or: how I learned to stop worrying about ugly-looking losing chessHi guys. In this month's blog I will be presenting some more positions from my games. Most of the time when discussing games of chess, the approach consists of giving a few moves and then saying "in this position I had a very pleasant idea which increases my advantage", continued by showing how the opponent's position collapsed in the next few moves (yes, I always do this too). And the public can never really deny that the showcased idea is a very nice one. It is wonderful...! Well in this blog I'll do more or less the same, but not exactly the same. I will give a decent position in which my brilliant ideas quickly led to wonderful prospects... for my opponents.
What was I thinking? I didn't slip or anything like that... I was there myself all the time. There were no signs of a black-out, no disturbances nor lapses of the memory. I'll give those moments where the chess pieces heavily disagree with their controller's assessments. Of course the most important thing is that I didn't bother to double-check my moves carefully enough before making them... to notice something was wrong.
Just like you, I haven't fully figured out chess either, and losses are bound to happen all the time. However, when objectively reviewing these moments, considering what I had seen compared to what I allowed to happen... sometimes it just appears to be so darned ugly. If you play a game and end up losing, you can never be really satisfied, that's true. I'm not the ultimate chess playing entity, no false pretentions here. I, the mighty Heinz K., losing a game of chess. This is inconceivable!! Well... of course not. I'm more of an observer & commentator/pranker than a real chess player... this is how chess imitates life.
When all the scenarios that you are always supposed to be avoiding are taking place on the board... you know something went horribly wrong.
OK, let's just start with the chess here. What was I thinking? I have just played 44. Kg1-f2:
Play continued: 44. ... f3 (ooh that looks sooo scary) 45. Re7+ Kf4 46. Rxe4+ Kxe4 and easy -/+
Sure, Rh2+ looks scary, but why did I sacrifice the Rook so recklessly? Oh my. I don't even know why. It was just instinct, while I knew it was losing. It had just taken three more seconds of thought to verify a move like 46. Rf7+ turns out to be just OK. But no... blind FEAR took over.
After 17. Rhe1 R8c7, the following position arose.
18. Kb1 or 18. c3 looks OK. But that's not how it went: 18. h4? (completely aimless move) Nb4 19. Kb1? Nxc2 20. Nf5+? Kh8 21. Rxe7 (sure, move like that, how come I can possibly think I can survive such a position without any defender?) Na3+ 22. Ka1 and mates after 22. ... Rc2 23. Rb1
23. ... Qxb2+ 24. Rxb2 Rc1+ 25. Rb1 Rxb1#
h2-h4? was a totally lousy move. Safety first, and if not: I should at least pretend to threaten something that is sufficiently countering the oncoming attack.
White's position has been better throughout the whole game. Now after 25. h4-h5 I could play ... Qb6 and swap queens and pretend to be safe. But: 25. ... Nf8? 26. hxg6 hxg6 27. Qh3 Qd7 28. e6 fxe6 29. Be5 Qf7 30. Rf2 Rad8 31. Rh2 Nh7 32. Qh6 Rd7 33. Bxg6 1-0
Was I seriously expecting I could survive that queen kingside assault?? No, actually I wasn't expecting that. But I just didn't feel like doing something about it. Such an attitude is completely inexcusable when you yourself are moving the pieces behind the board.
Fairly normal position, after 12. dxe5 white might even have a decent advantageous position. But no: 12. d5? b4 13. Ne2 cxd5 14. exd5 (I'm not afraid of e5-e4 because I can check on b5) O-O 15. c4?? e4 resigns 0-1
WHY the need to protect a worthless pawn? Completely conveniently forgetting about the easy pawn fork that was already threatened anyway. Oh man, a completely miserable way of giving free points to my opponent.
This position is already quite bad for white, but I have a sneaky idea to neutralize: 22. exf5 gxf5 23. Nh4 (inciting e4) e4 24. Qxf4 Qxf4 0-1
The same idea would've worked if I had played 23. Kh1. But no.
After a game that already was quite tough, black has just played 32... Qb6+
33. Kh2 Nh5 (oohh he's threatening a scarycheck on d6) 34. g3? Qd6 35. Qg2 Rd2 36. Be2 Nxg3 37. Qxg3?! Rxe2+ 38. Kh3 Qd1 and 0-1
Let's pick up here.
12. exd5 e4 (reminding white of what happened a couple of games before) 13. Bxe4 Re8 14. Qd4+ Nf6 (now panic strikes) 15. Ng5?? h6 16. Ne6+? fxe6 and 0-1
Obviously something went wrong in black's setup. Diagram given after 9. Bc1-e3
9. ... Bf8 10. O-O-O+ Bd7? (Kc7 is to be preferred) 11. Ne4 b6? (must...protect...pawns) 12. Nfg5 (hitting f7) Nh6? (must...protect...pawns) 13. Nf6 1-0
30. Rf1 Bd4? 31. h3?? (Rxf5! because the d pawn is about to promote - h3 is just a panic move giving useless luft to king) Bb6 32. Rxf5? (too late) Nf2+ 33. Rxf2 Qxf2 34. Rd1? Qf1+ and 0-1: 35. Kh2 Bg1+ 36. Kh1 Be3+ 37. Rxf1 Rxf1+ 38. Kh2 Bg1+ 39. Kh1 Bf2+ 40. Kh2 Bg3#
Black to move. Pretty much resignable. 37... Qf6 38. Qe5! (threatening a queen exchange always catches me) Qh4 39. d6 Qh3+ 40. Ke4 Qxg4? 41. Qh8#
Losing in ridiculous ways is all part of the deal, fortunately it doesn't stand in the way of enjoying chess at all.