It's Been Two Years: Time for Another Blog Entry!
I see it has been almost TWO YEARS to the day since I last made a blog entry. Funny, my timing. As I think I mentioned two years ago, I have cut back on my chess as I was feeling burnt out after diving so deeply into the chess waters for a good number of years. So, while never completely stopping all my chess games, I had cut way back - only a dozen or less now as opposed to my usual 20 or more! Plus. I have also stopped reading and studying the game because of the same burn-out.
But now I am feeling more chess-y again. Perhaps it is because after spurning chess for more modern PC gaming, I am once again feeling rather dispirited by most modern gaming fare. At best, a lot of contemporary PC games just feel like more complicated versions of chess (it really is remarkable how chess manages to nail all the important aspects of tactics and strategy without bogging down in minutia), and at worst they just feel really superficial at what chess achieves so deeply. Eh, I suspect I will have much more to say on this topic some other time but for now it suffices to say that it is good to be back in the land of chess!
Well, mostly good, anyway. Having cut way back on my games, and having stopped doing chess puzzles and reading chess articles (something I hope to get back to), my rating is plummeting like a lead balloon. I seem to have forgotten almost everything I once knew! While annoying it is also somewhat fun as I realize now that I am in the position of needing to rediscover the Royal Game!
The following is a good example. I lost this game to my worthy opponent after launching an ill-conceived attack. Despite ultimately losing, I had a blast playing this game as it is a good example of the fury that is to be had on the 64-square battlefield!
[Event "Let's Play!"]
[TimeControl "1 in 10 days"]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.d3 Nc6 5.h3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.O-O O-O 8.Be3 e5 9.Nbd2 Be6 10.Nh2 Nd7 11.f4 Bh6
I've been forcing myself to play more Sicilian Openings.
Fritz has me slightly ahead here.
Both Fritz and Chess.com agree that my move was an inaccuracy. 12...F5 was the superior move. Having said that, my position was still considered slightly better.
13.Bxf4 Bxf4 14.Rxf4 Qg5 15.Rf2 Nde5 16.Be2 Bxh3
My position is now better than Whites. I am clearly preparing a mating attack. In the next few moves, I will throw everything into the attack!
17.Ndf3 Nxf3+ 18.Nxf3 Qg3 19.Kf1 Bg4 20.Ng1 f5
Here, Fritz has concluded that I am well on my way to winning the game. Of course, Fritz is not aware of my spectacular ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
My first real mistake. Fritz points out 21...Bxf5 was superior. I recall wrestling with this choice at the time. I figured it would be better not to block my rooks line of fire. Wrong.
22.Rxf5 Bxf5 23.Qb3+ Kh8 24.Qxb7 Rc8
And my position crumbles some more. Fritz remarks: "24... Rf8 secures the point
25. Nf3 Bh3 26. gxh3 Ne5 -+ (26... Rxf3+ ?! is a weaker possibility 27. Bxf3
Qxf3+ 28. Kg1 Qg3+ 29. Kh1 Qxh3+ 30. Kg1 Qg3+ 31. Kh1 Qh3+ 32. Kg1 Qg3+ 33. Kh1
Qh4+ 34. Kg2 Qg4+ 35. Kf1 Qf3+ 36. Kg1 =))
I'd thought protecting my knight was more important. However, I did consider Rf8 but thought it would fail to accomplish anything except the needless loss of my knight. I see now that was wrong. On the bright side: I am thinking about the right possibilities. On the dark side: I am choosing the worst of all possibilities.
You can see how preoccupied I am with protecting my knight! I just figured that it would be better to save my knight for the final assault than risk losing it to the queen. Again, now I see that was a needless worry. Fritz again reminds me: "25... Rf8 26.Bf3 Ne5" and I have the better position.
Chess.com and Fritz both considers this a blunder/mistake on the part of my opponent. 26.Qe7 was the better move. Fortunately for my worthwhile adversary, I don't capitalize on the mistake.
I finally pick the right move from two moves ago! Yay! Unfortunately, that move has now expired and replaced by the far superior 26...Qf4 Fritz: "26...Qf4 and Black has triumphed 27. Bf3 Ng4 -+" I see it now, of course.
27.Qxd6 Kg8 28.Nf3
Fritz hated this move. "28. Nf3 ruins a clearly superior position (28. Bf3 Bg4 29. d4 Bxf3 30. Nxf3 Rxf3+ 31.gxf3 Qxf3+ 32. Ke1 Qe4+ 33. Kf1 Qf5+ 34. Ke1 Nf3+ 35. Ke2 Qc2+ 36. Kxf3 Qxd1+37. Kf4 Qc1+ 38. Kg4 Qxb2 39. dxc5 Qxa2=)"
I don't feel bad for missing this move as the combination Fritz came up with far exceeded my ability to see it! Fritz: "28... Bh3 and Black has prevailed 29. gxh3 Rxf3+ 30. Bxf3 Qxf3+ 31. Kg1 Qg3+ 32. Kh1 Qxh3+ 33. Kg1 Qe3+ 34. Kf1 Qf4+ 35. Ke2 Qh2+ 36. Kf1 Qh1+ 37. Kf2 Ng4+"
After our blunders, the game has now equalized. Whatever advantage I had has evaporated away due to my missteps.
29...Bxf3 30.gxf3 Qh3+ 31.Ke1 Nxf3+ 32.Bxf3 Qxf3 33.Qe6+ Kg7 34.Qe5+ Rf6
I am still swinging away with everything I have. I am one move from a mate here! So close, yet so far!
35.Kd2 cxd4 36.Qxd4 Kh6 37.Kc1 Rf4 38.Qxa7
It is here that White officially has gained the lead.
38...Rh4 39.Qd7 Rh2 40.Qd4 Qg2
My fatal blunder. Fritz remarks that only "40... Qf5 would bring relief 41. Qa4 Kg5" I was still fixated on a possible mate. But my opponent wouldn't cooperate.
41.Qd2+ And White has it in the bag with a won endgame.
41...Qxd2+ 42.Rxd2 Rxd2 43.Kxd2 g5 44.Ke3 Kh5 45.Kf3 Kh4 46.Kg2
I resigned seeing how there was no way to stop White from pushing his pawns now that he has my two soldiers blockaded.
As much as it pained me to lose this epic battle, it was a lot of fun to play, even on the losing side. That is the magic of chess!
Likewise, I found it stimulating to finally get back to analyzing my games. This is something that has always increased my fervor for the Royal Game. Unlike most other games, chess has more to offer even after the actual on-board gameplay is over! It is like getting a souvenir from each chess battle. Long live PGN!
It is good to be back in the kingdom of chess!