Excitement verse Fatigue

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  • | Mar 12, 2012

[if you missed my first piece about this tournament, it is here]

As day 2 began at the Western Class Championships, the two day schedule began. Separate schedules is something which may not exist outside of the U.S.-- they allow players to play more games in fewer days, and get paired with the other players once they have played as many games as them. So for example at this tournament, the 3-day schedule played round 1 Friday evening, while the two day schedule played two fast games Saturday morning, while round 2 was being played. Then in round 3, the two schedules merged and were paired together.

The extra schedule brought an extra influx of strong players to the event: GM Khachiyan, IM Sevillano, IM Matikozian, and IM Amanov. With so many interesting possible opponents, I was really pumped up to play. I would also have been happy to play some of the rising young stars like Jeffrey Xiong or Sam Sevian, but I did hope to get a chance to face off with one or two of the higher-rateds, so I meant to "take care of business" in round 2, and earn myself some top clashes.

But then a strange thing happened to me...

The end of this game, with me having 13 seconds plus the 5 second time delay, and realizing I had blundered into e4, and deciding to pitch the fate of the whole game on a bishop + rook sacrifice had an incredible effect on me: I was shaking, overcome with nerves. I could barely stand up; in fact it took me more than one try. I was shaky, and my hand shook badly as I fumbled to return a borrowed clock to the very friendly Wayne Xiong. Although the game had lasted just under 4 hours, I was exhausted as well, feeling much as I had at midnight after being the last game to end in round 1. In fact, I thought it was midnight and that it was time to go home... only to discover that it was only the morning game, and there was a second game to be played that same day.

I was in no shape to play. I was dispirited with how badly I had played what should have been one of the easiest games of my life, and overall very suspicious of my form. Plus my body was telling me I was done. Despite that, I had almost certainly earned myself the previously-desired clash with a top player, with the black pieces, in the next round.

I often have these "feelings" before a game that tell me that I will do well or poorly. Depending on my prediction, I'm sometimes criticized for being over-optimistic, or lacking in confidence. And so I have been trying to keep track of them to see how accurate they are, and thus far they had been very accurate, and I have been of the opinion that these feelings are me having a good internal sense of when I have good or bad energy, concentration, etc. Of course, they could also have a self-fulfilling component to them.

So, let's see what happened as an apparently out-of-form, tired, nerve-wracked me went up against IM Amanov with black in round 3:

So, mark one against my inner predictions. Zhanibek admittedly played some moves I don't like in this original position, but still, just judging my own play this game, I think it was *very* good. Afterall, chess and people are not that predictable, a good game can emerge under random circumstances.

Now, even though this was only a 5-game, 3-day event (I am used to 9 round events), I was already feeling exhausted, and for all my excitement about playing interesting games with good players, I was absolutely happy that it was a "sprint" of an event that would be over soon.

An annoying thing that a lot of tournaments do is they schedule the rounds earlier and earlier each day, to allow for people to save a night on hotel rooms, by leaving after the last round on the final day. So the next morning's round would be an hour earlier than today-- plus it was daylight savings, so I would lose 2 hours.

So partly I was worried that I would not have any strength tomorrow. At the same time, success always buoys you, and I was really happy to be one of two players at 3-0, in the lead! And the next round I figured I would be paired with a third black against the other leader, IM Roman Yankovsky, which was a tantalizing prospect. I've wanted to get revenge for this game since several minutes before it ended, and I also thought he had a few weaknesses that made him very beatable even with the white pieces. Which would leave me at 4-0 with white in the last round, I could definitely win this tournament!

So I had plenty of reason to get past my fatigue and play well the next day... stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion!


  • 4 years ago


    Totally agree with your suggestion... Very nice post and good information here... Thanks for posting that....

  • 5 years ago


    Nice article.I like the authors personal touch and comments!

  • 5 years ago


    nice games dpruess.

  • 5 years ago


    Excellent, thanks for sharing that with us Pruess, there's a lot of great learning material in there. Good luck with your next games :)

  • 5 years ago


    Thank you, Grandmaster Pruess :)

  • 5 years ago


    Wonderful writing, and great games. Very well done! Loved the annotations, and the variations provided. Especially loved how well you did, given your nerves, which is the point / underlying irony of the article.

    Really especially liked how you dodged the prep against you in the Two Knight's Tango, and forced your opponent into thinking on the third move :) Great stuff

  • 5 years ago

    IM dpruess

    hi phoenix, that's an interesting line, and i can't tell if it's good for white or black. i imagine there are also a couple other possibilities. in any case i don't know any theory about Bg5 but it looks like a totally plausible move.

  • 5 years ago


    great job sir

  • 5 years ago


    good stuff !! <3

  • 5 years ago


    the petrov defense some article in this defense i whould like see it thankx

  • 5 years ago


    Wow, nice calculation with Bb8! Amazing games David, played like a boss in these games.

  • 5 years ago


    well done

  • 5 years ago


    Gret article thanks David

  • 5 years ago


    About the first game where white played Black Knights Tango, i do not think Bg5 is that of good move in that position

    Despite this, both of the games were good :), love watching analyzed games:)
  • 5 years ago


    thanks Smile

  • 5 years ago


    Nice article. I like it when I can read a game like a thriller :)

  • 5 years ago


    Great job Sir

  • 5 years ago


  • 5 years ago

    IM dpruess

    i am very focused on just playing while i'm playing :-) and i don't think ahead beyond the current game. but every competitor thinks about winning, that's the goal in the rules of the game.

  • 5 years ago

    IM dpruess

    yes, good catch mishivanov! that's an error in my calculations.

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