Friday, July 18, 2014

Games #25, #26, #27

I'm very behind on annotating my games.  Ironically, one of the reasons is I'm playing so many games now I don't have time to go over them thoroughly!  As this has been an important part of my training, I'm now resolved to get caught up.  I have about 20 or so I've played since taking a month off, although I doubt all will make the list.

I feel like I've been playing some terrible chess lately, despite my rating continuing to increase.  More on that in a future blog post.

The following games were all played in a June Swiss at one of the chess clubs I've joined since moving.  As these were played about a month ago, the annotations will be sparser than usual.

A short disappointing draw in a game where I missed some tactical opportunities and could've had a big advantage out of the opening.  Not nearly as bad as some of my other games lately.

More laziness when it comes to analysis.  I'm trying to get better at managing my time, but that can't be at the expensive of looking at tactics.  As this has been an ongoing theme of mine lately, I had a conversation with Dan about it.  The gist of it went like this:

Dan: "When you're analyzing potential moves by your opponent, what should you assume?"
SK: "Assume he makes good moves"
Dan: "Right.  Now AFTER he makes his move, what should you assume?"
SK: "I guess you shouldn't assume anything".
Dan: "You should assume the OPPOSITE.  After he moves, assume his move loses the game.  And your job is to try to falsify that assumption."

I've been spending a lot of time assuming my opponent isn't dropping material in the opening and trying to get on with my development so I don't lose time.  I definitely consider his threats and make safe moves, but I'm not assuming their move was unsafe.  And I've missed some easy wins because of it.

The last game is possibly the only game I've played recently when I feel like I played well start to finish.   My first game back to OTB back in April featured a similar game and I was able to make a big improvement vs that game.  One of many reasons going after your games afterwards is a good idea.  After his 19th move, I immediately knew that capturing was likely the right idea  I just had to remember why.

I need to work on my consistency.  My two biggest weaknesses right now are time trouble and getting lazy with my analysis.   I'm playing "hope chess" far too often in my games and it has ended up costing me probably 100 rating points.


  1. Honestly, you're playing quite well. None of these games were especially easy, and your opponents played pretty well for their rating too !

    I don't have the feeling you're lazy OTB (your blog certainly doesn't look like the blog of a lazy person !). There may be other explanations for your missing some ideas or some branches in your variations.

    Would you mind pointing to the games/positions where you feel you were lazy ? And do you mind if we go a bit further in the OTB group, because I feel like it would be interesting to compare your perceptions to those of the other members as well ?

    I was especially interested in the 3rd game, being a QGD exchange Carlsbad practicioner myself. I think you played this game pretty well, at least from an engine-1200 elo point of view ;-)

    You said 5.cxd5 may have been rushed a little. It's debatable, because after 5.Bg5, you give black the option to play the sharp 5...dxc4 which opens a whole can of worms (semi-slav Botvinnik, Moscow and Anti-Moscow...). It's true theory considers 5.cxd5 as toothless, but I can testify it's perfectly playable at least up to 2000 elo, and has the advantage of steering the game into your territory (very important in amateur OTB play).

    You also expressed doubts about 14.b4. I think it's perfectly fine (that's the plan, right ?). After 14...a5, you can discuss whether 15.a3 or 15.b5 is better. I think both are playable. The computer spitting an = eval. doesn't mean there isn't play left in the position. It's not drawish. See for example : (white is a GM)

  2. The solution you posted for puzzle 2
    in this post is wrong, check again. My 8 year old chess player identified that mistake....I am referring to this post