Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dismal Performance

I ended up my North Sydney (Norths) Chess club competition, with an absolutely dismal score of +3-4=3.

My final game was lost to Paul Sike (1312) when I ran into time trouble difficulties (first time I lost a game on time) and could not play the best moves. My heartiest congratulations to Paul for a good game. Well played!

This was a very disappointing tournament for me. I know that I'm capable of doing much better but I seem to get myself caught up in complications.

In the last 2 years since I started playing chess, I have to say that this ranks as my worst performance so far.

I will definitely try to do better. My weak points have always been middlegame strategies and tactics and I am still trying to find a balance in time management.

Thankfully, I do not have much time to mope over it.

The NSW Grade matches are coming soon which would take my mind off things. I've also signed up to play for Norths in the Small Boards match vs players from Manly and the week after that, against players from St George.

I would like to thank Norman Greenwood and Rex Simmonds for their help in keeping this tournament running smoothly.

PS: I do realise that finishing a workday 30 minutes before a game and then having to grab dinner and huff it to the chess club to make it there on time is probably not the best thing in the world to prepare your mind for a gruelling 2-3 hour game. So a special thanks to Vladimir for making suggestions on doing things like finding time for a small nap might be beneficial. I've been trying to put it into practice. It has certainly helped.


  1. Sorry to hear of your disappointing performance. One thing that has helped me is playing G15's on ICC. It seems to have cured me of my time troubles. Of course I play quieter moves, but overall I don't have a time scramble in my tournament games.

  2. hi wang,

    no worries. i think this was a good kick in the butt for me.

    i just need to put more serious time into chess if i'm going to get better. :)


  3. Evening play can be particularly difficult when you haven't had much chance to unwind after work. I probably play my worst games in the evening, and I only work part time.

    Somebody asked me the other day is there a distinct turning point in a game that determines whether you're going to lose or win? It was a hard question to answer, because it may not be one thing that does me in. It may be a series of moves that makes the difference. In trying to take something from the game, I have to identify the turning point, or the series of moves that changes everything.

    That is what you need to do with each of the losses. If wins turned into draws, then look for the move(s) that led to that result.

  4. It's hard to play consistently. There are so many factors to take into consideration, like your emotional state, external stresses, your preparation, venue accomodations, noise or any other distractions that come along.
    We've all had our howler events. I don't let a bad performance at a tournament stop me from playing more events. I've recognized that it's all part of the process.
    Play over your games... annotate them yourself. try to remember what your thought process was at the time. Then if you have a friend who is a stronger player or a good chess engine that can be put on verbose, review your annotations AFTER you gave it your best shot.
    The process will actually help you next time as you now learn to evaluate the positions on your own that you will most likely encounter.

    AS for time trouble, I use a modified Wetzel method. I break the first 40 moves into sections of 5 and draw a line to the side. If the time limit is 2 hours I decrement 15 minutes per 5 move mark. When I make my move 5 or 10 or 15 etc... I look at my clock and give a + or - score based on how close I am to that 5 move time limit. I haven't run into time trouble for a while since I started doing this and am more confident than my opponent who does run into problems.

    Good luck

  5. Hi Polly:

    I for one, am unable to see the point where my game turns as well if it involves subtle changes.

    I mostly play open positions (essentially grabbing the bull by the horns type of play) so any mistakes in sharp situations is pretty observable. :)

    Hi BlunderProne:

    Thank you very much for your input and feedback. Excellent advice!

    I've been annotating my own games and will continue to plug along. The main thing is to get over this slump in form and work harder at my chess.

    I think the hardest thing is indeed to maintain a good consistency level. My performance rating tends to swing wildly.

    When I have an easy day at work, I can hold my own against 1700 players.

    When I have a lousy day at work, I play like a 1200.

    You're right in that while it's important to maintain a level of consistency, the best way to overcome this is to play and play regularly and play often.

    Regarding your time management tracking, that is a superb idea!

    cheers and thanks!!