Picking up 'serious' play again

Picking up 'serious' play again

Dec 8, 2010, 11:05 PM |

It has been a serious while since my last blog post. I have been taking it easy as a chess player. In fact, I'm getting the impression that it is like that for many of us: periods of frenzy alternate with periods of relative calm. I guess because the game can be addictive, while at some times it just isn't a priority. For me this is definitely true.

'Taking it easy' I played less, and when playing I did 1 minute games. As I've come to experience, they do draw upon quite different personal qualities.

Focus, the will to win and energetic play are key to bullet, but mental discipline, stamina and a deep understanding of the game aren't so much. I like that the reward is immediate, but I also feel the satisfaction runs less deep. Bullet is definitely easier to do on the side, though. It is much easier to lose a bullet (probably winning the next) than to waste half an hour on blundering a knight because you 'aren't really into it'.

The truth, though, is that chess has given me too much (and vice versa) to just give up on it. I might not be as fascinated as when I got into it, but I definitely want to continue playing at a decent level. In line with this desire, I'm playing club competition again this year. The next (and for me first) game is coming Friday.

Now my bullet rating may be peaking, but my online and live standard rating slumped significantly. I've witnessed myself making blunders I wouldn't have made as easily half a year ago. Something needs to be done!

Below is my first 'serious' standard game in a long while. It is a rather bad game by the standards I used to have, but like every game it contains lessons. (I tend to blog my better games, so if you prefer watching nice games please feel free look through other blogs in my archive.)

The lessons I took from this game are:

1. Don't be lazy / Use your time

In many instances I played quickly and made bad moves. In bullet you can't calculate deeply, in regular play you must. At the end of my game I had almost 70 percent of my time left. I should spend the effort to calculate properly when I can.

2. Look at everything going on over the entire board

In the opening I was flirting with kingside tactics that weren't really there, and then I missed a real threat from my opponent on the queenside. Referring back to point 1, I then continued to play bad panicky moves faster than I should have.

3.  Be systematic

When I got into chess I was rather systematic, and eventually (playing many many games) I became more intuitive. I always tried to maintain some structure (blunder check every move, stuff like that). Now, after months of bullet, I apparantly developed a slight tendency to just make an 'attractive' move. I will have to be more systematic before simply trusting my intuition again! 

The game is below. My opponent remarked that he was distracted during the middle game, which I don't find that hard to believe. I would still like to thank him for playing. We all make mistakes and that is probably why it is more fun playing humans than just battling silicon. At least I got back in without handing out even more rating points. Just be warned, the stuff is messy Wink.

Annotated using Firebird.