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One blunder is all it takes

One blunder is all it takes.  

 

I joined a quad where I will be playing ONLY people of my own rating. 

Now, I know many of you stronger players are saying,“you need to play stronger players; it’s the only way to get better!”  I got some advice from NM Dan Heisman regarding this subject.  The majority of my games ARE against stronger players, usually MUCH stronger and I take beatings to end all beatings.  Just go check my game archive and look at my current ongoing games.  Also of note, when I lose against said players, it doesn’t upset me at all.  I like to think that I am doing my absolute best given the skills I have at this time – I’m simply not as strong as they are and I’m not as experienced.  But if I played well and still lost, it still is a victory in my book, especially if I learned from the experience.    In any event, it looked like I was going to have an opportunity to play some folks around my own playing strength so I asked NM Heisman if it was wrong for me to do that.  Dan told me that while perhaps many of my games SHOULD be against stronger players, it is also a very good idea for me to play some players around my strength.  “You need to learn how to win,” Dan told me.

 

Uh, we’re still working on that.  That is not NEARLY as easy as it might sound.  

 

Let’s recall my goals:

1.   Focus as much as possible.  Feel that I am doing my absolute best given my skill level.  I only give myself MAYBE a half point for this one.  Had I focused better, I might not have missed some things, things that I should have easily seen, even at my level. 

2.   Do NOT give the opponent an easy win. Make him work for it.   Well, I do get the full point here.  Erick said he was pulling his hair out.  

 

NEW GOAL!

3.  Forget the past.  Negativity NEVER breeds anything positive.  Each move creates a new position.  Focus on the position I SEE, not what happened before the last move.  We can’t turn back the clock.    

 

My confidence is at subzero levels.  I’m at a point now where I don’t feel I can do anything right.  This game proves it.   While I know that it is an excellent exercise to annotate games myself before having them analyzed by an engine, I DO sometimes turn to the engine to get a little bit of an idea of where to turn.  I simply look at the moves that were made during the game.  I do not examine any of the variations suggested by the engine; I simply ignore those.  I just need a basic idea of how I did.  When I do my annotation, the variations you see are MINE.  They are discoveries that I made on my own or with the help of a mentor (and as many of you know, I include the good and the bad as I do have to see sometimes why something will NOT work; in my opinion, that may be just as important as seeing a line that DOES work). 

 

According to Houdini, version 2, I had only one blunder in the entire game.  

 

That is all it took. 

 

My blunders are often fatal.   Meanwhile, Houdini pointed out at least two (or maybe it was even three... as I said, I looked VERY quickly) blunders that my opponent made.  He also had at least two “?” moves.  I didn’t have any. 

 

Yet I lost.   I guess some blunders are worse than others. 

 

This game upset me something fierce.  I can only recall being this upset after one other game.   I felt I should have won here but I didn’t.  It’s upsetting.   It also brings me to the realization that I have difficulties with a few things besides chess skills proper.  I definitely have a problem with stamina.  I was running out of steam (and time) at the end of this game.  I was very tired. I had worked all day, I’m battling fatigue as well as distractions in the form of my 11-year-old asking for help with her math homework (GCF – Good Lord. I haven’t done that in years).  In the past, I’ve had problems maintaining attention and focus as well.  In any event, I must find a way to maintain a level of concentration throughout the ENTIRE game, not just part of it.  I make no excuses for the fact that I was tired and missed something.  Cripes, I should have known better!   We are human, however, so I must bear that in mind as well.   It is what it is.  I’m forced to deal with my limitations and fight them.  

 

Worth noting, one really couldn’t ask for a more gracious and kind opponent than my opponent here, Erick.    Erick was kind.  He never rubbed it in regarding my loss.  He thanked me for the game and even sent me a trophy telling me how much he enjoyed the game and called me a “wonderful friend”.   Seriously, why are people so nice to me!!??!!   That made me smile, let me tell you.  I never EVER want my feeling badly about a game to take away from the congratulations that Erick deserves for having won.  

 

So, with all of that said, here we go.  I’ve posted my thoughts about why I did what I did, whether that be right or wrong.  

 

And for cripe’s sake, PLEASE bear in mind my absolutely PATHETIC new rating in the 800 range when commenting.  It should be obvious that I need things kept at a beginner level. 



Comments


  • 11 months ago

    Dr_Cris_Angel

    Thanks. This wasn't online, it was live. We had gone over two hours and I was battling an illness at the time. And yes, I do that tactics trainer every day! (I had to be dragged into that kicking and screaming since I hate it so much but I'm getting used to it!). Thanks for writing.

  • 11 months ago

    AcidGAz1972

    1hr 45m is too fast for online play. Also, try the tactics trainer... :)

  • 13 months ago

    Dr_Cris_Angel

    45/45.  Yes, I lost on time.  I'm VERY slow.  

