I started the new year playing the Herb Healy Open house. I ran into fellow blogger Takchess. Oddly enough I had several people asking if I was “George Blunderprone” as if I were famous. Go figure, I put up a blog and share my study topics to the world and everyone wants to shake my hand. The problem is that even though I can cover some intense topics and share some depth here on the web, in practice, with the clock ticking, I have a hard time with the follow through.
The Herb Healy Open house event at the Boylston Chess Club is an annual event complete with a food buffet. I heard at the event a little about the history behind why a Buffet is present at this event. Back in a day, the blue laws would not allow any businesses to open on Holidays. With such an all day event, there had to be provisions to feed the chess players. This was a tradition that stuck.
I blew all my brain cells in the first round against a Master. I had the white pieces and got to play a very good Saemish against the King’s Indian. I managed to make it through the opening and had some middle game action going. I gave him a chance to come in on my queen side and attack my un castled king and pick up my a2 pawn. I proceeded to chase his queen in the corner and almost had him either drawn or winning the exchange. The game is below. Before you chastise me, Keep in mid a couple things. The time control is G40, there is a 600 point delta, and about a 30 year age difference between me and my opponent. I consciously made decisions to delay castling but once I did it, it became an intoxication and fell into the stupor.
I proceeded to tank in my next couple of games. One game, as black I was disillusioned into playing an early Nxd4 ( as Black in the advance C-K) and didn’t see the trap my opponent could have played. Instead he played conservatively. I erred on the side of attacking versus development and got into trouble. I didn’t learn anything in that game and in the next round I played a very young kid and basically fell into the same opening trap with colors reversed. This time the kid knew what to do and I was down a piece. The rest of the game was an exercise in humility as I tried to keep my dignity as I struggled for a draw only to lose.
I finally broke a 7 game losing streak ( beginning in early December at the chess club) in the last round playing the C-K. I thought of withdrawing after round 3. But I am too damn tenacious to quit even if I should. It’s what’s left of a fighting spirit. It’s what drives me to be the pain in the ass player who refuses to resign to some kid despite the material advantage. I make them earn the point. Sometimes, this works to my advantage. There is some sense of clarity I get when I finally reach that point of not having anything else to lose.
I attempted to keep a mental inventory while playing these rounds. In round one, I was fresh and played cautiously but not too timidly until ¾ of the way through the game. I just couldn’t see the right solution. The second game, I made the mistake of thinking “ I should beat this guy” especially following a good game with a strong opponent. I threw all safety checks aside and instead tried to “PUNISH” my opponent too early. Given the fact that he missed the opportunity to win a piece, played into the intoxication of playing overly aggressive and not doing the basic thinking processes that Dan Heisman suggested. Round three I was still running on “ should have beat” mentality that I played into the same unconscious and reckless trap. Humility was a sobering breath for the final round which allowed me to play with caution again. Now, if I can only remember this lesson.
My rating has been in a free fall all year due to various life priorities. I am fast approaching my floor. It stings when you drop a piece and play like crap against players 150 points lower…back to back. But at least I know I played well against a Master. May 2011 be my rebound year.
My next event is at the Portsmouth Open. If you attend, come by and say hi. Ask for “George the Blunderprone”.