Friday, March 11, 2016

Chess Log: Playing With Reckless Abandon Has Been Paying Off For Me Lately

I played White. Going into the game I was rated 1293 and my opponent was rated 1859. 5-0 blitz:

1. e4 e5 2. ♘f3 ♘c6 3. ♗b5 f5 4. ♗xc6 dxc6 5. ♘xe5 ♕f6 6. ♘f3 fxe4 7. ♕e2 ♕e7 8. ♘d4 ♘f6 9. O-O ♕e5 10. ♘f3 ♕h5 11. ♘d4 ♗g4 12. f3 ♗c5 13. fxg4 ♗xd4 14. ♔h1 ♕xg4 15. ♕xg4 ♘xg4 16. h3 h5 17. d3 exd3 18. cxd3 O-O-O 19. ♗g5 ♖df8 20. ♘d2 ♘f2 21. ♔h2 ♘xd3 22. ♖ab1 ♗xb2 23. ♖xf8 ♖xf8 24. ♘c4 ♗e5 25. g3 ♖f2 26. ♔g1 ♗f6 27. ♗xf6 ♖xf6 28. ♖d1 ♘b4 29. a4 ♘d5 30. ♖e1 b6 31. ♖e8 ♔b7 32. ♘e5 c5 33. ♘d7 ♖d6 34. ♖b8 ♔c6 35. ♘e5 1-0 {Black checkmated}

At the end of the game Black had 1 minute and 28 seconds left on his clock and I had less than 1.3 seconds. Perhaps Black got a little careless because he assumed he was coasting toward a win on time. We each ended the game with one Rook and one Knight. Black had 6 Pawns left to my three. However, I was able to mate with my Knight because because Black's King was surrounded by his Rook, Knight and 3 of his Pawns, leaving him 3 squares where he could move his King, and when I attacked with the Knight those 3 squares were covered, 1 each, by my Knight, my Rook and 1 of my Pawns. 34. ... ♔a6 instead of the game move 34. ... ♔c6 would've won easily on time for Black.

The Ruy Lopez is my preferred opening with White. I haven't seen 3. ... f5 very often. The MCO-13 calls 3. ... f5 the Schliemann Defense or Jaenisch Gambit, devotes 5 columns to it and says it is "probably not quite sound" but "frequently employed by players looking for a real slugfest." I suppose a slugfest might naturally appeal to a player who's rated 566 points above his opponent. My 4. ♗xc6 might have been an unexpectedly aggressive counter. It's not in the book. Black was immediately able to make my position very cramped, and was on the offensive for most of the game, but I managed to hang on. Honestly, the checkmate was a lot more luck than skill.

My overall approach lately has been very aggressive, and it's been working well for me, it seems to fit my personalty better to charge in and bash holes than to than play positionally and lay patiently in wait for a crack to develop in my opponent's wall. As I mentioned before in this blog, the Queen's Gambit Declined has recently been discovered by my group, and is very popular with us currently. But just a little while ago I've switched to the Queen's Gambit Accepted, which is a very reckless defense, not approved of very much at all by the MCO-13, but it's been working well for me -- partly out of surprise, no doubt, and also because I've been able to use it create chaotic positions, and then cope with the chaos better than my opponents.

It's a game. And I do better when I have more fun, and I have more fun when I play more recklessly, perhaps because I'm overly-cautious in some other areas of my life, causing frustration to build up which I can safely release over the chessboard, because -- it's only a game.

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