24 March 2012

Annotated Game #37: Swindle

This next game, from round 3 of the tournament, should have been a loss (which would have resulted in "castling long" on the tournament scorechart, 0-0-0).  Black played an inferior English Four Knights variation with 7...f6 and White had winning tactics available as early as move 9, which however were ignored.  At the time, I had relatively poor tactical sight and rarely even looked for tactical possibilities in the opening; this failure to consider tactics in the opening phase is still something of a blind spot for me.

In any event, I continued playing "normal" developing moves and achieved a positional plus out of the opening, only to lose a piece to an unusual pinning tactic by Black.  Showing tenacity, however, I decided to fight on and play aggressively, looking for whatever counterchances might be there.  This was psychologically the right choice, as Black passes up multiple chances to exchange material and simplify down to a position where White has no real threats.  White then weaves a net of force with his major pieces and Black stumbles into it, losing material and then resigning just before mate.

While this was not a high-quality game, it had its moments and it was a significant turning point for the tournament, showing that I was in fact capable of winning - in an ugly but effective manner - after a year's absence from serious play.  This is also a good example of a successful swindle, where the player who should lose refuses to go down easily and works hard to generate threats, which can hit home if ignored or mishandled by the opponent, as happened here.


5 comments:

  1. Hehe I do love a good swindle! Sometimes lost games are the easiest to play since you've already made peace with the fact you're probably going to lose anyway. It looks like you just tried to make things as difficult for Black as possible and he just collapsed in conjunction to he probably thought the game would win itself up a piece for a couple of pawns. Good notes.

    I'm personally not much of an English Opening fan, but this game goes to show that EVERY opening no matter how open/positional does bear plenty of tactical opportunities, even earlier on in the game.

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    1. Thanks for the comments. One of the things that analyzing my games has shown me is the repeated lesson about the need to always check for tactics in the opening (even a "safe" opening). It's almost impossible to lose on tactics in the opening phase in the English, but that doesn't mean you should be oblivious to tactical wins when they are there.

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  2. I'v been playing over more Grandmaster games recently (Capablanca and Nigel Davies 1. e4 e5 book mainly) for study purposes than I ever have before, and it's really noticeable how much resistance really good players (often) put up in "lost" positions. Usually the winner has to surmount a series of "hurdles" to close out the game. At our (say 1600-1800 USCF) level, the odds of the opponent avoiding all traps is not that high, so play on and keep trying!

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    1. I agree and think that tenacity can be as much of a determining factor in chess performance/results (as opposed to pure chess skill) as any other element of our play. Refusing mentally to lose often means that you don't!

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  3. The Best of Chess Blogging Part III: What a Wonderful World has been posted.

    Have a look and please post a link! (and thanks for your recent comments)

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