Am more shocked than ever and how difficult OTB is

Sep 19, 2011, 8:27 AM |

I went to another OTB tournament this past weekend.  I'm not going to go discuss my performance. It was fun and I enjoyed playing, but I'm partially demoralized from the experience.  The gap between OTB and Turn-based play is gigantic.  I haven't played much live chess because I find it intimidating. I get a lot more scared of losing and doing poorly. I have to admit that I am just in denial about how bad I am.  I can play in turn based and be competitive and even win above 1500 and 1600 (though not lately so much).  But in OTB I would never ever be able to defeat probably even a 1400.  I might not even be able to beat a 1300.

The other day, however, I played in a blitz game against a computer player on ICC and beat it.  I was elated that it was rated 1250.  I couldn't believe I won.  But I think that is somewhat of a fluke.  You get lucky and find a quick checkmate and can win.  But if you don't find a quick win and have to outplay the opponent, then it is a far more difficult game.

Experience is a big deal. I remember things better when I have lived them and done them rather than just reading about them.  

So from hence forth, I'm not going to try as hard to win in turn based.  My rating is going to drop.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm going to play and have fun.  I will try to win.  But often when the position gets complicated I will spend a period of days and a lot of time looking at it.  I'll end up spending hours on the position.  You can't do that in OTB.  The most you might be able to spend on a hand full of hard moves is 20 minutes a time. If you spend 30 mins on one move, then you had better spend less time on the rest of the game. So I'm just going to do the best I can with looking at the position for 15 minutes or maybe 20.  Maybe I'll use the notes feature more because in OTB you "remember" the game.  Here you will forget what is going on.  Also I think I am not ever going to use an opening database again. I want to make mistakes and get into trouble.  I want to learn from it and learn "why" you make moves in certain openings.  I don't want a head start without understanding what is going on.  After the game or between games I'll look at the lines and read the theory.  

I don't like being in denial.  I didn't like thinking I was not bad when I hit 1700 here.  It bothered me to discover that I couldn't beat an 1100 rated 12 year old in person.  (But I love children and am very glad they love chess.  I'd like to get involved in chess for kids, so don't get me wrong here). (That 12 year old is rating 1400 one year later, btw).

Also I'm going to play live chess a lot more.  I'm going to play against the computer in timed games and watch my rating drop and stabilize.  ha.  I just have to suck it up and start being honest with myself about the game.  After I've played 100 live games and have more experience under my belt, then I can go back to studying again.

Take this with a grain of salt, but watching the videos here, reading books, using the mentor is great.  I'm going to do all of that.  But then you have to go out there and play a bunch of live games.  If you don't do that it doesn't mean as much.  A guy with not as much theory who has played 100 games has an enormous advantage over another guy who has studied for hours and played hours of tactics and has 9 games of OTB experience.  Its hard to explain why, but the experienced guy doesn't have to work as hard and calculate nearly as much to keep up a good game.