Sunday, 30 September 2018

Slow Chess League Game

Preparing for a Slow Chess League game 

As always, my supporting family member wishing me luck before the game. =p

The Slow Chess League (or SCL for short) is a great initiative led by SirIvanHoe (alias name). Basically, this league aims to connect adults all over the world who want to play a game of slow chess over the internet as opposed to the usual blitz/rapid chess that most people play. It is a known fact that if you want to improve at chess, you have to play games at slower time controls to fully cultivate one's appreciation for things such as pawn structure, good vs bad pieces, development, and king safety. It also trains you to always be alert for resources. Personally, I have benefitted from the SCL since enrolling in it almost 2 years ago. (winning 2 months, once in 2016 and another time in 2017).  I would urge all adults who want to seriously improve their game to play at least one chess game at slow time controls once a week to get a good feel of 'tournament chess'.  Please note though, that in order to qualify for SCL, you have to play your first month in a qualifying round (SirIvanHoe believes in screening his enrollment to make sure players are serious about the league) before you are fully accepted in the league.

So after the highs of yesterdays QCD ACL win, could I conjure up a second in a row? Here's how tonight's game went:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 14)
[Event "Live Chess"] [Site ""] [Date "2018.09.29"] [Round "?"] [White "GuerreroG9"] [Black "dr_chessdad"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A23"] [WhiteElo "1704"] [BlackElo "1842"] [Annotator "X1,Mark"] [PlyCount "51"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [TimeControl "2700+45"] {The slow chess league is one that I really recommend for busy parents such as myself as it gives me the flexibility to play from home. Granted, it's not the most ideal set-up, but it's as close as one can get. So far this league has really grown from strength to strength. The player pool has gotten really strong. I haven't managed to win any month yet and time is indeed running out for me to participate in next year's SCL championships.} 1. c4 $1 {an exclaimation mark as I didn't see my opponent play any English games when I did my usual intel gathering.} e5 {after this game I'm definitely going to spend the whole of the coming week practicing to play this against Black} 2. Nc3 Bb4 {A pretty popular move these days at top level, mainly thru the efforts of GM Vishy Anand} 3. g3 c6 {not sure whether this was an inaccuracy.} (3... Nf6 4. Bg2 O-O 5. Nf3 e4) 4. Bg2 Nf6 5. Qb3 Bc5 (5... Na6) 6. e3 O-O 7. Nge2 Re8 8. O-O (8. d4 $2 exd4 9. exd4 Bxd4) 8... e4 (8... d6 9. d4 Bb6) 9. d4 exd3 10. Nf4 d5 $2 $16 {somehow I had the illusion here that Black has some compensation for the pawn.} ({correct was} 10... d6 11. Na4 $1 {and Black has to part with his double bishops.} Nbd7 12. Nxd3 Bb6 13. Nxb6 Nxb6 14. Nf4 $1 { prevents ..d5}) 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. Ncxd5 Nc6 13. Bd2 Ne4 14. Qxd3 $2 (14. Bxe4 $1 Rxe4 15. Qxd3 Bf5 16. Qb5 Bd6 17. Bc3 $18) 14... Bf5 $1 $11 {indeed now I have compensation} 15. g4 Nxd2 ({I did consider this} 15... Ne5 16. Qe2 Bxg4 { but stopped after i saw} 17. f3 {however I should have calculated further} Nxd2 18. Qxd2 (18. fxg4 $2 Nxf1) 18... Bd7 {and Black is a clean pawn up}) 16. Qxf5 Nxf1 17. Rxf1 Qd6 $2 (17... Bd6 18. Rd1 Bxf4 19. Qxf4 Qh4) (17... Ne7 {doesn't work} 18. Nf6+) 18. Rc1 $2 (18. Be4 $1 $14 Qh6 19. Nc7 $18) 18... Rad8 $4 ( 18... Re5 19. Qc2 Bb6 $11) 19. Rxc5 $1 {horror of horrors, I realized I had overlooked this move completely. I tried to composed myself but the damaged had already been done.} Re5 20. Qc2 Nb4 21. Qc4 (21. Nxb4 $2 Rxc5) 21... Na6 ( 21... b6 22. Rc7) (21... Nxd5 22. Nxd5 $16) 22. Rc8 g5 23. Rxd8+ Qxd8 24. Qd4 Qd6 25. Nh5 Nc5 $4 26. Ndf6+ $1 {GuerreroG9 won by resignation} 1-0

My sad look after resigning. Chess is tough.

3 lessons to take away from this loss

1) I need to work on my lines as Black against the English Opening. My opening play in this game esp 10...d5? was far from optimal.
2) Practice more tactics and calculation puzzles. Play fewer games online.
3) Never ever let my guard down especially when I think I'm winning. Never underestimate your opponent's resources

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