Friday, March 24, 2006

Following week’s game versus the 1730

Sancho Pawnza: Ok fellas huddle up. Before we enter the Command Central, which by the way I have had remodeled. You all remember “The Meeting”? Same thing as last week minus the screw up! Plans has worked hard with Archives reviewing master games in preparation. Tactics has busted his butt working out the calculation muscle. Even Celine er I mean Relayer has spent the past week setting up the new communication equipment. No one, and I mean no one is to leave their post for any reason. If you have to pee hold it, wet your pants, or use Relayer’s Latte cup. But you will not abandon your post. This guy is dangerous and loves to attack if you give him the opportunity. We have White this round, so develop with purpose and see what happens.
Now let’s have some fun!

The Game Begins...
Comments by Sancho Pawnza

1. e4 c5

2. Nf3 e6

3. d4 cxd

4. Nxd a6 Good Evening Mr. Kan I’ve been expecting you.

5. Bd3 Nc6

6. Be3 h5!?? Hmmmm... Interesting move on his part, I guess I can expect one of those all out attacks. But he should be concentrating on his development instead. Looks like he’s not planning on castling anytime soon. Kill his only active piece and make his light squared Bishop look like a tall pawn.

7. Nxc6 dxN

8. a4 [Freezes b5 dead in its tracks. 8...b5?? 9. axb cxb 10. Bxb5+!] a5 Guess he thought I was going to play 9. a5? But Bb4+ wins my A pawn.

9. Nd2 Nc3? Would only help him by allowing Bb4 pinning my Knight. Nf6

10. h3 Nc4 looks good too but I can play it next, besides I shut out ...Ng4 Qc7 Thematic

11. Nc4 Squares are targets too. He’s allowing me to upgrade from Operation ToeJam to Operation Foothold. c5 Holy Over Commitment Batman! His Bishop on f8 now has the range of a water pistol. Nd7 would have been much better.

12. Qd2 Hello dark squares! If ...e5 Qc3 b6 Not much else happening. I guess he’s trying to continue with the typical themes found in this system, but they are only effective with complete development.

13. Bf4 Congratulations d6 is mine! Qb7

14. f3 Bd7 No way to exploit the fork, I could permanently fix my dark squared bishop on d6 after Nd6+ followed by e5. But I’m not in the trading mood with all of these available options. Search, find the move, wait a second... Ne5 gives him massive amounts of problems. Now I can kill the Bishop on d7 and whatever recaptures gets pinned to his King.

15. Ne5 Rd8 Queenside castling here I come, the a4 pawn is safe because of Bb5+ and mate threats on d8.

16. 0-0-0 Development complete! Be7 No castling for you, because with my next move your King is going to start playing defense.

17. NxBd7 NxN

18. Bb5 Say hello to my little friend! f6? The dark squares look like an Interstate highway now. I have a multitude of targets and he’s getting ready to lose a series of pawns.

19. Bd6 Bf8

20. BxB RxB

21. Qd6 His King has to run now. Rf7 Ouch! I guess he was planning to use his Rook as a shield. But after 22. Qe6+ Re7 23. Qg8# and if 22...Kf8 23. Bc4 Kg8 24.Qxf7+ Kh7 25. Qxh5#

22. Qxe6+ Kf8

23. Bc4 Resigns

End Game
Well I finished the tournament (a double round-robin) with a score of 5.5/8
+5 -2 =1 and missed 1st place by 1/2 a point.
All in all I'm not displeased with the result. Of course one always wants to do better.
I guess the good news was after that second loss it led me to use a new methodology
in my thinking, which so far has worked pretty well.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Part II

The start of the Second Half

I noticed my thought processes making the switch to plan based chess, which has an amazing effect on your clock. Instead of looking for the “tactical” shot that brought down the house. I started focusing that energy into looking for plan continuations. Boy I thought I had found the secret ingredient to successful chess!

Now I’m playing the other 1700 in the tournament, the guy I lost to earlier in the first half. Not through any brilliance on his part but shear stupidity on mine.

