Defense is hard: SCC September Tornado Round 4

Defense is hard: SCC September Tornado Round 4

NM Joseph_Truelson

Photo courtesy of me once again. My opponent is the person farthest to the left, thinking about her game, something that I never do. As usual, I had the permission of  none of the 9 (?) people in the picture.

Defense is really hard! I learned that the soft way in this game, because as usual I got very lucky.

After a boring draw with Daniel Shubin, nothing much happened. First I asked Daniel if he had used the strategy that I suspected him of using (making me low on time before trying to win). He didn't say too much. In the end I decided to make more jokes about draws, such as that I would rather have a GM draw than an IM win, or about "My 60 Memorable Draws". This tournament was nowhere near the drama that I had at other events, with no water fights or being chased outside. Instead, I did my best to win the blitz games that I played between rounds (For some reason we aren't playing bughouse anymore. Odd.) I won most of the games, and the ones I did lose were all unfair. (Never admit that you aren't the best!) Then, as usual, I went in the playing room to take a look at the last game, and when it was finished gathered with 10 others to intimidate Fred and forcing him to do the pairings instantly (He should probably use SwissSys). We crowded around him so much that it would have been nearly impossible for him to leave his desk. This is why the rounds are on time. An evil mob enforces that the rounds start as they are scheduled. Join us next time!

As the pairings were made, the tension gathered. First, it was seen that Joseph Frantz would play Addison Lee on board one. Joseph (I wish it was me!) Frantz was the only player with a perfect score, while Addision Lee had 2/3. With two points (and who actually played) were a good number of players: Me, Peter Spassic, Addison Lee, Vignesh Anand, and Sophie Tien.

At first appearing to my good luck, I was paired against the lowest rated of these players, Sophie Tien, who although was 1593, two weeks later jumped up to a surprising 1818! She had some really good events!

The tension was high, and as it turned out later, the winner would get $29. Wow! So I'm winning real money (actually, I was paid an appearance fee of $50 to come, but whatever).

The first time I played Sophie Tien was my first game that I played when I moved to the Seattle area last year. I remember that event...

A look back at the Emerald City Open 2015

The day was June 13, 2016, according to US Chess. For weeks I had been hoping to go to this event. I typed in google "Chess Tournaments in Seattle" when I still lived in Minnesota. I hoped they had events, and while they weren't weekly like the Chess Castle in the Twin Cities, I wasn't planning on playing weekly anyways so I was fine with that. My dad and I were a little confused about how to get to the Seattle Chess Club. On the SCC flyer it mentions that it is nearby the Northwest Kidney Centers. After taking an unnecessarily long time to get there because we didn't know the area, I saw the sign and knew the club had to be there somewhere. After going to the wrong building the first time, we finally found the right one and fortunately had arrived there really early. In fact, as we entered, only the TD and one other player was there. But over the next half hour, many of my later to be called buddies arrived. Prodigies (I call all young players that) such as Owen Xuan, Revant Pothukuchi, Andy Huang, Kyle Zhang, Vignesh Anand, Alec Beck, Oscar Petrov, Anthony He, and Sophie and Andy Tien were all there. I thought it was so cool that there was so many players in a club tournament. In the Chess Castle in Minnesota, having  20 players was a good amount. Here they had around 40! Even better, the place was very kid-friendly, and the TD was kind and let us do anything we wanted. I remembered getting yelled at a lot in the Chess Castle. The first person I met was Andy Huang. After I played a couple blitz games with him, winning both but they were really close, I asked him what his rating was. He said it was 1100. I was really surprised and said "You must be so underrated". In the end, it was actually me that was overrated. Terrible! Seattle players are the most underrated, especially the kids. Over the next half hour more players came. After learning a few names and subsequently forgetting them, (I forgot one player's name 3 times! Now every time I see him I ask him "What's your name Raymond?") the pairings were up, which to my surprise were made by hand. I got to play Sophie Tien, and I had White. I thought that this should be a good start, an easy victory to convince all those reserve players that Minnesota players were really underrated and everyone should be scared of me. I was convinced that I was underrated at 1640, and she was only in the 1200s. Easy! So, a problem that has never completely left me when I underestimate my opponents, I started to play very fast. I got a comfortable opening advantage in the Guicco Piano, then went on to give a pawn for no compensation, except a 30 minute time advantage. Soon after I gave another pawn, and she had only a few minutes to my 20. Since I was down so much material but up on time, I tried to move fast in a vain effort to time her out. One surprise was that with around 70 seconds left, she used 60(!) of them the next move. She took another pawn, leaving here 3 pawns up, but then after my move, she had 10 seconds left but despite the delay timed out. What a lucky win! I guess the computer had the game as a draw by a perpetual since she had messed up a little in the end, but she was winning most of the game.

