The Sinquefield Cup kicked off today, and there were three winners right out of the gate with Aronian defeating Nepomniatchtchi, Karjakin taking advantage of a Svidler implosion, and the game I’m talking about here, which saw Wesley lose to MVL.
The game was the 6.a4 Italian, which seems to be surging in popularity these days.
In fact, at the Olympiad in 2016 Wesley won a very nice game in this same opening against Nepo. That game went like this:
Perhaps fearing Maxime’s prep, Wesley chose to play 8…h6 instead of 8…Ba7.
Then, on his 40th move Wesley missed 40…Kf6 and instead put his king on d8 which saw the Frenchman quickly bring home the full point.
Hopefully the number of wins in this round sets the tone for the rest of the event.
For the past week I have been afflicted with a fairly serious ear infection. The most annoying part of this illness is that it makes it difficult to properly study chess.
I have still been doing tactical drills for 30-40 minutes daily, along with playing through a bunch of GM games in lines I plan on playing in the coming week based on upcoming club games, but that’s about it.
No actual work. No solving. No analyzing my own games deeply. Nothing.
It’s hard to do real work when your head feels like a balloon. This makes it tough to focus in any meaningful way. Luckily I’m now on day three of a ten day course of medication to cure the problem, but it may be another few days before I am close to 100% again.
There is also a bad news/good news aspect to this. The bad news is that with really aggressive goals of finishing one Yusupov book per month for the next two months this puts me far behind the timeline of where I need to be.
The good news though, and this is the part that I am choosing to focus on currently, is that I have not used this illness as an excuse to stop working completely.
While it seems likely that my tactical drills are having limited impact since my ability to learn new patterns is probably affected by my inability to focus clearly, I am certain that I am at the very least staying sharp with the patterns I already know.
In the “old days” (i.e. prior to the Quality Chess Challenge) I would have used illness as a reason to just take a complete break.
Instead I have stayed active to the best of my ability.
Here’s hoping that I recover soon and can get back to real work, but until then I’ll just keep plodding along.