Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ford Memorial Round 8

Last night was a scheduled postponed games night but I was informed by Norman Greenwood that Frank Low is having scheduling problems so we agreed to move forward our round 8 game to last night.

Frank sacrificed a minor piece to open up my uncastled king and placed my position under severe pressure - the opening was a Pirc Defence: Classical.

I subsequently made 2 errors which allowed him to retake the position but I subsequently regrouped after he made a unnoticeable mistake (he was under severe time pressure by then) which allowed me to take home the point. I was pretty sure I was lost at one particular point in the game and after letting Fritz do its handiwork, sure enough, Fritz pointed out a mate in 7 at that location.

I was lucky.

Because of the schedule, I 've yet to play round 7 but have played round 8. So far, I'm now at +4-3=0.

Karel P Hursky (2013)
Sarkis Nalbandian (1734)
Gordon Miller (1588)

Robert Laurie (U/R)
Owen Roach (1458)
Anthony Pickering (1769)
Frank Low (1575)

I definitely need to improve. My opening theory sucks. I can no longer get by just remembering the first 4 moves in any opening. I'll never survive in this way. My remaining 2 games will be as White.

Next week is the start of the final round of the Ryde Eastwood Club Championship and it clashes with my Ford Memorial game so it looks like I may have to postpone my Ford game, which is a bit unfortunate.


  1. "Losses:
    Karel P Hursky (2013)
    Sarkis Nalbandian (1734)
    Gordon Miller (1588)

    Robert Laurie (U/R)
    Owen Roach (1458)
    Anthony Pickering (1769)
    Frank Low (1575)"

    When looking to these results i dont see a consistency, other then that you dont seem to play draws, in your results. You can win from 1700+ but you can loose from 1500+ aswell so either you had a lucky day or your opp had a bad day when you won from that 1700+ or one must seek the reason for this somewhere else.

    So can you explain why this broad margin (1700+ win, 1500+ loss)? Maybe if you find out why you are a step further in your improvement.

  2. chesstiger:

    You're right in that I am very inconsistent.

    The problem herein also lies in the fact that I work rather hard during the day in my job and when evening comes, depending on my day, I can either lose concentration very easily and lose focus or play a good game.

    This is my first year in competitive chess and only my 3rd tournament this year so I'm still feeling my way around.

    I know I'm not 1700 material (1500++ likely) and these results are more of an anomaly and I don't put too much emphasis on them.

    My current rating for Sep 2008 is actually 1500 (fallen from 1534 from Jun - I think). I play not for ratings but more for fun and I play according to the positions on the board.

    One reason why I don't play for draws because i will actively seek out a result (even if it's a miniscule advantage or the game appears headed for a draw).

    I find that as a beginner starting out in chess, I do not mind losing. Between a draw and a loss, I will pick the latter result. It hurts to lose but I find that it is the only way to learn if I want to improve.


  3. I agree that you dont have to go for 'the result' but losing a game just because you want to try out something isn't the right way to go. I mean, if you have a draw(ish) position on the board you may look for the win but certainly not dive into things with your eyes closed and hope for the best.

    I would even go further and say if the position is draw take the draw and then analyse at home the 'maybe' win. That way you still will have a splendid study and improvement proces.

  4. chesstiger: interesting, i've never considered playing in the way you described.

    i'll certainly keep that in mind and will try it for my next game if the opportunity arises.

    thank you!

  5. I don't see a great inconsistency in your results.

    You lost to a 2000, and beat everyone rated below 1500. Then, against players within a 200 point range, you're 2-2.

    I'd say that makes a pretty good case that you're a 1600 something.

    A 100 difference in ratings means that the higher rated player is "expected" to win 5 out of 8 contests, on average.

    A 200 point difference suggests that the higher rated player should win 3 out of four contests,

    while a 300 point difference indicates a 7 out of 8 winning ratio for the higher rated player.

    If the relative disparity in playing strengths between two players is signified by a 400+ point difference in ratings, it means that the higher rated player is so much stronger than the lower rated player that he/she should never lose or even draw to that player. That's in theory. In practice, upsets of that magnitude do occur, albeit rarely.

