Slow Chess League Championship Round 1: A Fighting Draw
In 2017 I’d got a little lucky and had managed to qualify for the Slow Chess League Championship 2017, which is being played out in the first five weeks of 2018. I was, and still am, so excited about this tournament! It is the most serious tournament I’ve ever participated so far. It is not surprising that the competition is quite strong (according to my level), and on the first round I was paired with an opponent rated ~200 higher than me. I was still optimistic and indeed the game proved to be a quite interesting fight. Here is the game annotated in full detail for your viewing pleasure.
Take aways from the game:
The good: I think I handled the game psychologically well. I was not intimidated by the rating difference, honestly believed in my chances to win, and when the moments came, I went for the most fighting options, or rather, for what I considered the most active. Even when I missed important stuff and got into trouble, I didn’t get into a “#$!½&£! this man, another loss” mode and kept my composure, continuing to look for the best moves for the most part and make use of whatever resources I got.
The bad: Of course missing that Bxb6+ was a check, missing the Nxc6 idea even after Na5 was played, and the horrendous Kf3 are disappointing. The first two are due to blindspots, but the last one, Kf3 is particularly alarming because I never even considered the consequences of black forcing a rook exchange. Missing stuff is OK, not even looking is not.
The perennial time trouble. I have to get a lot more efficient in calculating, I’m losing so much time over “clouded” and disorganized thinking. And I should take basic positional decisions that do not require much calculation (such as choosing between 17.Qd2 and 17.f3) a lot more quickly.
Hope you enjoyed the game and the analysis. I appreciate feedback, so you're welcome to post any comments. I’ll keep blogging every game I play in the SCL championship, so I should hopefully have a 5-week long series consisting of the analysis of every game, so don’t go too far away! Happy chess and happy new year to all!