The Short Not So Happy Loss of Jdcannon

The Short Not So Happy Loss of Jdcannon

Nov 15, 2014, 10:46 PM |

Welcome to another set of JD's losses. For those just joining us please check out my first post at: where you will hear all about my failures as a chess player as well as my personal challenge. 

A slight admission:

I must ask for forgiveness. It’s been not even a full week and already twice I've broken my vow to not play unrated games. I accepted a challenge for a Chess960 game for the express purpose of trying to increase that rating, and much to my dismay did I find that it was unrated. As for the second game, again I think you'll find cause to forgive me, I was sitting in live chess waiting diligently to be paired for a rated game when a little hollow green dot appeared near the very very top of the Challenge Graph, and it was a standard time control game to boot. I couldn't help myself. A standard game against a 2445 was to too much to pass up!

Ratings progress:

It’s not been an amazing week for my rating.

  •          Bullet: 1691       -> 1701
  •          Blitz: 1776         -> 1743
  •          Standard: 2172   -> 2173
  •          Tactics: 2046     ->  2043

I still feel very nervous during my games. I find myself taking considerably more time than necessary on moves. Sometimes not even calculating… just staring, worried that it’s a bad move. I need to break that and play with more confidence.


Defeat of the Day:

Today’s loss is pretty disappointing. I got to test out a new idea I learned in the Hedgehog. White was passive in the opening, and everything was perfect. Exactly one move after realizing my strategic dreams, I blew it.


Even though I blundered pretty badly at the end of that game, I don’t think calculation was my problem. I feel that my error was thinking that since I had achieved my major break that I should have some immediate win or decisive gain in material. Instead I should have accepted that I was just better, but still had a game to play.

Maybe chess books are to blame! It seems like anytime a player achieves the thematic break, the game is decided almost immediately. Check out Logical Chess by Irving Chernev and look at any game where black plays c5 to see what I am talking about.

Speaking of Chess books, in my last post I mentioned I was reading The Giants of Power Play. There is no doubt its an excellent book; its just that I find the games totally baffling. I play through the games palms pressed into my temples thinking, "What is happening?!"  Here is an example from the book I've spent a lot of time with, and I think I understand the ideas but I couldn't dream of coming up with them on my own. 


A fantastic game indeed, but I'd probably pee my pants if suddenly I was put in Topalov's place midgame. I'm reminded of a Karpov quote that I've always related to: "If the opponent offers keen play I don't object; but in such cases I get less satisfaction, even if I win, than from a game conducted according to all the rules of strategy with its ruthless logic." If you replace "I don't object" with "It scares me to death" you'd have something that applies exactly to me. To demostrate, I offer a positional puzzle to stand in contrast to my tactical bungle  later:

I find Capablanca's play here much more pleasant than Topalov's above. Less forcing play is more interesting than long forced sequences. If my opponent's moves are absolutely forced its like I'm really playing against them anymore. Yes in the Capablanca example, Black's first move is basically forced, but after that black is free do whatever he likes, but it doesn't mater because he is positionally shot!  I am, however, worried that the reason I prefer this slower positional play is because its less risky which in turn really means I prefer it because I am chicken. I shudder to admit it... Let's move on.
Today's Tactical Trouble

Today’s puzzle is rated 2035. Again, I found the correct idea but executed poorly.  There are two moves that support the same ideas; however this time I didn't even consider the correct verison! That being said, the first move is very tricky, and I'm happy to have at least gotten that far correctly.

I had spent a long time looking at possible rook checks on h1 and could never make anything work. Eventually, I just gave up and played my idea since I had already spent so much time. I usually give myself a time limit on puzzles where after 10-15 minutes, I play whatever idea I have and hope for the best. I really don't have a good explanation why Rb2 didn't occur to me. I had seen mating ideas on f2 and the rook on b2 supports that theme really well.
Well, you've done it again! Thanks for sticking it though to the end of another post. I hope to see you next time when we'll look at even more bungles! Feel free to add me as a friend so you can be notified of my next post. Or even better, send me a game challenge, Crush me, and I'll feature your game in my next blog post!
All the Best,
- Jd