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This is a really interesting thread. I'm also in the unrated bracket, having played virtually no serious OTB chess in my life. I got into chess in a serious way only about 18 months ago, having had a vague interest as a kid but then neglecting it in favour of music, other sports, etc., and now I've got the bug as an adult (I'm 27). I've been playing pretty much exclusively online, though, and am pretty nervous about taking the plunge into the OTB world. I have no conception of my 'real' playing strength, because the games I take seriously, like the OP, are online games, 3 days per move. And I've neglected proper time controls because I dislike sitting in front of the computer for so long outside of work.
This thread is my inspiration to go play some strangers 'out there' in the physical realm!
Hi john4000, I'm glad you like the thread and that's great if it's inspiring you to give OTB Chess a try. I definitely recommend it and it will be a really fun experience.
If you've been playing a lot of 'Online Correspondence' (like I was) then I'd also recommend that you try playing a few 'Live' online games with long time controls to get a feel for it, before going in for your first OTB tourney. Try to use the same time control as the tourneys you're looking at, if possible. Other things that helped me were taking notation during my Live online games and going over master games with a real board to 'acclimatise' myself.
Otherwise, I'd just go for it and dive in. Expect to meet some stiff resistance and prepare for some tough, intense games. You probably won't win a lot of games to start with, but just try to enjoy the experience and don't worry too much if you get beat by kids
So, for anyone that's interested, this is the one game that I lost last weekend, against Joseph Bulkis who also beat me in the previous tournament. I was on the Black side of a Scotch game and I seemed to be in a good position out of the opening and through much of the middlegame. However, I think I chose the wrong plan and, rather than trying to open the center to punish his late castling, I traded down and he caught me out with his Kingside pawns in a King and pawn endgame. It was an interesting game and I'll certainly be looking to get my own back next time, Joseph!
Nice fighting game! I thought that you had the better position in most of the game. Just a thought, I actually did not think the Queen trade on move nine was all that bad. You had an open file for your Rook, the Knight on c3 was nicely kept in it's place with c6 pawn being there and you had two very annoying (open) Bishops, eyeing the a2 and h2 pawns respectively. If you did end up trading Queens, the position is still VERY far from "winning" for White.
All the best for your next tourney, and keep posting your games! It seems as if your thread is becoming really popular amongst us "first timers"!
Thanks for the comments TJBChess :-) . I agree the position after the Queen trade on move 9 isn't so bad, although I was thinking of it in terms of being a Berlin-type pawn structure where I don't have the Bishop pair to compensate for the doubled pawns, which is another thing that was turning me off the trade.
The moral of this story was basically: make sure I am going to be getting the result I want BEFORE I trade down to a King and pawn endgame!
Well, for the sake of completeness, here is the 5th and final game I played at the tourney 2 weeks ago. It was an interesting positional game - I played a Maroczy Bind against his Hyper-accelerated Dragon. I missed 2 tactical opportunities to win material shortly after we traded Queens (was probably a bit tired at the end of a tough tourney), then I allowed a Knight fork late in the endgame and dropped a pawn. It easily could have been fatal but again I was a bit lucky, as his extra pawn was hard to use and my Queenside attack was strong, so I kept pushing anyway; managed to force and error and won it. He's my highest-rated scalp so far, so I was very pleased to get the win and finish with 4/5 :
I find that kids are far more likely to go over a game afterward than adults
Really? In my experience so far, the kids I've played haven't seemed very interested in doing much post-game analysis. They usually want to run off right away and play some more chess with their friends
I'm quite looking forward to playing an OTB game vs an adult, as I feel there would be more chance that they will want to chat a bit or analyze after the game.
Surely there must be a few more internet Chess warriors in the Chicago area who are curious to check out the OTB tourney scene?
Kids do analyze OTB games more often, but I don't know how much of it can be called analysis. When I analyze with a few 1800+ juniors, it's pretty common for one of us (sometimes me ) to suggest a really stupid piece sac in a closed position or even make a move that drops a piece. There's really not much thinking, and we're moving the pieces so fast that the adult looking at the "analysis" gives up.