  • 13 months ago

    kingscannonse3e2

    What time control was this game?

  • 13 months ago

    Dr_Cris_Angel

    Yes.... but as i said in the text, I thought I had to do something about the queen and bishop being lined up -- it wasn't until later that I understood that not only was that NOT necessary, it was foolish although Houdini didn't consider it a mistake or blunder -- but you're absoultely right about moving the knight and then castling.  Too bad I didn't recognize it then.  But as you can see, I'm rather ignorant about such things.  That's why I annotate.  I have to learn from these things, sometimes by being burned. 

    Thank you very much for commenting.  I do appreciate it. 

  • 13 months ago

    fairplaytackle

    in move 7 you should have put the knight on f6 and on move 8 castle. You where up one pawn at that point

  • 13 months ago

    Dr_Cris_Angel

    I castled when I thought I could and it turned out to be foolish. If I remember correctly, I kept wanting to castle but felt other things required my attention -- albeit my judgement was obviously not correct Thank you for commenting. :).

  • 13 months ago

    fairplaytackle

    hi chris,

    It seems to me you should have castle as soon as possible

  • 13 months ago

    fairplaytackle

    Hi chris,

     

    I use to have a rating of 1680 live chess. Now I am down to 1400 something. I didn t play for some years.

    Your oponent was playing evans gambit. you can find some instructieve video's on you tube about evans gambit. It seems to me you should have castle as soon as possible.

  • 13 months ago

    hreedwork

    @Erick, awesome video! And I really liked the bit about sportsmanship at the beginning. That is so important in chess and life in general. I sent it two a few others outside of DHLC, one of whom was having issues with an opponent spewing profanities after a loss... Too bad for that person, they will have a hard time learning, huh? Keep up the good work with your NTM series. I subscribed to it :-)

  • 13 months ago

    AFWF_Erick

  • 13 months ago

    dacster13

    Actually, for your 29th move you saved the right piece. If you save the rook, he'll win a whole knight which is worth 3 pawns, but since you saved the knight you'll get his bishop for the exchange, so you'll only lose 2 pawns worth. Not to mention, your knight captured a pawn when it moved which brings your total lost material down to 1 pawn in that series of exchanges.

  • 13 months ago

    hreedwork

    And Dr, BTW, there is an old saying that every Russian school kid knows... And that is that the person who makes the second to last mistake wins... :-)

  • 13 months ago

    hreedwork

    @Erick, thx I look forward to your video annotation of your game with Dr. I think it's awesome both of you are YouTube experts. I hope to learn from both of you and see if I can make videos too. Might be useful for work too :-)

  • 13 months ago

    Dr_Cris_Angel

    Of course I don't mind.  (gulp).  Hee,hee.  

  • 13 months ago

    AFWF_Erick

    I didn't know how to adjust my microphone levels without literally kissing the mic when I speak. It'll be fixed and I think the video of this game will finally be bearable visually and audio-wise. If you don't mind 'Doc' I'll put the video here tomorrow after I upload it

  • 13 months ago

    hreedwork

    @Dr, you are right that your physiology is as important as your analysis skills!

    @Erick, I checked out your videos. I think I am at the right place, you have four videos? Nicely done, but your dialog at the beginning of NTM 002 was so faint... Arg! I'm using an iPad but I don't think that is the problem. Could you check and let me know? Also let us know when you have an analysis complete from your game with the Dr.

  • 13 months ago

    Dr_Cris_Angel

    Shamelessly promote away!  I'll watch for sure (says the lady who has over 1,800 videos uploaded on youtube, at least 1,600+ for public viewing).

    You were lovely.  And I thank you for that.  The trophy was like being sent flowers.  :)  

  • 13 months ago

    AFWF_Erick

    Thank YOU for your kind words! I've actually started analyzing my games via YouTube (which I won't shamelessly promote) and I think this one is going to be the best one yet. With us being friends prior to playing we both seemed to put a great emphasis on etiquette which is just as important as being competitive, in my opinion.

     

    Funny 15. Na3 wasn't flagged as a terrible move. My brother came into the room to check if everything was okay because I smacked myself so hard after playing it.

    I feel that sometimes gameplay (around our level of playing) goes beyond what Houdini says is a good or bad move. I think the thought process and the vibe of the game as you feel out your opponent is way more important in the decision making process. But to discredit everything I just said...you wouldn't know with absolute certainty what the best move would be until you really analyze the game.

  • 13 months ago

    Abhishek2

    It's okay to get tired. In my last tiring tournament which lasted nine rounds I performed badly on the last day. Long games require patience and endurance. If you sit at the computer (or, for OTB, the board) you get really tired. If there's lots of time on your clock feel free to get some fresh air, or drink some water. If you're feeling sleepy, wash your face.  That's what I do. 

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