My First DHLC Slow Tournament Game

After yet another long hiatus, I returned back to online slow games by joining the Dan Heismen Learning Center and participating in the 3rd league qualifier after a few weeks of waiting period. Apparently, showing up for your scheduled games in a qualifier tournament is necessary to play in the "official" slow tournaments held by the club, which I found to be a fair requisite after learning about the high frequency of no-shows by fresh-starters.

On the first round, I was paired with a lower rated opponent, but he had played only two games in slow(ish) time controls yet, and there was a strong chance that he was underrated, which I believe in fact turned out to be the case. I think he played at a much higher level than his rating indicates in our game.

I was greatly lacking gameplay experience due to a very long inactivity. All I have been doing chess-wise for several months is studying tactics and occasionally playing against an engine in my phone.

Still, I was very optimistic before the start of this game, and I didn't prepare any openings. If I had a high rated opponent with a large archive of games that I could analyse, I probably would have.

Here's the game with my almost move-by-move patzer annotations. I tried to remember what was going through my head during the game. Although I did look into the game using an engine post-mortem, I didn't want to get into heavy computer analysis with long variations in this post, although I probably would want to do that if there were more forcing lines.



I think my opponent played a very decent game. I regret completely missing the Nb6 and Qe6 moves. However, I did have a few things to be happy about:

I think not taking the free pawn on f5 and instead going for the initiative with a short series of strong moves starting with Rd1 is very new in my style.

I am too used to playing passively and "too naturally" (if that makes any sense), just sitting there making normal looking moves and waiting for my opponents to blunder something. I need to learn the art of "problem creating" for my opponents, hitting here and there in their position to force some weaknesses to work on.

Making accurate "real" sacrificies (not the pseudo-ones as in tactical combinations) is an ability that I greatly wish to acquire. Although not taking an extra pawn hardly counts as a sacrifice, I hope it's a step in that direction. I'm not writing all this as if Rd1 was a brilliance or something, it is not about the particular quality of that move, which is mediocre at best. It is just that I hope this is an indication that my in-game psychology is starting to slowly evolve.


The second thing that makes me happy about this game is this:

After ruining almost all my advantage and reaching an equalish position after 28...Rc6, normally I would expect myself to feel a very strong frustration and completely lose my motivation to keep playing, occasionally I would even offer draws to just finish the game and walk out of that feeling. But this time, none of that happened. I was able to get back to my mindset at the beginning of the game and still keep playing for a win from a drawn looking position with patient endgame plans like getting my king into the play. This is something new too.



I hope I didn't sound naively optimistic with all this and I hope this was interesting for all and a little instructive for those who suck even worse at chess than myself. Smile

Thanks to my opponent and the DHLC people for their immense effort in organizing these tournaments. If you're into playing slow games online and improving your game, this group is highly recommended. Plus, the larger the slow players pool the better.

From now on, I will try to update my blog weekly (if I can play a game every week in the slow DHLC events.) All feedback is welcome. Good chess to everybody and thanks for reading!


  • 3 years ago


    Great post, thank you VERY much for sharing with us.

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks to all for all the positive words, it's what keeps bloggers blogging. Smile

    @Doc, yeah, happens to me too when I look at my writing from years ago (not chess blogging, necessarily). I agree that writing, like chess, is like almost any other human activity: deliberate and reflective practice (with hopefully fair critical feedback) makes it better.

    About being among the lowest rated in these slow tournaments, well, the good thing about being at beginning levels is that you can learn and improve much faster than higher levels, so try to take advantage of that and enjoy Smile.

  • 3 years ago


    Great article,lots of explanation,and not a lot of long variations!

  • 3 years ago


    Uh, yes, I suck a LOT worse than you!!!  

    WONDERFUL post, instructive too.  I had to go through QUICKLY for newsletter purposes but I can see you put a lot of thought into this blog and it shows.    :)  

    'I wrote about my first DHLC game too but it was an absolute DISASTER!  I think I finally got rid of my write up because I blush when I look at how awful it was....  Anyway, one of the kind folks at the DHLC chat room chess club brought it up (much to my embarassment) one evening.  I wondered why -- but he said, "Look at that and TELL ME you haven't improved!".  Point well taken.  These tournaments wipe me out a bit because I'm always one of the lowest rated if not the lowest rated player in them.  But it's a good opportunity to learn and that's what it's all about.  thank you for sharing. 

  • 3 years ago


    I really enjoyed reading this.  Its great to hear the thoughts of someone who is better than me, but not WAY better than me.  Keep 'em coming :)

  • 3 years ago


    Dittos to Bob's comment!  Thanks for the kind words, and, BTW, if anyone reading this blog would like to join the fun, please go here:

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks! Glad that you enjoyed your first experience with us. A very interesting post that's really worth reading.

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