It has been 11 days since my last post (02/02/2012) and chess has just about taken over my entire life. Well, other than working, eating, drinking, etc. But I am spending time every day on chess. I am checking in on all my correspondence games, of which I had as many as 9 going at one time. I also am playing more live chess online. I played 12 games (11 rated, 1 unrated), all rated games being blitz time controls, by participating in 2 tournaments on chess.com. I won't be discussing the one unrated game, simply because it was unrated and because I was rather drunk when I played. Fortunately, I wasn't drunk enough to play a rated game.
Anyway, chess has become a big part of my life. This is something I should have realized would happen when I took on my quest for 2000. I guess I did know that focusing on chess would take more of my time. But I thought more time would be spent on studying and improving than playing. Whereas, just the opposite seems to be true. Little of the time spent on chess is spent studying. More time is spent playing but I think that's because I have found a lot of enjoyment playing in tournaments on chess.com.
So, without further ado, let's see what this episode brings.
As I stated, little of my chess time is spent studying. I still have "How to Reassess Your Chess" from my local library. But I have hardly progressed on it at all. I would put analyzing my games under the category of study, but the majority of the time I do that either immediately after the game I played or when I am examining the game for my commentary here. I work tactical puzzles on chesstempo.com, chessgames.com, and chess.com. But I don't do that every day or spend a set amount of time on it. I also watch videos by kingscrusher on youtube that he does live commentary on his games. But that is mostly for enjoyment. I am not sure how much I actually learn from them.
What does this mean? I don't know. Should I spend more time studying? Probably. But, until my rating stabilizes, how will I know where to focus my study? I realize tactics are always a good thing to study and that is where I spend most of my study time. But where else does my game need help? I won't really know until I see where my rating is and analyze my games for weaknesses. So for now I am just going to stick with studying tactical puzzles and using my correspondence games to study opening theory and positional strategy.
Eleven rated games played this week, all of them blitz time controls. There were seven, 5-minute games: two single games and five played in a tournament. The other 4 games occurred in a tournament with a 10-minute time control. All games were considered blitz and affected my blitz rating.
In the first game, against sriniav, rated 1243, I had black and played the Dutch Defense, Leningrad Variation. This is an opening I haven't played much, but I enjoy because it can give plenty of counterplay for black. It can also be a death sentence if you make a mistake. I won a piece early on but let my king get exposed and couldn't stop his attack. I resigned after 27 moves.
The next game was against Martin81, rated 1106. I had the white pieces. This started strangely. The game began 1.e4 e5, 2. Nc3 Qf6!? 3.Qf3[figuring trading queens wouldn't be bad] Qc6. I then went on a queen hunt as I chased his queen around the board. I sacrificed a bishop to keep the attack going. After 9 moves, though, I don't know what happened. I don't know if he got disconnected, or if his house caught on fire, or if he just remembered an important date he had, but he stopped moving and his clock ran out. So I won on time. Here is the final position:
The next 5 games were part of a 5-minute blitz tournament for players rated 1200 to 1500. I didn't particularly play well. I lost the first 4 games. The first with the black pieces against bubjas, rated 1440. I played a Scandinavian and was two pieces up with a strong attack. Unfortunately, I used too much of my time achieving this advantage and lost on time in 26 moves.
The second game was against sujikp, rated 1225. I had white. I lost this game in 26 moves as well, but not because of time. I was down two rooks. I played a Vienna gambit, but didn't play it very well.
In the third game I had black against carchi, rated 1309. I played a Two Knights Defense against his king pawn opening. And I lost in 9 moves. Yes, really. Here is the game for your replaying pleasure. Try not to laugh too hard:
Yeah, I fell right into his trap. Oh well, live and learn.
I then lost my next game in 35 moves. I played white against PRAMODPAHADI70, rated 1472. Once again, I was ahead in material but lost on time. I was up a knight and two pawns, but the clock ran out on me again. I guess I could look on the bright side that I achieved an advantage in a couple of the games I lost. I just need to work on my time management if I am going to continue to play in short blitz time controls.
