Friday, November 19, 2010

Move Method--B.1.Absorb Suprises

I added this phase recently to my move method, because of a game I played in the Sept 11 2010 Rochester Chess Club tournament. My opponent made a move that I had not analyzed, and I panicked. This will happen, and when it does, I need to take a breath, calm down, and take some extra time to reset.

So the first thing to do when it is my move is to take time and absorb any surprise move, and reassess the position, including my expectations and plans.

Paulik vs Newshutz

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 c5 6. Be3 cxd4 7. Nxd4 O-O 8. Be2

With Nc6 I can go into a classical Dragon. It is possible that my opponent has preparation in this line, but it is more likely that any white player would have prepared a Yugoslav variation against a Sicillian Dragon.  I had not yet prepared anything in this line yet, but I had played over a number of Classical Sicilian Dragon games in my youth.    In fact, it was the first opening I ever studied, from the first book I read on chess, Reuben Fine's Chess the Easy Way. OTOH, if you are a Dragon player, this is a good line against the Pirc, because you are more likely to be familiar with this.

Instead, I decided to play a little more Pirc-ish, but I think it would be better to prepare  something against the Classical Dragon and just dive in next time this presents itself. 8...a6 9. Bf3 Nbd7 Fritz thinks this is a novelty. (9... Qc7 has been played before and white got an advantage with 10. Nd5 Nxd5 11. exd5 b5) 10. Qd2 Nb6 11. Be2 Bg4

I am looking to trade off the light square bishops, then chase the dark square bishop off the long diagonal, or trade it for a knight. This move also vacates c8, so I can place a rook there. Fritz says that 11...Qc7 12. f5 is equal.12. O-O-O Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Qc7 14. Nb3  Nc4 15.Bd4 e5 16.fxe5
Here I should have taken on e5 with my knight and after 17.Bxe5 dxe5 white would have a small advantage, but I really wanted to drive away that bishop. 16... dxe5 17. Bc5 is the suprise! I did not see this move as possible in my lookahead, probably because I had a pawn at d6 when I moved e5. This move attacks my rook and blocks the guard of my Nc4. This is where I should have absorbed the suprise, re-evaluated and made new plans, after 17... Rfd8 18. Qxc4 b6 I could regain the piece for a pawn and fight on, but I paniced and just went for "complications", which Paulik quckly demolished  17...Bh6+  18. Kb1 Nd2+  19. Rxd2 Bxd2 20. Qxd2 Rfd8 21. Qf2 Nd7 22. Nd5 Qb8 23. Rf1 f5 24. Be7 0-1

In Chess Master at Any Age, Wetzell talks about developing mental toughness. His prime example is developing the courage to not make excuses, to clearly analyze the errors one makes in games, and to delve into why you made the errors. Missing 17.Bc5 is an error of visualization, and practicing visualization will help with that. My response of 17...Bh6+ shows a lack of mental toughness over the board, and I intend to recognize surprises in the future and absorb them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Game Analysis--Newshutz v Dobbs

I have been trying to make a video of the game that led to the position in my last post.

My allergies have been getting in the way, and the audio is full of my throat clearings and other disgusting congestion noises. I don't want to pay for a video editor program, and I haven't gotten the free ones to work, yet.

Anyway, I have been going over that game so much, I am going to move on to another for my first video, and I will post my analysis of Newshutz v Dobbs from the 2010 Region VI open. I used Fritz to help create this analysis.

1. Nf3  d5 
2. g3   c6 
3. Bg2  Nd7 
4. O-O 
Instead of O-O I could have transposed into some kind of Catalan or Slav with d4 and c4
4...    e6 
This is a very cautious but solid move, setting up the QGD pawn wedge. A more challenging move would have been 4...e5, or to develop the bishop with Bf5 or Bg4 before playing e6
5. d3   Bc5 
6. c3 
I think this move is too cautious. Better would have been e4
6...    Ngf6 
Now I have to do more preparation to play e4
7. Nbd2 O-O 
8. e4   dxe4 
9. dxe4 e5
With this trade opening up the d-file and e5 mirroring the pawn structure supporting the d-file. I looked to gain space on the queen side. I am hoping to draw his pawn off of c6, or to get my own pawn to c5 to create an outpost at d5 or d6.
10. Qc2  Re8 
11. b4   Bb6 
12. Nc4  Bc7 
13. Bg5 
This is a mistake. all it does is provoke h6, which in some cases can become a weakness, but also removes the possibility of my knight going to g5. It works out ok for me in the end, but was unnecessary.
13...    h6 
14. Be3 
And this is probably not the right square for the bishop, but I wanted to connect my rooks for contesting the d-file. There is no urgency to contesting the d-file, because  there are no invasion points for either player along the d-file, I could bring the bishop to d2, leaving e3 open for my knight on c4
14...    b6 
15. a4 
I was too focused on gaining space on the queenside and missed his next move. I should have moved Rfd1 to avoid the pin.
15...    Ba6
16. Nfd2 Ng4 
17. Rfd1 Nxe3 
18. Nxe3 Qe7 
19. Rab1 
I did this to support b5, but I missed that if cxb5 it opens up d5 for my knight. This is odd, because I
am prepareing b5 to dislodge c6 to open up d5 for my knight. (19. b5 cxb5 20. Nd5 Qd8 21. Bf1 and I regain my pawn. Bb7 22. axb5)  I am moving to fast and not considering the full ramifications.
19...    Nf6 
20. c4 
I am bringing up more support for b5, and opening up the option to do c5, but I am giving up contesting d4 (20. b5 cxb5 21. axb5 Bb7 +=)
20...    Rad8 
21. b5   Bb7 
22. bxc6 Bxc6 
23. Nd5  Qd6 
24. Nf1  Ba8 
I missed a tactical shot here.

25. Nfe3 
I have a discovered attack set up, and I did not take advantage. (25. Nxb6! Qe6 26. Nxa8 Rxa8 27.Ne3+-)
25...     Qc6 
26. Rdc1  Bd6?
This mistake allows me to disrupt his kingside pawns and makes that provoking of h6 on move 13 look good!
27. Nxf6+ gxf6 
28. Nd5   Bc5 
29. Bh3   Qd6 
30. Qd2   Bxd5 
31. cxd5 
I do not want to retake with the e-pawn as that releases his e-pawn (31. exd5? e4 32. Re1 Qe5 -+)
31...     Qf8
32. a5 
I should have doubled my rooks on the c-file and began infiltrating on the light squares. I thought I was only marginally ahead, and I was playing for a draw at this point. (32. Qe2 Re7 )
32...     Qg7 
33. axb6  axb6 
34. Qe2   Qg5 
35. Bg4   Rd6 
36. h4    Qg7 
37. Kg2   Re7?
This is a fatal weakening of the back rank, and I missed a winning move here. I think he was worried about me shifting my rooks to the a file and taking the seventh rank.

38. Ra1
(38.Rxc5! Qf8 (38... bxc5 39. Rb8+ Qf8) 39. Rc4) and I am up a piece with a dominating initiative.
38...    Qf8 
39. Ra4  Qe8 
40. Rca1 Bd4 
41. R1a2 Rd8 
42. Ra7  Rxa7 
43. Rxa7 b5 
44. Be6??
I made this move too quickly (see last blog post)
44...    Bxa7  0-1

[Event "Region VI open"]
[Site "Minneapolis,MN"]
[Date "2010.09.05"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Newshutz"]
[Black "Dobbs"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A07"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Nd7 4. O-O e6 5. d3 Bc5 6. c3 Ngf6 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. e4 dxe4 9. dxe4 e5 10. Qc2 Re8 11. b4 Bb6 12. Nc4 Bc7 13. Bg5 h6 14. Be3 b6 15. a4 Ba6 16. Nfd2 Ng4 17. Rfd1 Nxe3 18. Nxe3 Qe7 19. Rab1 Nf6 20. c4 Rad8 21. b5 Bb7 22. bxc6 Bxc6 23. Nd5 Qd6 24. Nf1 Ba8 25. Nfe3 Qc6 26. Rdc1 Bd6 27. Nxf6+ gxf6 28. Nd5 Bc5 29. Bh3 Qd6 30. Qd2 Bxd5 31. cxd5 Qf8 32. a5 Qg7 33. axb6 axb6 34. Qe2 Qg5 35. Bg4 Rd6 36. h4 Qg7 37. Kg2 Re7 38. Ra1 Qf8 39. Ra4 Qe8 40. Rca1 Bd4 41. R1a2 Rd8 42. Ra7 Rxa7 43. Rxa7 b5 44. Be6 Bxa7 0-1

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Practicing the move method and sparring with Fritz

I think my greatest weakness at this point is moving too fast and not sticking to my move selection method:

A. On opponent's clock: planning
  1. Assess imbalances
  2. Am I playing to win or draw?
  3. Revise my plan
  4. Detect opponent's plan
B. On my clock
  1. Absorb surprises
  2. Finish planning
    1. Anything undone?
    2. What does the last move threaten/allow?
    3. New imbalances
  3. Candidate moves
    1. counter threats
    2. further my plan
    3. hinder opponent's plan
  4. Evaluate candidates
  5. Final Blunder check
To practice this I am using Fritz's sparring mode. In this mode, Fritz keeps track of the amount of time used, so I know how I am a doing against a time control, but there is no sudden death.

Fritz moves very quickly in the difficulty mode I have selected, so I need to do the whole method on my clock. Once I am using the whole method on every move, I will then try to improve my speed, so I fit in a time control. Hopefully, I will still use most of my time on evaluating candidates.

Here is a position where I really blew it. I am to play, and black just moved b5.
I was so fixated on what I wanted to do, that I missed that my rook was under attack. Without thinking, I moved Be6?? which would have been a great move, except that my rook is under attack.

With a little thought, I could have maintained the pressure with Rc7, or gone into a winning endgame with the exchange of R+B for Q+P with Rxf7