Yesterday, I watched Anand fail to regain his title. I expected Carlsen to win, but I wanted one absolutely brilliant win from Vishy along the way—something to hold Vishy’s head high on the plane home. Over the board, despite his one win, there was nothing of the likes of Aronian v. Anand Tata Steel 2013 to delight chess fans. (Check out Danny’s awesome coverage of this game here.) But in his own unexpected way, Vishy got his win!
I’ve had a disappointing week for chess. I don’t feel like I’ve been playing well at all and have lost a lot of games: 33 loses vs. 21 wins. Feeling discouraged, I’ve not kept up on my studying… maybe didn’t review my games like I should… Skipped a few tactics sessions. A real recipe to improve, right?
Yesterday, I watched Anand fail to regain his title. “After this match are you considering leaving chess?” Who would blame him? He is a World Champion after all. But just moments after defeat, with a single, quick, confident “No” Vishy brought more applause than anything that’s happened over the board these 11 games passed. He is a World Champion after all.
With courage borrowed from Vishy, Let’s look at another loss:
Defeat of the day
I didn't plan to show another Hedgehog but its by far the most dynamic game I've played in quite some time. I've actually been putting off this blog post because I didn't want to try to wade though all the variations, only a small percenantage of which did I actually look at during the game. But alas, its exactly the type of game I should be reviewing.
I am really not sure what the opening is. It started out as a Sicilian, but I think we ended up in some kind of an English. I really only have one set up I play against the English and that is a Hedgehog. However, I run into problems like in this game where white never played d4 so I couldn't get a real Hedgehog... perhaps mistakenly, I just pretended that white did and went for my same plans.
My key mistake was failing to correctly evaulate the pawn sac on move 14. In fact I didn't even evaulate it. I just thought I'm losing a pawn there, it can't be any good. And later in the endgame, missing 34...Re8 and two moves later failing to put my passed pawn on a safe square. Given, the time controls for this game, I'm not overly worried about some of the tactical oversites.
To stand in stark contrast to this dynamic crazy game, I'd like show you a beautiful Karpov win featuring the same theme from my positional puzzle last week. Its amazing because black resigns in a position with completely equal material. All notes, belong to Johan Hellsten from his wonderful book Mastering Chess Strategy:
I hope you enjoyed that game as much as me! Its a wonderful game that appears so simple but the opposing side is helpful to do anything about it. I only dream of pulling off such a brilliant game. Speaking of Brilliancies... its time to see another puzzle I blew.
Today's Tactical Trouble
Today's problem is rated 1988. I blew this one because I failed to connect the two main tactical ideas from the position. After meeting my time limit I played the best move I could find which does actually give white a pleasant advantage but isn't nearly fatal like the winning line.
Its tough when there are seveal reasonable moves. In the end, I failed to find a line that won substantial material. I think of my problems is that I am often very tired when I set down to study. I have a very bad habit of staying up very late, only getting a few hours of sleep befoe work and then not studying until its quite late. I often don't have the motivation to really work out a position. I've been valuing the number of hours I put in at the chess board more than the quality of the hours I put in, and so I've been making half worked out moves which pobably explains why I've lost 150 points on my tactics rating along with nearly 200 on my blitz rating!