Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another chess outing

I played again this week. I won two reasonable games, then played this abomination with the white pieces:

Stormcrow (1705) vs. JT (1900)

1. d4 c5 2. Nf3 cxd4 3. Nxd4 a6 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. Bg5 Qc7 8. Qd3 Nxe4 9. Qxe4 Bxc3+ 10. Kd1 Bxb2 11. Rb1 Qd6+ 12. Bd3 Bd4 13. Re1 f6 14. Qxd4 Qxd4 15. Nxd4 fxg5 16. Rxe5+ Kd8 17. Rxg5 g6 18. f3 Nc6 19. Nxc6+ dxc6 20. Kd2 Kc7 21. Re1 Bd7 22. Rge5 Rae8 23. Bc4 Rxe5 24. Rxe5 Re8 25.Rxe8 Bxe8 26. f4 h6 27. Bd3 Kd6 28. c3 a5 29. Ke3 b5 30. g4 g5 31. f5 Ke5 32. a3 c5 33. Kf3 b4 34. cxb4 axb4 35. axb4 cxb4 36. Bc2 Bf7 37. Ke3 0-1

There was more, but I was in time pressure and unable to record it. I got off balance in the beginning and allowed a dreadful pin. According to Crafty, however, black's 11th and 12th moves were poor. On move 13 I played Re1 - not generally bad, but too slow. White wins a bishop gratis by simply playing 13. Nxd4. The natural recapture with the queen is disastrous:

13. Nxd4 Qxd4? 14. Qxd4 exd4 15. Re1+ Kf8 16. Be7+ Kg8 (16. ... Ke8? 17. Bc5+ Kd8 18. Bc6#) 17. Bc5
(threatening Re8) g6 18. Bxd4 (closing the hole) Kf8 19. Bxh8

I believe a spare knight (or rook), two great bishops, and the e file would have been enough for the win. This was against a 1900 player (his rating floor) and would have been my best win ever. So close, and now gone forever!

The silver lining is that I see that I can recover from a poor opening and these A-player "giants" can indeed be felled. This game was a good demonstration of what can happen if you neglect your development - black's seemingly superb opening should have collapsed because his pieces sat idle on their starting squares and his King languished in the center while white's pieces flooded the board! And finally, Crafty is giving me a better grip on reality - Crafty can improve on nearly every one of my moves. If I work to improve even a fraction of these, the quality of my play should increase dramatically.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Playing chess again

Show me a good chess player and I'll show you someone with a miss-spent youth. Anyway, I'm trying to keep the noodle from calcifying as my age advances so I've started playing chess again. I haven't played a tournament game in 17 years. I found a club that plays three quick games each Monday evening. Last week I got smoked, getting 1/2 of a point out of 3 and I probably didn't deserve that. This week I did better, winning the open class with 3 out of 3 points. I scored my first victory against a USCF class "A" player.

Here's the game. It's probably the most active game I've played. My opponent is known to be fearless and aggressive. He didn't disappoint!

Stormcrow (USCF 1705) vs JB (USCF 1881)

1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Ba6 5. e3 Nc6 6. a3 Bb7 7. Be2 h5 8. Ng5 Ng4 9. Nge4 Na5 10. b4 f5 11. Nd2 Bd6 12. Bf3 Nxf2 13. Kxf2 f4 14. Bxb7 Nxb7 15. Nce4 O-O 16. Qxh5 Rf5 17. Qg4 fxe3+ 18. Kxe3 Bf4+ 19. Kd3 d5 20. Ng3 dxc4+ 21. Nxc4 Bxg3 22. hxg3 c5 23. Bb2 b5 24. Ne3 c4+ 25. Kc2 Rf2+ 26. Kb1 c3 27. Bxc3 Rc8 28. Rc1 Nd6 29. Qxe6+ Kf8 30. Ra2 Rf6 31. Qg4 Nc4 32. Nxc4 bxc4 33. Re1 Rc7 34. d5 Kf7 35. Bxf6 Kxf6 36. Rf2# 1-0

Black was in time trouble towards the end which explains his last few moves.

This leaves my rating at 1733 - I'm a middle "B" player. My goal is to become an "A" player which requires a rating of 1800. It's doable this year. To gain the 67 points I'll need to have 4 wins (net) against peers. And of course, I want to hold onto the rating.