My Final Round From the USATN

After having a horrendous second day at the USATN I started my Sunday off right with a win.

That brought me to my final game…

I sat down at the board feeling confident, and was quickly up a pawn, and then it went smooth, to quote some Norwegian dude.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

(any donations received go towards lessons)

Push em Baby

Here is a position from the game Wainscott – Haining, K from a couple of days ago.

My opponent has just moved his rook to d8 and my first thought was that my rook was hanging to an x-ray attack as after …Rxe6 dxe6 the d3 rook is attacked twice, but only guarded once.  I find that I notice these types of tactics more easily when I am spending time on tactics training.

My first instinct was to play 27.Ra3 and then work on getting the pawns rolling.  Rather than just play the move I a little voice in my head was telling me to look deeper.  So I did.  And I saw it.  The rook hanging is illusory.

So I decided to play 27.a5

Here I figure I’m better.  It’s not quite winning, but it’s a very pleasant position for me to play.

I figured either my opponent would now see the danger and a5 would essentially have been a free move for me, or he would take the rook.  He took the rook.

27…Rxe6 28.dxe6 Qxd3 29.Qxd3 Rxd3

And what is it that Yasser says about passed pawns?  Oh…right!

30.e7 1-0

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

(any donations will be used to pay for lessons)

Terrible Result at USATN

This weekend saw me participate in the USATN for the fourth consecutive year.  Just like last year I had a pretty miserable performance.

This year I went 2.5-2.5 (the same result as my team) and managed to lose to a 1400 player when I over pressed when my team needed the win, and then in the very next round I blundered a two move mate to an 1136 player.

So the tournament was a disaster, and it’s time to get back to work.

Things did get off to an interesting start on Friday when I played this game and held a draw.

Although we both missed some stuff in the above game, it was nevertheless interesting.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Quality Chess Challenge Wrap Up

On February 13th one of the more interesting events of my chess career came to an end.

The Quality Chess Book Challenge started by an offhand comment by my friend, NM Richard Martin, that QC’s products were so good that it should be possible to improve greatly using nothing by their materials.

So I decided to give it a year.  The one thing that I refused to be dogmatic about was not using anything when no QC product existed.

So for example, lacking much material on endgames I used Minev’s book on rook endings when I wanted to study them.  I also used a lot of online and book resources to work on tactics.

So how did things go?  What were the successes?  Failures?  And where do we go from here?

The first, and most obvious, thing to look at would be rating.  My rating started at 1804 and ended at 1761.  So no real measure there.  I don’t consider a 43 point rating loss a failure, but nor would I consider a 43 point gain to be any real mark of improvement.

The reason why I don’t consider these small types of moves to be much of anything is a situation like in my final game at my most recent tournament. I lost a game that had I won would have made more than a 30 point swing.  Losing that game put me at 1761, while winning that game would have left me at 1793.  I don’t see long term success and failure as measured by the results of only one or two games.

Things I though went well:

I think that my approach started out more disciplined.  Knowing that I was limited in what I could use to study, I tended to put more focus into one thing at a time instead of flitting from thing to thing.

Sadly, that didn’t last, and by the end I was reading a few pages of one book before switching off to something different.  Yet for the first eight or nine months I was definitely more focused.

So if I can tap in to that focus and keep it going I think that only good things can happen.

Another thing that I felt went well is that I developed more of a taste for solving that I used to have.  Solving is a very important part of improvement as it’s the closest one can come to replicating game conditions while not playing.

What didn’t go well:

I was hoping that this challenge would give me more drive to push through and increase my study time.  My friend Susan Polgar has said things along the lines of champions train when others are sleeping or watching TV.

Unfortunately I didn’t really study any more than I already do.  On a great day I’ll get two hours.  Typically that might be on a Saturday morning.  On a good day I might get an hour.  On a typical day it’s less than that.  Maybe 30-40 minutes.

Partially this is due to being married.  I’m not going to come home from work and tell my wife “Hi, bye, gotta go study chess now.”  Which means that I typically don’t get to start working on chess until after she goes to bed.

So 10:00-10:30pm is usually my start time.  As I get up at 5:15am to go to work I can’t push the envelope too far.  Of course this means that I’m not exactly at peak performance when I do study.

So where do we go from here?

The first thing that I am going to do is set myself a new challenge.  I plan on reading books two and three in the Yusupov series this year.  Sure, that’s not much, but it’s easily doable.

The second thing that I plan on doing is starting to spend at least one hour going over the openings of each game I play.  I need to learn more theory than I currently know, so I’ll do this in bite size chunks.

The third thing that I’m going to do is to work on making the study time I do have more efficient.  Primarily I’m not going to spend my evening study time working on tactics.  My plan to keep on working on tactical acumen is to just solve a few here and there throughout the day on my phone.  That should give me the 15-30 min a day I’d like to spend, and still leave my evening time open for other things.

My goal this year is to exceed my all time peak rating of 1896.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

A Nice Find

Last night at the Southwest Chess Club I played the following game as White against Spencer Pinkston.

On the one hand, the expected result happened.  On the other hand, I’m very pleased to have found 17.h3.  It was the best way to exploit an error in judgment.  It wasn’t particularly difficult to find, but it did require some precision.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

53rd Northeastern Open

I am playing in this tournament this weekend.

When I first started playing again in 2011 this was the first tournament I played in.  I went 5-0 to win the Reserve Section.

So this tournament has always been a special one to me as a result.

Yesterday I won my first game, lost my second, and then took a bye in round three as I am making the 75 mile trip back and forth to save a few bucks.

I’ll post the games over the next few days as I get a chance to go over them.

One thing is for sure though…I’m changing my repertoire as White against the Slav.

I played Edgar Talayko at the SWCC in a game a couple of weeks ago and I played the Exchange Slav.  I’ve been sick of this though.  So yesterday I played Susie Ulrich and I played 4…e3.

But I’m going back to a more main line approach.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

The 100 Days Rolls On

Yesterday I didn’t solve on chesstempo at all.  This is because I played a tournament game last night which didn’t leave me any time to solve.

The odds that I’ll solve tomorrow and Sunday are also slim since I’m playing in a tournament this weekend.

Today I did OK.

Day Rating Correct/Missed
Day 1 1650.2 14/4
Day 2 1667.1 17/4
Day 3 1658.2 12/8
Day 4 1677 18/4

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Day Three of the 100 Days

Today I suffered a minor setback.  For one thing, I waited until too late at night to work on chess.

Some days you just get more tired than others.

So today I took a slight step back.  However, considering that I started out something like 3/5 I can live with the final numbers.

Day Rating Correct/Missed
Day 1 1650.2 14/4
Day 2 1667.1 17/4
Day 3 1658.2 12/8

Tomorrow I may not get a chance to solve much since I’ll be playing a game tomorrow night at the Southwest Chess Club.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

Day Two of the 100 Days

Today was day two of the re-launch of the 100 days of tactics.

Here are the cumulative results:

Day Rating Correct/Missed
Day 1 1650.2 14/4
Day 2 1667.1 17/4

Interestingly I felt the same kind of surge I feel in an actual game when I’m in time trouble as I neared the end of my 30 min session.

This led me to miss the last two problems in some sort of “ratings chase” as I was practically gambling by rushing my moves to try to get back to my all time high on chesstempo.  Because of course it tells you when you set a record.

Clearly I’ll need to work on emotional control while solving.

I am fortunate in that I’m not a jittery player.  I don’t shake or fidget when sitting at the board and I rarely get nervous until I’m deep in time trouble.

Now I just need to work on that same calm while solving.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott