'll have to take it up with chess.com for they're posted, in each case, as "biggest upset" in the relevant tournaments.

    However I certainly take your point that it's more satisfying to outplay a much stronger player who is playing reasonably well. I've had one of those occasionally. Unfortunately my only win against a titled player, a WIM, under tournament conditions (the only games that count, really) was spoiled because she thought our 600+ rating difference guaranteed her an easy game and was a little careless.

    Thanks for commenting.

     

     

  • 5 years ago

    Sbo

    Wow i really liked your article. Hahaha to the last gameLaughing.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    pajobi: i really liked this article. It gives me hope!

    Hope springs eternal, pajobi. Lucky wins aren't as satisfying as outplaying an opponent but they can generate a lot of laughter. (And I've been on both sides of that Undecided )

    noodlehead: Tell that Japanese thank you for me.

    I thought it was a good line at the time.  That was about 1991 and shortly after that I was retrenched. I don't think it was because I was the only member of the staff barracking for the Dragons but I can't be sure.

    But they were good sports about it. When one guy visited Japan on a business trip he brought me back a hapi jacket and a shoulder bag with the Dragons' logo on them.

    (Incidentally, if you ever saw the Tom Selleck film Mr Baseball, the Japanese team he coached in it were the Chunichi Dragons.)

  • 5 years ago

    noodlehead710

    Biorhythms!!  That's the best answer I've ever heard to such a question!  Tell that Japanese thank you for me, I can't wait for the opportunity to use that explanation.

  • 5 years ago

    pajobi

    i really liked this article. It gives me hope!

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    Fishes:  Today was the first day of this tournament and a 14 seed upset a 3. Thats a massive deal.

    You're right, Fishes. Everybody loves to see the underdog get up, especially if the overdog should have had an easy victory.

    No, I don't follow the college basketball; living in Oz puts me a bit away from the scene. However your "upset" reminds me of an upset in the Japanese baseball league a few years ago.

    Next to the Americans, the Japanese are the worlds keenest baseball fans and when I was working for the Tomen Corporation all our Japanese staff were supporting the Hanshin Tigers who lost their final game (and with it, the championship) to the Chunichi Dragons who were trailing in last place at the time. I asked one of the Japanese guys how it could have happened and he just shrugged, and said, "Biorhythms!"

    It's a thought.

  • 5 years ago

    Fishes

    Everyone loves to cheer for the underdog!

    These games are a great example of a phrase my dad always used to tell me when I was outmatched at anything "That's why they play the game". I'm not so sure if you watch college basketball, Dozy, but basically you have 64 teams ranked 1 - 16. Today was the first day of this tournament and a 14 seed upset a 3. Thats a massive deal. Had everyone just gone by seeding, then the 3 would have won without a contest. I guess thats what makes upsets so appealing, their unpredictability.

    Great games.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    jerry2468 / TiiK_ToK: Glad you liked them.

                                                                  *

    NrthrnKnght: Ive had blunders lately because Iam babysitting and not paying attention but...oh well thats how it goes.

    I can understand that, Sir Knight, but I never had the problem. We raised five kids but I didn't learn to play the game until after they were born. I've been trying to make up for it ever since.

                                                                   *

    ivanx00: I accepted but then asked why did he offer the draw when he was going to easily win on time. His response was just great: 'This has been the most interesting game I have played today...and I would really hate to see you loose on time.'

    A nice story, ivan, and that kind of generosity is something we don't often see over the chess board. Thanks for sharing it.

  • 5 years ago

    ivanx00

    I once was in the last round of an open tournament playing a higher rated opponent. I have to admit that when I sat down, I was very frustrated since I had lost all my previous games. As I furiously played the game, I got into a position which I considered that it favored me and I could gain a pawn advantage. After calculating the position for way tooooooo long, I proceded with the attack and carry on with my pawn advantage to the endgame. Unfortunately, the ending of 2 pawns vs 1 where I had a positional advantage required more time than what I had on my clock to win the game. As I was struggling to make moves before my flag fell, my opponent who had PLENTY of time in his clock requested a draw. Due to the circumstances I accepted but then asked why did he offer the draw when he was going to easily win on time. His response was just great: 'This has been the most interesting game I have played today...and I would really hate to see you loose on time.' Then he added: 'But make sure to practice with a clock in hand from now on...because you will not get this chance again'.

    Today, that is one of my favorites games....even though I only got a draw.

  • 5 years ago

    TiiK_ToK

    wow...blunders...

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