Monday, June 19, 2017

Diary of a Chess Patzer: Part 3

As promised, I have saved the best for the last. Today I will analyze one of my most spectacular disasters throughout my chess career. And it wasn’t some beginner game played 8 years ago; no, it was from the recently concluded Thomson Chess Fiesta 2017, which was (not) coincidentally where two of my other games from Part 1 came from.

Before that, let me digress with a small anecdote. On the first day of the tournament, there was a major stir, when a player—let’s call him NN—outplayed his opponent, who was rated 400 points higher than NN, and reached the following endgame:

NN vs Opponent
Thomson Chess Fiesta 2017
Position 1: White to move

White is completely winning in this endgame. True, the passed pawn might pose some trouble, but all White has to do is put his bishop on the h1-a8 diagonal (Bc6+) and Black can never hope to promote.

Instead, White “saw” a more direct path to victory: In his excitement, he played 1. Bxh3??, sweeping Black’s last pawn off the board… except that he couldn’t!

An imaginary free pawn (image from Chess Memes)

And so, FIDE’s newest illegal move rule claimed its next victim. Poor NN threw away what could have been a major victory for him.

Returning to the main topic, I soon found myself in a similar situation, gaining an advantage over my opponent who was, incidentally, also rated 400 points higher than me.

Opponent vs Checkerboard 5
Thomson Chess Fiesta 2017 (Round 7)
Position 2: Black to move

As Black, I had a clear upper hand here. After 1… Rf5+ followed by 2… Rh5, there is no stopping Black from making a new queen. In fact, even the simpler and more intuitive 1… Kg2, which I had intended, forces White to give up his rook to stop Black’s pawn. White may still give problems with his connected passers, but Black’s extra rook and second passed pawn should be sufficient to reel in the point.

Except that in the heat of the moment, when my hands flew to the king-pawn duo intending 1… Kg2, my fingers instead closed around the h-pawn…

1… h1=Q?? 2 Rxh1 and while the game was still a salvageable draw with correct play, my morale had already taken a hit from the missed opportunity. After several more mistakes I completely threw away the advantage and gave my opponent the full point.

A perfect tragedy, especially since the original game was highly instructive:

After the game, NN, who had been spectating, came up to me with a reassuring look: “Don’t worry bruh, I feel your pain”

Well, that doesn’t change the fact that I came so close to beating an opponent who was, by official statistics, way stronger than me. I can only find solace in the fact that I was not the only patzer who threw his games that day. *Cries*

With that I wrap up this 3 part series of what you SHOULDN’T do in a chess game. Granted, learning chess by myself was never an easy task, and analyzing these games proved that I still have a long way to go. Hope y’all have been entertained by looking at these games, and learn from all the mistakes you’ve seen!

The End

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:


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