My games from DHLC Slow Swiss #18 - White spells

My games from DHLC Slow Swiss #18 - White spells

Jan 6, 2015, 2:11 PM |

After a while, here is another analysis of my games from the event organised by Dan Heisman Learning Center here on This was the DHLC Slow Swiss #18, with the time controls of 45 minutes + 45 seconds increment per move. I played 5 games in the U1600 section, and ended up with 2 wins, 2 defeats and 1 draw. Not a spectacular result, but since I've struggled a bit recently, I'm not dissapointed. And, most importantly, playing these games was fun. :)
Since from the annotations you get to see some of the things that were in my head during the game, you'll also get a music playlist for additional experience. I'm not sure that listening to music while playing the game of chess is a great idea, but I do it sometimes anyway.
The first round game was particularly interesting. Unorthodox pawn structures - check. Dynamic piece play - check. Material imbalances, both in the actual game and in the possible variations - check. Interesting tactical ideas - check. Opposite coloured bishops ending - check. My victory - well, unfortunately, you can't have it all.

You may notice that I've used the computer assistance in the analysis. It's because I'm lazy. At least I tried to figure out the purpose behind each move.


Round 1:
kasparov57349 - donjova 1-0
Opening: Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation, English Attack
Music listened to during the game: Ladytron - Another Breakfast With You
Even though I lost, this is my favourite game from this event. Even in the terms of my play, it wasn't that bad - definitely better then in my second round game, even though I won that one.
Lessons from the game:
  • In dynamic positions with active piece play, when you see that you win (or lose) some material - think again, use the "if you see a good move, look for a better one" advice. In this game, I traded the knight and two pawns for a rook - it wasn't the win of material when you count the points, although I thought it was at the first moment - but it was a mistake, as I gave three active chessmen for the one which, although nominally strong, wasn't doing much at the time. Of course, evaluating the materially imbalanced positions issn't a simple task - everybody can count the pieces, but positional compensation is a bit more elusive concept.
  • Opposite bishops endgames are hard to win, although I didn't manage to prove that in this game. However, if there are still some heavy pieces on the board, task becomes easier for the materially superior side.

In the second round game, I've got into a bad position, lost a pawn, and was in serious time trouble. However, there was still a lot of venom in the position, and my opponent allowed me to gain the initiative in the ending with heavy pieces. I was playing on time increments at that stage, but somehow I managed not only to save the game, but even to win in the end.
Round 2:
donjova - mejva 1-0
Opening: Sicilian Defense, Sozin Attack, Velimirović attack
Music listened to during the game: Blue Oyster Cult - Fire of Unknown Origin
This win was quite lucky, especially when you consider my clock situation, but that's how it goes.
Lessons from the game:
  • If you want to play opening lines that are sharp and heavily theoretical, you better learn that theory. At least, if you lay to win and not just to have fun with it.
  • Heavy piece endgames are tricky. Often, the initiative is worth more than a pawn or two.

The third round wasn't the best for me. I played (or, better to say, misplayed) the sharp opening as Black, and got wiped off the board. This time, I was punished for playing the theoretical line without actually knowing what I'm doing, and for playing timidly.

Round 3:
Stoertebeker - donjova 1-0
Opening: Two Knights Defense, Ulvestad Variation
Music listened to during the game: Voodoo Popeye - Nije ti fazon
This was quite depressisng for several reasons. First and the most important, I played attrociously and the resistance I displayed here was too weak. Secondly, my opponent had to play from the mobile device and, before the game, even said that I should easily win this. :) Thirdly, for several games in a row I was losing with Two Knights, which is the opening I quite like, but sometimes I seem to just play it in a wrong manner, like in this game.
Besides, it has been a really, really long time since I've won the game as black in DHLC events. I'm doing fine with white pieces, but with black, it's loss after loss, even draws were rarity.
Lessons from the game:
  • Again, if you want to play some sharp theoretical opening, then pay attention to the theory.
  • If your advantage lies in dynamics and attacking chances while your opponent has the material advantage, then play energetically. Even sacrificing more material is an option, if that keeps your trump card on the board.
  • Something that sounds trivial: it's hard to play fearlessly if you're scared.

Fortunately for me, the trend of white victories continued in round 4. The tables have turned for me  - in round 3 I've been soundly defeated, but the week later, I won a miniature.
Round 4:
donjova - dbequer 1-0
Opening: King's Indian Defense, Fianchetto Variation
Music listened to during the game: Ennio Morricone - Man With a Harmonica
I'm glad I managed to spot the tactical opportunity when it presented itself unexpectedly. It's not something I manage to do every time.
Lessons from the game:
  • When you're trying to fianchetto your bishop on the same diagonal where your opponent already has fianchettoed bishop, make sure you check the possible tactics first. You can't move your pawn and bishop simultaneously, and if the rook is on the starting square, it might be exposed between those moves, as it happened here.
  • When looking at the move, apart from asking yourself "What this move does?" it might also be useful to ask "What this move undoes?"

In the last round, I got the black pieces. Again, I didn't manage to win, but at least I didn't lose. That was something as well, and one spell was broken.
This was the third slow game between Brett and me, and he still leads, now with +1 -0 =2, thanks to the nice win in our first encounter, which you can still find here. As for this game, if you go quickly through the movees, it may seem we have only traded pieces until the draw, but it was actually pretty tense.

Round 5:
Okieman888 - donjova 1/2-1/2
Opening: Pirc Defense, 150 Attack
Music listened to during the game: Boney M - Ma Baker
I'd say I played okay here, but I was perhaps too timid in the endgame, and traded too many pieces there. Trading was good while I was in a danger of being overrun, but once I thought I have the advantage, I should have invested more energy into keeping pressure. Of course, my usual time problem was also the factor there.
Lessons from the game:
  • Trading pieces can sometimes be a good way to relieve pressure on your position. This is especially true if an opponent has the advantage in space.
  • Attacking one weakness in enemy camp sometimes isn't enough, opponent can just defend it. It takes two weaknesses, to tie him up to the defence of one of them, and then turn your attention to the other.
  • Changing your attitude during the game isn't easy - if you are defending all the time, it can be hard to switch your mind to the offensive mode, and vice versa.

And that's all for this session. I hope there was something interesting for you in all this mess. In the end, to make it even messier, here's another, almost forgotten, music track from the 80's. See you next time, and have a good chess. :)