I think I am getting better. Perhaps not at blitz games but at correspondence games. I am midway through a webserver based correspondence ICCF game and I have 2 wins and a draw with three games remaining – this included a win over someone rated 1800+ that I wrote about in my post ‘A Coffee House Win’. I also joined a chess.com 3 day per move tournament for players rated under 1650 and in my group of 5 I have won 5 games, lost 1 and drawn 2 games – my loss was after 64 moves. At this stage I’m leading in a field of 30 players and my rating has gone from 1478 to 1577, it’s now the highest its ever been. What has been surprising for me is the amount of draws I’ve been getting. I always see draws at high level competitions and to me it suggests that both players are playing careful enough games that no-one makes a bad error. I never used to draw games and I see this new development as something positive – unfortunately there’s a few errors in these. Here are my recent drawn games.
This next game is interesting for the concept of ‘opposition’
I’m playing my second ICCF webserver engine-less tournament and so far I have 2 wins and a draw from six games – so I’m pleased. I played a very uncautious ‘coffeehouse type’ game but ended up sneaking a tactical win with my sly 15. Nh4 move.
(Click on notation for board to appear and to play through moves)
I have just resigned a game, as black, in my ICCF webserver tournament. The game included a long endgame in which I had a king, a rook and four pawns to his king, rook and five pawns. My gut feeling is that it should have been drawn but I just wasn’t able to achieve this. I have jumped to move 29 which follows 28. …bxc5 so that I can focus on the endgame. I have put some notes into my game without using a computer. Then, at the base of this post, I have analysed the ending using a computer to play itself to see what could have happened.
I’ve looked at many different variations from move 28.bxc5 but if white plays well then I think my initial gut feeling is wrong and a draw is impossible to achieve.
I set up the move 29 position on SCID vs. PC software and allowed the stockfish 4 engine run for about 30 seconds before pressing enter and forcing the move. The result was this:
Maybe there was a draw but it seems very hard to achieve.
And eerily enough this puzzle popped up on chess.com
I simultaneously started 6 games in my first ICCF webserver tournament. The tournament was the previously mentioned ‘Australian Bicycle B12’ match and the games progressed at different paces. With each game I chose moves first without reference to any material and then I sought to check whether my thoughts were accurate by reviewing book opening, watching videos about the relevant openings and studying old games in online databases. I never used a computer to analyse future moves and never intend to. Some games followed historical games for many moves and others moved out of known games fairly early on. Sometimes this was driven by opponents and at other times this was my choice.
The critical position in the game I would finish first is shown at the top of this post and I hope you can see it. It follows the moves: