Saturday, October 9, 2010

I invent the "one round a day" schedule

a sculpture on the beach in Spain

So I want to play some chess, and because it's a holiday weekend, I get both Saturday and Sunday off (the Chess in the Schools tournament is on Monday). The Marshall is having a 4 round, 2 day under 2300 tournament (30/90 g/30), so I decide to play, and in the middle of round 1, I come up with the great idea to take byes in round 2 and 4. It's so much more pleasant that way-- playing becomes a fun part of my weekend and not a exhausting, nerve-wrecking giant monster that eats my only non-work time.

It also helped that my opponent made one very bad move right at the end of my opening knowledge and I was immediately and easily winning.

Ben Altman-Desole  1750 --Elizabeth Vicary 2100
Marshall October U2300 rd 1

1. d4 d5 
2. c4 c6 
3. Nf3 Nf6 
4. Nc3 dxc4 
5. a4 Bf5 
6. Ne5 Nbd7 
7. Nxc4 Qc7 
8. g3 e5 
9. dxe5 Nxe5 
10. Bf4 Nfd7
11. Bg2
I know this opening from teaching it to my students; I've played the Slav in 4-5 games so far, but never this line.
 However, I'd looked at it with a class a few weeks ago, really superficially, but I remembered black has two choices here, 11...f6 is the old move, and solid, and a few years ago Morozevich shocked everyone with his novelty 11...g5. The class had come to the conclusion that the position after 12. Nxe5 gxf4 13. Nxd7 Bxd7 (13...Qxd7 loses the f4 pawn) looked fine for black. My opponent was taking his time and looked like the kind of kid who studies, so I was a little hesitant about going into hypertheory with him, but I knew that the position got crazy immediately after this, so I figured he wouldn't know more than a couple moves further.
11... g5
12. Ne3 gxf4 
13. Nxf5 O-O-O 

 still theory
But here my opponent messes up with
14. Qb1 The only move here is 14. Qc2 -- he could castle, but he wants to wait so I have to wait on taking on g3-- and then 14...Nc5 15. O-O Ne6 (I'd been looking at 15...Nc4 while he was thinking, but that's easily met by 16. Rd1.). Here white has a choice of moves, 16. Rfd1, 16. Rad1, 16. a5, 16. Ne4 and (R. Scherbakov's favorite) 16. Qe4. All very complicated.

14... Nc5 

I already loved my position here, because I considered three candidate moves for him: 15. 0-0, 15. b4 and 15. gxf4, and I thought I had something very good against each:
  • 15. 0-0 just loses an exchange to Nb3-d2.  This happened in the game.
  • After 15. b4 I was planning the fun sac 15...Ncd3+ 16.exd3 Bxb4 and things collapse for him. Fritz also likes 16...Nxd3+ 17. Kf1 Qe5, but during the game I hadn't seen how strong Qe5 is (or that it was a fork). 
  • 15. gxf4 allows the same sac and looks even worse, since my queen immediately comes to f4: 15...Ned3+ 16. exd3 Nxd3+ 17.Kf1 Qxf4
It turns out that white can still play 15. Qc2, meeting 15...Nc4 with 16. Rd1, and be just a little worse.

15. 0-0 Nb3 so ok, I take the exchange.

16. Ne4 Nxa1 
17. Qxa1 Ng6 I thought about this move for a while, and wasn't totally happy about it when I played it. Fritz wants me to take on g3, but I was scared of activating his rook. I was also scared of letting him have a pawn for the exchange and defend it with e3. So this seemed like my only choice. I thought my knight might turn out to be passive on the kingside --I'm hoping to play h5-h4 and start an attack, but if I can't, maybe I will  miss that piece on the queenside. I wasn't sure.

Also, just at this point, I noticed other boards were starting to get strangely low on time, while our clocks read 1:10 - 1:21. It turned out my opponent had just grabbed a clock from the club supply and assumed it was already set, but it was set for 40/2, not 30/90. This changed the clocks to 0:40 : 0:51, which made me feel I needed to just decide and stop looking for a magical solution that would give me everything I wanted.

18. Rc1 h5 Fritz thinks 18... Qe5 is very good, and I looked at it during the game, but I thought I wasn't winning the knight after 19. Bh3 Kb8 20. f3 or Nc3. I'm not, but the computer thinks it's strong anyway.

19. Nc3
 am I supposed to be scared of 19. Nc3?

I was a little surprised by this move at first, but then I saw his idea was 20. Nb5 Qb6 21. Bxc6 bxc6 22. Rxc6 Qxc6 23. Nxa7 Kb7 24. Nxc6 Kxc6, which gives two pieces and a rook for a queen and 3 pawns, which sounds ok, but leaves my king exposed and him with two passed, dangerous queenside pawns.

There are lots of ways to deal with this: ...Qe5 or ...Kb8, and I had decided to play ...Kb8, on the grounds that it was a permanent solution to the problem of c file tactics. But then I got interested in some other moves, like 19...Bc5 and 19.... fxg3. I had 30 minutes here for 10 more moves, so I spent 4 minutes and, even though I suspected I shouldn't break the  tension, I was so curious how he would recapture that I took. I suspected he might try 19... fxg3 20. Nb5 gxh2+ 21. Kh1, but I can also take on f2 and in either case it should be great for me.

20. Nxg3 Kb8 
21. a5 a6 
22. Qa4

I knew I had nice attacking chances, but I figured I'm up a clear exchange and probably winning the a5 pawn in any endgame, so trading queens was completely winning.

23. Rd1 Bd6 
24. e4 Bc5 
25. Qc2 h4 
26. Nf5 Ne5 0-1

Yay! So then I could relax, go home, look at the game, read the USCL game of the week (kind of a superficial pick--Schroer makes two thematic piece sacs, but it's crazy that Kacheishvili allowed something so obvious. more cute than beautiful.) However, I enjoyed Erenburg's bitter comment and think it's mostly sad but also slightly funny that Jeff Ashton's spirit has so clearly been broken by Aigner's rebuke. I say, "Toughen up Jeff! It's boring without you," write this blog post, check on James (1/3) and Justus (2-2, losing a great game to Kacheichvili in round 1 and Kudrin in round 4), and clean my apartment a bit.

And tomorrow I go back for one round at 12:30. Very nice.

School is going very well. I'm piling on the homework, which feels very useful but eats up a lot of my time. I'm trying hard to enjoy each class, which I'd been forgetting to do, instead just trying to get as much done as possible. I'm really excited about my 6th graders, they seem like enthusiastic and hard working kids, which are the two most important qualities. I have 10 of them who are rated between 1200 and 800, plus a bunch more unrated kids who are about to start playing in tournaments. The ten best mostly have the same problem: semi-frequent blundering, which causes almost every loss. Happily, this is a common elementary school issue, and the cure for it is playing all the time, which the new 6th graders are just now starting to do.

We're thinking, for the wedding, to rent a house on the beach in Long Island or the Jersey shore and pitch a tent and hire a caterer and have it on the beach. Does anyone have any suggestions/ ideas/caterer recommendations/extra houses?? (thanks!)


Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth--

I highly recommend the Spring House on Block Island. About a one hour ferry ride from Montauk. Absolutely incredible place. Next choice would be to take a ferry to Ocean Beach or Ocean Bay Park on Fire Island and have your wedding there on the beach. Plenty of rentals available.

Paul McC

Anonymous said...

"The ten best mostly have the same problem: semi-frequent blundering, which causes almost every loss. Happily...the cure for it is playing all the time..."

Liz, you really must compile all these pearls of wisdom into a book. I'd buy it!

Anonymous said...

this game is stupid i don't like your blog...

Elizabeth Vicary said...

why is it stupid?

Anonymous said...

1. When's the wedding? Block Island can get pretty cold ...

2. The only potential problem I see with the one-round-a-day idea is that by keeping your score down with half-points, you might never get paired up. You might end up playing only lower-rated players against whom you absolutely must win - which, for me, is the least pleasant aspect of tournament play.

Let us know how it works out!

Rick Massimo

Torbjörn Björklund said...

Very good game again, Elizabeth! Nice game comments. Congratulations to a very good blog!

Bill Brock said...

add 11...g5 to the game score itself

rihel said...

This anonymous troll is stupid. I don't like your comment.