    I completely agree that having a hard day at work (or any number of other extenuating circumstances, including poor health) can sap one of several hundred points in playing strength.

    That's probably one of the main reasons for why upsets occur. Although it's considered unsportsmanlike to make excuses for one's poor play, those extenuating circumstances can and often do cause a person to be off his/her game.

    BTW, if Australian ratings are comparable to USCF ratings, I would hardly consider you to be a beginner. In USCF anyone below 1200 is classified as a "beginner." From 1200 - 1399, players are then classified as "novices."

    But I think it's somewhat odd to think of 1000 - 1100's as beginners. Someone at that level is probably better than 98% of all the people that know how to play the game. There are a lot of people who have never played in a tournament in the 500 - 800 range who think they're pretty good, because they can beat just about everyone they know. There's a kid at the local high school chess club who plays like a 200 - 300, who was quite offended when I responded to his question concerning how good I thought he was at the game, when I told him he's still a beginner!

  6. es_trick,

    It's interesting that you mention that i'm of 1600 strength.

    tactically, i feel like i'm of 1600 strength but my current rating of 1500 suggests that there is something seriously wrong with my playing style and my performance OTB that weakens my performance to that level. ratings do not lie and i make no excuses for performing below my level.

    the australian ratings are really odd. for example, this week i'm facing an opponent with a FIDE rating of 1840+ but an Australian rating of 1470+.

    however, at 2000 rating levels, i'd notice that there is no difference in Australian chess ratings and FIDE ratings. it's a very strange situation.

    i picked up chess only about 2.5 years ago and have only been an casual observer for the first year accompanying my brother-in-law for tournaments. it was only the start of this year that i begin my first chess tournament that i actually start to "study" chess and really pay attention to chess literature.

    my rating took a dive from 1534 to 1500 after a dismal showing at the New South Wales Grade Matches.

    right now, i have no rest in between. the final round of the Ryde Eastwood Club Championship is starting this week (i had to request a postponement) and i do not have sufficient time to re-examine my opening failures.

    as for players with hyper inflated egos, i can perfectly understand the mentality. chess has a tendency to inflate/deflate the ego depending on which way the pendulum swings. :)

    thanks again for your comments, they definitely gave me a lot of food for thought.


    thank you.

  7. I’ve heard that the correlation between USCF and FIDE ratings is somewhat ‘loose,’ too.

    Back in HS days, I once experienced a slump that lasted almost a year, during which my rating slid back about 150 points. It was most disconcerting. The poor results in the tournaments where I expected to do better was the worst part; the ratings slide was just the insult to injury. I bottomed out by losing the last four rounds at the HS Nationals (2-6 after starting out 2-2). In the last round I lost to someone with a 900 rating! (I think he was ‘underrated,’ and that his playing strength was probably in the 1300s).

    Playing one slow game a week seems like a great format, as long as the stresses and concerns of work and life don’t intrude too much.

    I currently live in an area where there are lots of tournaments within a 2-3 hour drive. The advantage of having lots of weekend tournaments to choose from is that I can stay home if I’m feeling distracted by other things going on, or if I don’t feel physically and mentally up to it, but really get cranked up when all conditions are go.

    I think that making it to 1500 – 1600 in 2.5 years is doing pretty good, indeed. During four years of HS, chess was my great passion, but I was still below 1500 at the time I graduated. I only played in three more tournaments during the next year and then stopped playing for 28 years. (Still played friendly games here and there, and had an informal club at work for a number of years, but nothing serious.). I started playing in rated tournaments again two years ago. I didn’t know if it would be possible to get better at this relatively late stage in life. But I feel encouraged now, as I do seem to have made some modest, but tangible progress.

    I think there probably needs to be a balance when going over one’s losses. On the one hand, you want to upset enough that you determine not to make the same mistake that cost you the game again. And it certainly is valuable to go over the game and find improvements. But I get the sense from a lot of these blogs that I’ve been reading that some people over-analyze their “failures” to the point of it being counterproductive. So, there’s also a point where one has to just “shake it off” and put those loses behind you.