Out of shape / Crossing 1500 Blitz

Out of shape / Crossing 1500 Blitz

Dec 3, 2012, 12:42 AM |

About 8 months ago, I got this project at work that turned out to be all-consuming.  I was spending day and night on this thing, as I had to climb up a bunch of new learning curves simultaneously.  It's not over yet, but the end is in sight.  Time to start dreaming of playing OTB once again!

So I am pretty out-of-shape when it comes to chess.  I play 10 minute games here on Chess.com, but it's just not all that satisfying.  Why not?

  1. I'm a TERRIBLE blitz player.  Mostly because I like to take my time and muddle over the position.  I can't even fathom how many games I've lost on time from a clearly winning position.
  2. A corrolary to #1, I actually try to play good moves, when I should probably just concentrate on very quickly tossing out not-losing moves.  I've seen many players with ratings comparable to mine who obviously have ZERO positional skills do very well with blitz because they can play this way.  Frustrating to lose against this kind of opponent.
  3. Fundamentally, I am using internet blitz as a cheap substitute for a real game at slow time controls, and the experience is just not going to translate over.  But with no other outlet due to my busy schedule, I guess I don't have much choice.

Anyway, I finally got out of this rut where I was losing EVERY game, and managed to climb from 1200's to 1500 exactly in about 6 months.  A master once told me that a club player's blitz rating will often be 400 points lower than their slow rating.  So at least I'm in the right ballpark I guess.  Here is the game that I just played that put me at 1500.  I'm posting it without move-by-move comments because it's pretty simple to follow.  But I'll make a few points up front:

  • My opponent is much lower rated, but he had already proven himself to be dangerous in our previous game, where I nearly lost.
  • My opponent is kind of thrashing around looking for something to do.  I have a big space advantage, so he should be either trying to trade some pieces or play for some kind of pawn break to uncoil his position.  He did neither, so he eventually got strangled.
  • Black's doubled rooks on the a-file were completely useless.
  • White's knight on c4 was a freaking monster.  After Black played ...Ra4, his dark-square bishop was stuck defending b6 otherwise Black would lose the b6 pawn as well as get his rooks forked.  At the end of the game, I love how this knight protects the d3 square from a bishop check.
  • After the position closed up, I did NOT try to play the f4 break, even though Black's pieces were far far away from the kingside.  I've had many games go bad where Black captures ...exf4, and then plants his d7 knight in the hole on e5, and suddenly it's not so rosy for White.
  • Near the end of the game I had a chance to trade queens when 2 pawns up, but I also saw that I could press on with a central pawn roller.  I opted for the latter as I thought it would be harder to defend that kind of posiiton than one which is merely technically losing.  I guess it worked, since in the final position Black actually lost on time!