Complications & Disappointment
I was very eager to talk about this game. I was preparing statements like "I pressed hard right from the beginning, but he defended strongly, I calculated deep, kept him on his toes for a long time but he kept finding only-move defenses and the battle ended in a hard fought draw."
Well, to my disappointment, after post-mortem analysis with my engines, I realized this wasn't the case at all, things were actually much more complicated than I thought and in fact I made one inaccuracy after the other and blundered away a completely won position. I should also mention that my opponent had made me suffer from my first defeat on the site, which is analyzed in one of my previous posts.
To be fair to myself, it really involves a huge tactical mess, despite the queenless middlegame. Let's head to the game, try to see if you can find improvements for white:
During the game I was making lots of analysis, and I thought I was being very precise about everything here. I did suppose I would've had a few inaccuracies here and there, but I honestly wasn't expecting to realize I had absolutely no idea about the position when I finally analyzed it with an engine. My overall evaluation of this position was that I was entering a series of tactical exchanges which would end up with me holding on to my extra pawn, and I was satisfied with it.
However, I am now giving you one tip. It's white to play and win decisively here. What would you do? OK I'll give you another hint: It can be a little messy.
So I have missed it all and black has a move that defends, while others lose significantly. Try to find it, this one is more clear than the previous position. Black to move.
And black returns the favor and here we have another one. This time it's white to play and win. White has two moves that are winning, but one is clearly more decisive. Which one is it?
After 40...Bc6, I had realized I had no chances left whatsoever, and in fact I was now the one on the defense. Black had some tricks here with the obvious mate threat.
I offered a draw after playing this move and my opponent accepted it.
My notes I took during the game before my final move were: 41. Ra7+ Ke6! 42.Rc7 [42.Rg7?? Ra2! -+ (threatening mate).] Kd5 (42...Kd6?? 43. Nc4+), (42...Bf3 43.Rc1) 43. f4!? Ksomewhere 44.b2! Bxb2 45.Rc2
I've included the rest of the moves to demonstrate the flawless analysis in my notes!
So yes. A disappointment.
Lesson to learn: Do not reach early conclusions in such messy tactical positions, and do not let some alien force gain control over your hand and play moves like a4.
2) Same story, different ending:
This second game is in fact not completely a disappointment, as I have managed to win after all, but it still includes vital inaccuracies in my notes I took during the game.
This Qh5 was the main idea black needed to watch out for. Here I think we have reached one of those "critical positions." There are several complications to be solved beforehand if you want to get tactical. I wanted to play d4 here, and wanted it badly, but does it work? Black to play, evaluate 13...d4.
Lesson to learn: (I'll try not to repeat the exact words from the first lesson!) Whenever you reach a judgment about a tactical position, try to look one move deeper, and then one more! (I remember seeing this one in a book, but I don't remember which one).
3) Chill Out Mode, Slight Inaccuracies and Some Opening Discussion
This was an unrated greeter game against a lower rated opponent, actually my first and only greeter game that managed to end without a time out. Not worth giving serious thought on it as it will be clear from the level of play we've both displayed it was not meant to be serious, but it involves a few things I'd like to share:
In the end, I believe I still have a long way to go to reach the clarity of mind I need during complicated middlegame positions. My tactics training at Chess Tempo isn't going very well either, I just dropped a whole 90 points in 2 standard problems the other day, and my current rating is a bit lower than what it used to be like 8 months ago. Maybe my new year's resolutions weren't very realistic after all, but I ain't giving up yet!
Thanks to all my opponents for the games, and thanks for reading, hope I could make it worthwhile. All analysis here and in my previous blog posts is done with the help of mainly Firebird 1.0, sometimes Rybka 3 Human and in rare cases Deep Fritz 11.
I appreciate feedback & comments!
Oh, are you wondering why I posted a grumpy old man's picture at the beginning?
For those of you that may not recognize him, the grumpy old man in the picture is J.D. Salinger, who, in my opinion, is one of the best story authors to have ever lived, and he died very recently, at 27th January 2010. I still feel like crying about it, but I realize it was his stories and novel he was and is living in.
For Esmé – with Love and Squalor