My luck in the tournament continued, I won a dead drawn pawn ending against Revanth Potukuchi in round 2, then my opponent in round 3 surprisingly hung a rook with check and immediately resigned. In round 4 I was worse but won anyways, and then in the last game I got to play Samuel Deng. To my bad luck, I lost all of my notation sheets. I think that he has the game score to this game though. He really should hold on to it, and post it everywhere online. Because drawing me is pretty impressive! In that game, his opening preparation worked out well (I didn't even have any opening preparation, in Minnesota we don't prepare as much), but then I made the position locked up and got a draw. This might have actually been my first GM draw (Or as they referred to it in Minnesota, a Grandmaster Draw of Shame!)

As a reward for my extreme luck in every one of the games, I got $122 and came up with a 1671 rating and feeling like I was great! Of course after my next event I fell under 1600, and came out feeling like I was the worst. Basically, I can never accurately assess my chess skills. I study a lot, and think that I should be and beat a master soon, then get promptly crushed by an 1800 in the next game. Not solid!

After this very lucky game, Sophie always wanted to have a rematch. I play her and her brother Andy online on a lot, and they have gotten some wins, but the overall record is 52 wins to 9 losses. I get lucky a lot! Very few of these games am I playing well the whole game.

Back to the tournament (Actually, I should say ahead to the tournament because that is going ahead of time.) So ahead to the tournament, Sophie beat the top seed in this event and was hoping to beat the second seed (me!), so I figured I better play an opening that would prevent that from happening. I decided I needed to play an unknown opening, since they tend to do well against young players (Both me and my opponents make terrible moves). What I like about us having no opening preparation is that instead of the game being decided by memory, it is decided by luck (not skill, as everyone else seems to say)! Whatever side messes up less wins. I like that type of chess more than memorizing the 203. Rd5! in the Sicilian, and all of the sub variations. I tried doing that and then Chessbase 13 told me that it didn't have enough space to store all of that stuff. Even Chessbase hates me. It seems that every type of software and hardware hates me. What should I do?

Back to my opening ideas, I decided in the end to play something that I have never played before, the Rubenstein variation. Sure enough, when asking her after the game if she had studied it, she said that she had never seen it. In fact, after I played 1...e6 against e4, she said "What!?", because she was so surprised that I didn't play e5, or c5, or c6. Unfortunately for the chess players who are trying to rob my preparation by reading this, you can never prepare for me. I have played the following moves against e4: e5, e6, d6, Nc6, c6, c5, and b6. So you are hopeless in your preparation. But waste your time doing it anyways. I am good at wasting my own time, and would like to do that to everyone else also. (That's the main purpose of these blogs! Haha!

For those of you who don't know, the Rubenstein variation of the French begins: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3. Nc3(d2) dxe4 4.Nxe4. It is a solid opening, but not very challenging and doesn't put much pressure on White. However, another player, Anshul, was impressed that I revived this opening in the Seattle area (with this blog coming out the GMs will be playing it again) and won with it that he decided to do what he called "doing a Joseph" and used it to draw a 1800. His rating was 1799, and gained an impressive .03 rating! At this rate, if Anshul gains point every 33 games, it's only 40,000 games away until he is a Super GM! Solid!

Anyways, here is the game:

As usual, I use Komodo, since I am not expected to make it sound like pete's Stockfish.

Did I learn anything from the game? I'm not sure.

One thing that always happens in my games is that I miss good moves by my opponent, sometimes they are obvious. (Here I missed the Rd1 ideas) I'm not sure how to improve on not missing things. Any advice?

Defense is scary. It is so much more fun to attack! Whenever I defend I always feel like I am about to lose, and that causes a lot of errors. Therefore I can conclude that:

I am a bad defender. After every game that I am defending, the computer always shows how at one point I was completely losing (usually +3, here the worst was only +.8).

As a reward for winning the game, (in reality because they are nice people) the Tien family gave me a ride him as well as some chicken nuggets. (Thanks!) Although many people would say that the chicken nuggets are not made of real chicken. The idea must be that McDonald's creates its own type of chicken, and that it isn't real chicken then. Interesting. I guess if you use too many GMOs and other non-organic food to feed the chicken that it isn't chicken anymore. After a crazy car ride discussion in which we talked about litigators, limousines, kidnappers (They joked about kidnapping me), and somehow relating it all together, I was home. What a great day! Too bad it already had to be over. Also, I ended up winning $29, a good amount, more than the entry fee, and losing 12 rating points along with it. But that was fine with me, as I don't care about rating that much. Besides, the two players who had higher rating than me lost even more rating points, Addison Lee (1946-1908) lost 38 and Vignesh Anand (1816-1775) lost 41. So I guess I did fine.

While I knew my play was bad in this tournament, it seemed to improve a little bit over my previous event. The week after I played in the SCC September Quads, but did so bad that I don't want to analyze my games. What basically happened in the first two rounds was that I was losing, fought my way back in the game, only to lose anyways. Then in the 3rd game I took an easy draw against Addison Lee. My rating went down to an all time low of 1791. (The last time it was lower was this May). 

But my next event, the Seattle Fall Open was memorable. I finally stopped the rating loss, and decided that I was done with defending. Either I win, or I collapse immediately!