Notating my club games

Jan 4, 2012, 10:20 PM |

I have started a blog some time ago about posting some of my recent games as a means of trying to improve. I didn't realize how much time one entry would take if I were to become serious! For me, a day needs to be much longer than 24 hours! However, I decided to begin notating and analyzing games from my weekly club here in northwest IN. Well, it's not MY club, but it's the most challenging organization I participate in regularly. As a courtesy to the other players, I will not use their names (initials only). I include USCF ratings, but the games are not USCF rated (or even affiliated!)

(For the record, there are 2 possible mate in 3 ideas (maybe more!) in the puzzle above. I only gave one of them as correct. To be honest, I didn't even consider the more obvious solution during the game in which it was played!)

The time control for all of these games is G/20. No delay or increment. At times, I cannot continue to take notation due to low time. There is a tournament format, but it's quad-based (not exactly a quad). The players know each other's playing styles and openings quite well. I will give here the games I played at the club (located in a Meijer store cafe in Highland, IN) on Dec. 27, 2011. My result was +2 = 0 -1.

Feel free to comment on my games (nothing inappropriate, please!). My goal for the 2012 year is to improve my rating (currently at 1700 even) to <2000. Yes, it's a high standard, but that just makes me work harder!

Having said that, the analysis in these games do not go into great depth. An engine was not used in any of my comments (I will save the deeper analysis for anyone else or the engine, or when I have more time). I'd love some constructive feedback and/or criticisms. (For the record, I am B.Harrigan).

The 2nd game of the day is more amusing. I am playing against the director of the club, R.L.. R.L. is a very fast player. He will not give you time to think when it is his move. However, his moves are more likely to be inaccurate and he may fall for tactical combinations. What makes him a tough opponent for the average player, is that: 1.) He is not a weak player! You will not see him blunder pieces mindlessly. 2.) His opponents are generally under time-pressure. R.L. has eeked out many wins with the latter. I implore the reader to look at this game for 2 reasons: 1.) It may give you more caution about the "touch move" rule, especially when capturing a piece! 2.) (more importantly), I find a beautiful (in my opinion) mate in 3 in which I set up as a puzzle (see top of the blog.)
My final game of the night is against G.P.. G.P. is a very solid player who usually doesn't take risks. He's positional and almost always plays 1.d4. Like me, he usually employs the same openings and defenses repeatedly. I am black in the game below and have replied with many defenses to his queen-pawn opening. Note: G.P. started this game immediately after missing a win against the top player (H.H. above) while both had mutual time trouble. I believe that loss affected his performance in the following game against me.
My goal here is to upload my games from each week at the club. So far, I've learned that simply going through them helps me remember what I've played. I've lost count how many times I'll see a similar opening in games against the same opponents, only to be unable to follow up properly in the middle game. It should translate into wins down the road and hopefully, future success. Again, please feel free to comment as I will welcome the feedback!