Congratulations on your result in the Midwest Class! I'll analyze a few games when I can (I've been busy with school lately, but winter break is here now)
I think that the best way to get better at OTB chess @T4T would just be to get more experience. You seem to have good positional and tactical understanding; you probably could reach 1700+ after a couple more tourneys. Also, remember to watch your clock in the 45 min games- if you see two lines, one of which might be completely winning but needs like 15 minutes to calculate, and one which definitely wins but goes into an endgame a piece up, go for the endgame. If your opponent plays a move you didn't calculate, you might run out of time.
I live in chicago and yeah theres not alot of tournment options around, Time4tea you play at the Mcdonalds at foster and western? anyways iv been reading your post and glad to see your progress! I too want to start playing OTB. i have a small chess group, since there really no clubs in chicago, but i want more, where did you register online or? Im ready to get beaten by 10 year olds! im 30 lol.
Thanks - I think this is good advice 190493. Sometimes it's good to be wary of entering into very complicated lines OTB, especially if you're low on time. You can't always approach it in the same way you would a correspondence game :-)
@AKAL1: Thanks very much for analyzing that game and I really appreciate your comments. The main reason that I wanted to avoid the Queen trade on move 9 was because (as I saw it) it would have given me a Berlin Wall type pawn structure weakness, but without the Bishop pair to compensate. Although I agree that the lines in your analysis don't look too bad for Black. Also, I wanted to play aggressively and put him under some pressure in the middlegame - I didn't want to trade down to an endgame too soon.
It's an interesting move, but I'm not sure I agree with your analysis after 16.b4!? I think 18.0-0 would be a mistake:
19..Bb3 would definitely have been a very good move, and I like your idea of attacking d3 - that would have put White under a lot of pressure.
Regarding the endgame, I think this has been a good lesson for me in just how complex King & Pawn endgames can be and how you should be very careful before trading down to them. Out of interest, Stockfish's refutation of 32..exf5 is rather brilliant. I can't resist posting it as a puzzle, but bear in mind this is not my analysis! There's no way in a squillion years I would ever have seen this during a game! :
lol the pawn ending..
Maybe I should revise my statement: feel free to trade into a pawn ending if you are a computer! I thought my analysis was pretty sound, but knew there was a refutation. IM Silman actually worte in one of his books about how he saw a pawn endgame, got into correspondence with a few GMs, and it took them six months to find the correct result of the ending.
My point with the comment about exchanging queens is that endgames/middlegames can still be very exciting. Exchanging queens does not have to mean that the game is a draw, even if the position looks equal.
On 18. 0-0, of course I had to put a blunder in my analysis (read the coment I posted just before the analysis :)
Hi Scannerman, no I haven't played at the McDonalds at foster & western. Do people play Chess there? I found out about the tourneys on the USCF website. They usually have a link to the tourney page where you can sign up, but you need to be a USCF member first (you can sign up online). So, you haven't played in an OTB tourney at all?
Wow - that's a very eye-opening anecdote! I saw another thread on here where someone asked what the most complex type of endgame is and IM pfren said it's without a doubt King & pawn. I'm starting to understand better what he meant by that. I'll make a note in future to only trade down to a pawn ending if I'm absolutely sure it's good for me, or if I'm in a bad situation anyway and want to create complications to try to force a mistake
I certainly take your point that trading Queens early isn't always dull and drawish - there is usually a lot of play to be had in a Queenless middlegame. I actually like the endgame a lot and tbh I usually feel more comfortable there than in the opening/middlegame. Not in that particular one though!
Hey, yeah there a few guys that play there from time to time, from my observation they range from about 1500 to 2000, theres a older guy there thats about 2000. I play OTB but not in a serious tourney setting. I want to so thats why i try to stay fresh with OTB just in case i take the plunge. I think i take chess a lil more seriously then the rest in my group and i can see im slowly starting to get the upper hand on them cuz of my studying and practice. We play with a clock but i hanvt gotten to the point where i record the moves which i think i will start very soon. There only One chess club in my area and thats Touch Move but i always get a wierd vibe from there. how do you practice? or do you just study lines? or do you just play yourself?
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