This past Thursday the great 1…e5 experiment continued in a game against Rishav Bhattacharyya.
My personal philosophy when it comes to playing kids is that it’s important to run up a huge score against them when you still can, because as they get older (and much better than you!) it’s surprising how often they will also remain slightly afraid of you and you can score some points and half points that you might not otherwise be able to.
I’m annoyed with my inaccuracy in the opening and with my horrendous move that threw away my advantage almost completely at the end. Other than that I’m relatively pleased with my play.
This lyric from the great John Lennon pretty much sums up my performance this past Thursday.
Here is a position. It’s White (me) to move. I have decided that I can’t win this position after having felt like I was better. I decided to just play a move and offer a draw, but I didn’t really take a look to figure out how Jim might try to win this (third misunderstanding – why third and not first? You’ll see that I misunderstood things earlier as well!)
So I play 41.Kf3?? and it’s the losing move. After the game I felt that I could have played “either Kd3 or f4 and would have been fine.” But f4 also loses since I can’t keep the Black king from getting the c4 (fourth misunderstanding.)
In this earlier position my opponent, Jim Coons, has just played …Kh7 and offered me a draw. I felt I was better (first misunderstanding) and then felt that it would be easier to win this without queens since I’d no longer need to worry about keeping his queen out of my position (second misunderstanding) and so I played 33.Qe7 and Jim immediately traded queens.
After the game Jim told me that he felt that I was lost from this point on and I strongly disagreed. He looked at the game on his iPad with Stockfish and told me the computer agrees.
I wasn’t going to disagree with the computer per se, so I ran it through Stockfish 8 on my laptop and after thinking for a while the machine agrees that while slightly worse, overall I’m fine here.
However, where I missed the boat was in not understanding that with the queens still on the board then all of the typical zugzwang motifs in these same colored bishop endings are negated.
Here is the entire game – featuring 9.Rb1, a move that shows I really need to work on this opening!
Had I drawn this game my rating would have remained relatively flat for this tournament, but as it was I lost 16 points, dropping me to 1785 and leaving me with a lot of work to do in the Publisher’s Challenge.
There is a saying that it’s better to be lucky that good, but that’s not the case in chess. OK, rating wise, who doesn’t want some luck, but that won’t make you better in the long run.
Take this position from the game Wainscott – Gill from two days ago.
Seeing the threat against the queen the instinct is to move it. So Governor plays 34…Qc3, but now after 35.Rc2 the queen is lost.
However, had he fought the instinct to move the attacked piece and looked a bit deeper perhaps he would have found 34…b5, which saves the queen with a nice counterattack.
So all in all I’ll take it, but I am not in any way satisfied with my play in this game. I felt I was better, but then 29…Qh4 fell from the sky like a Thunderbolt and I was in some pretty serious trouble.
Last night I played my first game since the beginning of the Book Challenge. I felt that I played well enough in the opening, then stumbled a bit followed by opponent missing a forced (though a long line) mate.
So all in all a bit of luck can often go a long way.