Thursday, 28 February 2008

A swindle

This week's game was drifting towards a likely loss, when a trick appeared:

Why can't white play 26. Ra5? The solution, luckily for me, is in the game.

Moments like this require some self-control. Clearly you don't want to let the opponent know that you have set a trap. Ideally, you should somehow give the impression that the blunder which you're hoping for is a perfectly normal move, possibly even your main line, and certainly that you're a bit worried by it. That's an awful lot of impression to give.

Further restraint is needed when the trap is sprung - it would be unspeakably rude to sit there grinning inanely. Actually, I'm not sure that it's altogether classy to blog about it later. Probably I've posted enough of my own blunders to allow this, though.

What more to say? It's not the way that I'd want to win a game; but it sure beats losing...

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Boring System revisited

Back in October, I faced a London System and complained that it led to a dull game that noone could possibly enjoy, and I couldn't beat it, and wouldn't someone please suggest some way to spice things up?

Last week, however, I met it again and was quite happy to play the same tedious lines all over again. The difference? In the earlier game I held a rating advantage of about 15 ECF points (about 120 Elo, for any non-English readers); but in this second game I was outrated by 20 points (say 150 Elo).

Actually, I think this is quite rational. As black, against a stronger opponent, I should be happy to hold a draw. Certainly I don't think that it should be up to me to create complications. I've no idea, though, why white would choose to play this way. I'm pretty sure that he wasn't playing for a draw, but he never really looked like getting anything more. If anything, black was developing a slight edge before dropping a pawn and shutting up shop.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Adjourned again

I've posted before about my dislike of adjournments in club chess, so won't labour the point again. Suffice to say that I would have preferred to finish this game on the night.

It's not a very exciting game, this one. Probably white ought to try and open things up earlier on (8. c4, perhaps); and then probably he should be trying to maintain the tension for a bit longer (17. a4, or something) rather than acquiescing to an endgame in which he is slightly worse.

The computer tells me that the adjourned position is just about as dull as it looks - but Barnet are one up in the match, with this game and another adjourned. That being so, I guess I can understand that Opponent feels he has to play on and hope that he can persuade me to blunder (and of course this might yet happen). Ironically, I can't help thinking that his chances of success would be higher if he'd agreed to a quickplay finish in the first place.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

A bad game

I played this game three or four weeks ago now, and should have blogged it sooner. But I was so disgusted with my play that I've been putting it off.

Why did this loss annoy me more than any of the others that I've posted? I think because the bad moves came through sheer laziness, leaving a strong feeling that I'd let myself down. Sometimes you miscalculate, or misevaluate a position, or choose a bad plan; but at least you are calculating, evaluating, and planning. This game, though, was lost simply by not investigating the position at all.

Explicitly, after 11. ... c6 my thought process went something like this:

"Obviously he wants to play ... d5. I don't really believe in that; start those pawns rolling and I'll just crush him on the kingside. Excellent".

And that's about it. I considered my opponent's intended move to a depth of fully zero ply. As soon as it hit the board, of course, I saw that I was losing material. Really, when you see what your opponent is going to do, you should give it a little attention.

I probably ought now to be writing that, well, at least it's a lesson learned and I surely won't be making that mistake again. Alas, I doubt that's true. Bad habits formed over many years aren't so easily given up.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 presents S.Swanson vs T.Gavriel

I played an interesting game last night against Steve Swanson of Hertford chess club:

S.Swanson Ecf 204 vs T.Gavriel 185
Hertford 1 vs Barnet 1

[[1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. g3 dxe4 5. dxe4 e5
6. Bg2 Bg4 7. Ngf3 Nc6 8. h3 Be6 9. O-O h6 10. c3 Qd3 11. Re1 O-O-O 12. Bf1 Qd7
13. Bb5 Qd6 (13... Bd6 14. Nc4 (14. Qa4 a6 15. Bxc6 Qxc6 16. Qxc6 bxc6 17. Kg2)
14... Bxc4 15. Bxc4 Qxh3) (13... Bd6) 14. Qa4 Nb8 (14... Bd7 15. Bxc6 Bxc6 16.
Qxa7 Qe6 17. a4 Qxh3 18. Nxe5) 15. Bf1 (15. Nc4 Bxc4 16. Bxc4) 15... Nfd7 16.
Nc4 (16. Qxa7 Nb6 17. Qa5 Nc6 18. Qb5) 16... Qc6 17. Qxc6 Nxc6 18. a4 (18. b4
f6 19. Rd1 Nb6) 18... a5 19. Be3 f6 20. Nfd2 b6 21. Kg2 Bc5 22. Nb3 Bxe3 23.
Rxe3 h5 24. Ree1 h4 25. g4 Nf8 26. Rad1 Ng6 27. Nc1 Nf4+ 28. Kh2 Kb7 29. Ne3
Rxd1 30. Rxd1 Rd8 Draw agreed 1/2-1/2 ]]

Thursday, 14 February 2008 presents T.Gavriel vs I.Khandaker

Barnet I played Watford II on Tuesday night. I had a win against Khandaker Ecf 168:

T.Gavriel 185 vs I.Khandaker 168
Barnet I vs Watford II

[[1. c4 {0} Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 Bb4 (3... e5) 4. e5
Ng8 5. Qg4 Bf8 6. d4 d6 7. Bg5 Ne7 8. O-O-O h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Ne4 Bg7 11. f4 d5
12. Nc3 Nf5 13. Bf2 c6 14. Nf3 a6 15. h4 gxf4 16. Qxf4 h5 17. Bd3 Nh6 18. Ng5
Qe7 19. Be2 Nf5 20. g4 hxg4 21. Bxg4 Nh6 22. cxd5 (22. Bh3 Nd7 23. Rhg1 Nb6 24.
c5 Nd7 25. Rde1) 22... cxd5 23. Bh3 (23. Nxd5 exd5 24. Bxc8 Qc7+) 23... Bd7 24.
Rhg1 Rg8 (24... Nc6 25. Nge4 dxe4 26. Rxg7 O-O-O 27. Nxe4) 25. Nh7 Nc6 26. Rxg7
Rxg7 27. Nf6+ Kd8 28. Qxh6 Rg6 29. Qh8+ Be8 30. h5 Rg5 31. Bh4 1-0]]