Saturday, January 18, 2014

3 more games of Chess

Game #3 was my 2nd round match in the DHLC Slow Chess League qualifier tournament.  I had a conversation with Dan Heisman about the ratings at and he feels they are about equal to a true USCF rating.  At 1613, this would be the highest rated opponent I've ever had.  I made it a point to not worry about the ratings difference too much.  I went in with the mentality that I wanted to win this game.  I did some research on my opponent beforehand and saw that he'd meet d4 with either the Dutch or the KID.  Since I know nothing about either, I decided to go with e4, which he'd meet with e5.  I've always wanted to give the Scotch a try, and I did some light reading of The Scotch Game Explained, by Gary Lane.

Game #4 is my 1st ever game on ICC.  According to Heisman, ICC ratings are about 100-150 points higher than their equivalent USCF rating.  I had been doing pretty poorly with clock management up to this point, and I wanted to emphasize averaging no more then 3-4 minutes at the most in certain positions.  Of course, more critical positions would warrant more time, but I should be averaging about 75 seconds per move in a G45/45.  The good thing about ICC is the time stamping feature.  I made lots of moves in this game in 75 seconds or less, devoting more time to positions I thought warranted it.  There's still room for improvement.

Game #5 is my last round match in the DHLC Slow Chess League qualifier tournament.

Some takeaways:

  1. I am getting horrible positions out of the opening.  Most of the time I'm still finding a way to win the game.  I guess the opening doesn't matter after all.
  2. I am doing okay at staying safe, but not so great at taking advantage of my opponent's mistakes.  My thought process needs lots of improvement, and I think part of it is getting into a defensive mindset in a cramped opening position. 
  3. I need to be more aggressive with my break moves and piece placement in the opening.  I'm getting the slow and safe parts down, but active needs work.
  4. I'm making enough mistakes in games to still lose to Class E players, but they haven't been taking advantage.  I need to play up more.  I'm actually rated over 1300 at now.  Following Dan's advance, most of my games need to be against players rated up to 200 points above me to punish me for my mistakes.  I'm not really afraid of losing and I welcome the learning opportunities.
  5. I am overconfident in the endgame.  I've made it a primary emphasis, along with tactics and it's paying off some.  But I need to analyze more and do less hand-waving in endgame positions.
  6. I still need to speed up some in less critical positions.
I am now 4-1 against Class E players, with three of my wins coming as Black. I've never won 4/5 against Class E players before. That horrible blunder I made in game #3 was hopefully enough to not make that kind of game changing mistake again.

I am 1-0 against Class D players.

I am 0-1 against Class B players.

I'm still considering myself a Class E player until USCF tells me otherwise.  Hopefully I can get several games against higher rated players in the coming weeks.  I have been afraid to play against them since I considered my playing strength to be equal to my USCF 1000 so I stuck with under 1200 opponents.  Time to kick it up a notch.

1 comment:

  1. I think Dan is a bit harsh when it comes to online ratings. I think ICC standard is on par with USCF and standard is probably underestimated compared to USCF by ~150 pts. You may recoup those estimates by asking people in DHLC and ICC leagues to tell you what their USCF is and draw a comparison yourself.

    Concerning your games (all in all, well done !), I would suggest to draw more specific conclusions, because stating that your thought process needs to be improved will only take you so far :-) For example, you lost the first game because you didn't notice your opponent had a pawn promotion tactic, so probably this is something you may want to look at. Your endgame play is good and this is an asset.