Sunday, July 10, 2016

1900 and counting (games #45 & #46).

It's amazing how much time passes between blog posts.  A month after my 2-year anniversary post in April, I finished another tournament and broke 1900.  It's a bit strange to me that my new rating floor is 200 points higher than a rating I struggled to get away from a year ago.  I think the most amazing thing is I picked up 260 elo playing only ~30 rated games.   It's like I hit a switch and started playing much better chess.  I hope that switch stays on.

I haven't done any chess since then, which is about 2 months.  I had planned on taking a break in preparation for my summer chess schedule.  I can't help but feel like I didn't get done nearly as much study as I would've liked.  I still haven't done a tactics puzzle since December.  I did spend a couple of weeks on ChessGym with their Attackers and Defenders games.   30 minutes a day for 8-10 days got me 6th on both ranking lists.  It's a fun little diversion, but I doubt it has much value after that 10 days.

I might play in the Millionaire Chess Open this year, since they actually realized that no one wants to spend $1500 to enter a tournament on top of hotel and airfare to a desert in the middle of nowhere (Las Vegas).  This year's tournament is in Atlantic City, NJ.  The vast majority of active chess players are in the NYC-PA area and this location will be much more convenient.  I expect them to actually break 1,000 entrants this year and have a successful tournament.

With that in mind, I've picked out 5 weekend tournaments I want to play in between now and then, plus a one month rest period before the MCO.  I hope to play well enough to break 2000 by my last tournament which actually falls on the weekend of my birthday.  That would be a nice present to myself.  That would mean ~2.5 years to go from 1000 to 2000 rating.

And now for the last two games I played before my break.  Game #45 is typical of the type of success I see in the Queen's Gambit Modern Exchange.   I have a completely winning game by move 20.  I have enough experience in this line now that I see the ideas very quickly and don't waste a lot of time on the clock.  He made me work to get the full point, but there was only one point from there when I thought like I had made a hasty mistake, but it turns out I didn't.

Game #46 is another Carlsbad structure, this time in the Nimzo-Indian.  I've never played this line before.  I spent a couple of days back in early/mid April looking for a new system in the Rubinstein Nimzo, and decided to go with this setup since it seemed similar to how I play in the QGD.  But I hadn't looked at it since.  This game didn't really follow any of the model games I looked at past move 10 or so.  I was able to figure out some of the theory differences over the board and ended with a promising position.  After a couple of moves hesitating, I break open the kingside on move 16.  After what he probably thought were some harmless exchanges, he sees he's losing the exchange after my 22nd move.  I believe I saw this idea at least by move 17/18.  From there its mostly work to get the rest of my forces coordinated and bring home the win.  I ended up missing some easier wins on the way to making the 30 move time control, but still found ways to keep his position under pressure.