One blunder is all it takes

Aug 23, 2013, 3:17 PM |

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.  



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.