My last game in the tournament was against makatozi, rated 1474. I had white and, with nothing to lose, I decided to play the dreaded Danish Gambit. Here is the game:
He opened up a pretty good attack on my kingside. On move 17, I sacrificed the exchange to help squelch the attack. He blundered on move 26 by pawn munching with Qxd4?. This allowed me to take his pawn on h3 with check, setting up the king and queen fork with 29.Nf6+. He resigned shortly after.
The moral of this story? Play those speculative openings! It's fun and educational. If nothing else, you can learn a little about how to defend a losing position. So I might lose a few games. Rating, shmating. I may have to try the Danish again.
I also played a 10 minute tournament which consisted of 5 rounds also. One round was a bye due to an odd number of players, so I was guaranteed at least one point. I gained another point by winning my first game, playing as black, against Fiurex, rated 1314. After 19 moves, my opponent abandoned the game. I was ahead a rook in the game and had an easy win. I lost the other 3 games in the tournament and finished in 6th place with a score of 2/5. I had an opportunity in the game against chesshole, rated 1459. We got down to a king and pawn endgame. I offered a draw, but he refused. Unfortunately, I showed how poor my endgame skill is and resigned when he was about to queen a pawn.
After these games, my blitz rating on chess.com is now 1216. My standard rating remained unchanged at 1268.
Another good episode on the correspondence front. I added two more wins to my total since my last post. I won my game against Kootenays. He resigned after 35 moves when I was about to win a knight, which would put me a rook up. This was another unrated game, so there was no effect on my rating. Here is the entire game for your viewing pleasure:
I also recorded a win against Joe Wurdak. I feel I was lucky to win this game. He blundered away his queen when he had a vicious looking attack going on the king side. This was a rated game, my first, and the win jumped me all the way up to 2120. It looks really good to see that high number by my name. Of course, it won't last. It'll come back down to my actual rating, whatever that may be, eventually. But it makes me dream of the day when I will reach the goal of this quest: a rating of 2000+. It is nice to dream. But until then I have a lot of work to do. Here is my game against Joe:
He graciously allowed me to play it all the way to checkmate, which is unnecessary, but fun nonetheless.
My game against kingscrusher is still in the opening stages, so nothing to report from there. I have added 6 games to my total by entering a 4 player guest double round robin tournament. I am playing two games each (one as black, one as white) against Artsyhimself (rated 1635), keepin on (rated 1795), and tolasaria (unrated, set at 1400). Actually, only 4 of the games are still active. I claimed a win on time in both games against tolasaria, as he/she never made a move. A shame, really.
I also added one more game by putting in a pyramid challenge. After my first win raised me to level two, I decided to challenge a level 3 player, the preposterously named mr. booze (rated 1496). This game is unrated, while the tournament games are rated. I don't think that any games that I initiate on chessworld.net are rated. It seems that only games initiated by members or tournament games are rated.
My game on chess.com against xadrezenico is going swimmingly. I promoted two of the three past pawns I had. Although one of them was sacrificed to win a knight. I also won the exchange, winning a rook for a knight. I now have a queen, rook and knight against a knight and bishop. This game should be over shortly.
Not a very good week, results-wise at least, in live chess. But I didn't really play all that badly. I won a couple of games and had a material advantage in a couple more before losing on time. So, some good moves, just bad time management.
The episode was better in correspondence, where I recorded two more wins (four if you count the wins claimed on time) and my first rated game success. Of course, with the tournament adding 6 games to my load, I have to spend more time on correspondence chess (or less time on each move). This doesn't leave as much time for live chess, or study for that matter. I think I need to play more live chess. It will help my tactical and positional experience, as well as my time management. I should probably stick to longer time controls (standard 15 minutes), but I like playing in the live tournaments and the shorter time controls are easier to fit into my schedule.
That's all for now. So, until the next episode, happy mating!!!