David vs. Goliath Matchups in Blitz.

Nov 21, 2014, 1:41 AM |
    Hey there everyone! I played a bitz touranament a few hours ago in which I faced three consecutive opponents who were significantly higher rated than me, winning two and losing against the big scary 1700. I hope to illustrate the do's and don'ts of playing against higher rated players - blitz or otherwise.

    Okay, so maybe a chess.com blitz rating of 1544 doesn't exactly make one "Goliath", but that doesn't change the fact that I was petrified of playing this guy! My blitz rating has been as high as 1420 in the past, but that was a huge fluke: on top of that, I try to only play opponents who are within 100 points of me in either direction. So you can imagine my fear when I got matched up against someone (in a tournament) who was over 250 points higher that me! Nonetheless, I kept my cool, managed to maintain an advantage, and forced him into deep time trouble. I know, blitz play isn't indicitive of ideal play from either side, but I just had to share my conquest Smile After an easy win in round one, I met this intimidating fellow in round 2.


     All of the annotations and analysis are my own, done without computer assistance. After analyzing by myself, I submitted the game to chess.com for computer analysis. I knew that it probably wouldn't like my simplification-first mindset, but the degree to which it didn't like it was very surprising. I had made so many mistakes going into the endgame that the evaluation after 33. Ne5 was +0.1!!! Regardless, my opponent was in as deep of time trouble as I was and failed to find the line which drew: after 36... Bc4! I'll need to give the extra piece back to prevent promotion. Even that can't take this win away from me! This was the highest-rated person I had ever beaten in blitz.

    The next game was played in round 3 of the same tournament (I don't even have time to savour the sweet taste of victory?!). I should've been confident after that last game going up against someone who was "only" 150 points higher rated than me, yet somehow I wasn't exactly in that mindset.


   Again, my analysis was written without computer assistance. Just like the previous game, I submitted my game to chess.com for computer analysis after my initial post-mortem annotation was done.. Oops! apparently I had let the advantage slip at some point (again...). Apparently 10. Ng5 was crucial to keeping my attack going. (What does the computer have against grabbing a pawn and then curling into the fetal position, anyway?). Luckily my opponent made one or two more serious blunders than I did, so I came out on top.

    /*Ladies and Gentlemen, boys'n'girls, the main event of the evening!!*/
   So far, I've basically analysed two games have swung drastically in my favor, then slightly back to my opponent's, and then back to an advantage or a win for me. This game, unfortunately for me, didn't end up in my favor. In retrospect, I really should have been able to seal the deal on this one too. Of course, it is worth noting that this opponent was a whopping 400 pts my superior.

    Checking the computer analysis afterwards, I was a little surprised to find that I wasn't nearly as bad as I thought I would be after losing the exchange back! The computer lists 20. Rd3 as an innacuracy, but not a blunder as I had imagined. After this move the evaluation shifts from +0.08 to -0.57. The unnecessary rook sac, however, wasn't looked upon too kindly by the engine.

     To summarize...

1) Fear not! Your opponent is human too.
They should be more afraid of you than you are of them! You have the potential to put a serious dent in their rating.

2) Be on the lookout for blunders all the time!
I missed some, caught some, and blundered some right back. If I had beaten the 1700+ opponent, this blog might be called "why I am not ranked nearly high enough in blitz".

3) Avoid tactical openings!
The closed sicilian, QGD, and Caro-Kann are your best friends.

     I recommend playing tournaments on chess.com with no rating limit: that way you get to play people who are much better than you, which only makes it sweeter when they blunder away the game ;) gl;hf Smile


Feel Free to let me know what you thought of the games, writing, or annotation, and also share some of your games/thoughts/experiences/whatever else in the comments :)