September 2017 UT: Long endgames and time-trouble blunders
Hi everybody! This post is, well, exactly what it sounds like. Although I didn't play as well in this event as the last, I played more than enough zany, interesting blitz games to give you a fresh and exciting post for this month's installment, rather than the more boring one I gave you last month
Again, I must repeat the reason why I love UT so much: it's a much more serious pool of players than the normal 5/0 and 3/2 pools, one where I can play my best blitz against players which are often stronger than me, and one where I don't have to face the Greco Defense every other game.
And it's volunteer-run, giving back to the online chess community every time it runs. Our official streamer @LonerDruid's Twitch channel is booming, with 706 followers as of today, enough to be noticed and promoted by the staff at Lichess.
Before the event, I was feeling... good, as cliche and poorly written as that sounds. I had made sure to join a half-hour early so as not to miss the start time again, and was happily chatting with the people in the tournament chatroom, excited about the event to come, and the chance to play chess and review the game with ten different opponents all in less than two hours, and enjoying just being in an environment where I was around other serious chessplayers who also wanted to be there - some of the friendliest people there are in real life.
It made me feel like I could beat another strong player, and add one more scalp to my list, being the scary 1550 player that I am In the first round, I ended up missing that opportunity, but I was pretty darned close. Here's that game, a 109-move marathon versus an 1800 which I nearly won:
After tragically losing my second-round game due to a certain keyboard shortcut which acts as a back-button, I scored about 50% through the next few rounds, and played some more interesting games, in which I castled surprisingly little for any kind of chess game: only about half the time. Here's my fifth-round miniature versus @OliMoore, where my king ended up on e2 and I won just a few moves later:
And a win in a long endgame versus @gmkushimo when they missed a few chances to relieve themselves of the hole on f4 in the opening. After f2 fell, we entered a highly irregular endgame with the two bishops and connected passed pawns on both sides.
But after the relatively good stretch in the first two-thirds of the event, I began to slide, as I always seem to do when I face lower-rated players. I don't like playing those games. I really don't. I actually have something to prove then, versus against solid 1800s where I can just enjoy playing chess and attempting to knock them off.
And then there's the time-trouble blunders. I've always been blunder-prone, and usually for more than one reason, as I chronicled in my Why Players Plateau series. In blitz, it's time trouble. Here's a couple of games where I dropped rooks - not pawns, not pieces, not queens, just rooks. Pal Benko would be proud.
Thank you to everyone for reading this post! Be sure to follow my blog for weekly chess content and leave a comment down below. You make this blog what it is, and I'm thankful to have you all here.
I'll be out with a post on the finished Levon Aronian vs. Hou Yifan Endgame Lovers tournament by the end of this week, and after that, I plan to launch the first segment of Everything Openings, which could see new posts as frequently as twice a week. I'm also excited to announce a new series: Concrete Problems, a series based on my work learning to solve the kinds of concrete problems which have made so many games go downhill for me.
Once again, thank you for stopping in and I'll see you next week.