My Poor f7 and Luck in Chess - As Pure as It Gets
After a heartbreaking loss I had more than a month ago, I decided I'd never, ever play a game of live chess against a human being. Well, the pain gradually subsided over the long break and I already knew that if I want to ever improve at this thing, I would not only have to play again some time, but I would have to play frequently and on a regular basis. I take my greatest weakness to be practical playing experience and there's a very simple cure for that: Play persistently and seriously and analyze your games in depth. It's too safe and convenient to solve tactics puzzles all the time and feel good about your accuracy. One has to experience the real struggle where all the various aspects of the game come together to form a complicated totality. So I thought better of it and signed up for the October chess.com tournament on the excellent Slow Chess League.
On the first round I was paired with a player with the perfect rating for my situation: They were strong enough to give me a difficult challenge but not intimidatingly so. I knew that players around that rating range can occasionally be extremely hard to beat, but I wasn't expecting to display such a weak level of chess myself! For a big part of the game I had to fight off the gnawing sense that I would lose the game like a beginner. But luck was on my side. Let's see what happened in the game:
I'll divide my final impressions on my play into two:
1) Purely chess-wise, I think it was a failure. My lack of opening knowledge was obvious, and I evaluated my chances in the endgame wrongly, but what's grave is that tactically I was terrible: in the late opening phase of the game I grabbed a poisioned pawn by missing a simple yet extremely effective move (Ne5), and in the endgame I missed my opponent's hanging piece right in front of my king.
2) Psychologically though, I think I did a really good job. I'm quite happy with the fighting spirit I showed. In an almost resignable position I forced myself to sit through long thinks, played some purposeful (even if less than perfect) moves while struggling through awful emotions of frustration and dissappointment, and when an equal position appeared on the board, I declined a draw offer and went on to fight for a win.
I'll try to keep hold of that mindset for the next game which will be a much more difficult challenge given that my opponent is about a hundred points higher rated than me. I'm pretty sure I won't have the same amount of luck on my side.
That's it for this week folks, I hope you enjoyed the annotations. All analysis was done with the help of the chess engine Komodo. Thanks to my opponent for the game and for the friendly post-mortem chat. See you next time!