Now this game starts out well, I’m up a pawn and his position is completely busted. He’s saddled with three pawn islands two of which are isolated pawns. I have targets and plans lining up for days. My current target is an over extended pawn that can’t be defended

by all of his pieces as it is on the opposite color of his remaining bishop. I become complacent, my only and final mistake of the game.

Sancho de Plans: Hey Tactics why don’t you take a break, grab some coffee we’ve got this covered!
Sancho de Tactics: You sure?
Sancho de Plans: Yes of course take a look at all of those juicy targets! Here’s the “plan” we stroll over and summarily execute that helpless e-pawn. Besides we’ll call you in to look his face right before we clip his wings. We are beating him at his own game. This positional grind stuff is fun! He can’t do squat besides sit there and squirm.
Sancho de Tactics: Well let me run some numbers.
Immediate checks? No.
Counterplay? No.
Forced sequences involving mate? No.
Everything looks cool and besides I really have to pee.
Don’t screw this up I will be right back.
Sancho de Plans: Don’t worry ya big baby. Besides look how our time advantage continues to steadily climb.
Sancho de Tactics: Ok, Ok enough whining take the helm.
Sancho de Plans: Sheesh! You think he’d show a little more gratitude, thanks to me we are kicking more booty than Jet Li!
Sancho de Relayer: Ok guys new move hot off the wire. It’s the anticipated Rook move!
Sancho de Plans: Cool! We expected this, no biggie just redirect our Knight and allow it to follow our current plan. Hey Relayer! What was the sequence Tactics ran through earlier?
Sancho de Relayer: You talking to me? Dude! Like I’m just a reporter, strictly non-combatant! If it wasn’t for this job I’d be a Canadian citizen and my checks would be of the hockey variety. See I have already memorized the anthem.
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot.
Sancho de Plans: Ok enough!! Go sit in the corner and keep quiet! Let’s see.
1. Checks? No!
2.Counterplay? No!
Um what was that third thing?
Now you’ve got me addled and thinking about hockey and beer.
Heck with it two out of three is close enough.
Send a message to Hand to move the Knight!
Sancho de Relayer: Dude! You can’t do that without Tactics approval!
Sancho de Plans: Dude!? Do you see Tactics?
Sancho de Relayer: Um, no.
Sancho de Plans: Of course not! Want to know why? I will tell you why!
Cause there’s a new Sheriff in town and his name is Reggie Hammond!
Sancho de Relayer: Bro’ calm down.
Sancho de Plans: Right now we ain’t brothers, we ain’t partners, and we ain’t friends,
and if this patzer gets away with our points you’re going to be sorry you ever met me!
Sancho de Relayer: Dude! You’ve lost it! I’m going to find Tactics! (Runs off)
Sancho de Plans: What a fuggin’ wuss! He’d get his butt kicked playing hockey.
Hand! This is Plans do you read me?
Hand: No need to shout, just because I’m a hand doesn’t mean I’m hard of hearing.
Sancho de Plans: Sorry my apologies. Could you please do me a favor and kindly move our Knight to the following coordinates? Ne4 to g3 please, please, please?
Hand: Hey what happened to Relayer?
Sancho de Plans: Um he’s taking a break, besides you know I have clearance to make request.
Hand: True, besides I have this whole conversation on tape and if this thing goes down in flames I’m blameless.
Sancho de Plans: Want a signed authorization too?
Hand: Nah’ smart azz!
Knight move sequence completed as ordered.
Anything else your majesty?
Sancho de Plans: No sir that will be all for now thank you.
Sancho de Tactics: Dude what did you do to Relayer?
Sancho de Plans: You mean CĂ©line Dion? I kind of snapped when he started on that whole non-combatant spiel.
That coupled with his singing of “O Canada” off key mind you pushed me right to the edge. But it was his refusal to help with your three basic Tactical rules that really did it.
Besides I will buy the pansy a Latte’ and he’ll calm down.
Sancho de Tactics: Let’s see...
1.Immediate Checks? No!
2. Counterplay? Uh-oh
3. Forced sequences involving mate? Holy Crap!! Dude you’ve screwed us!
Let’s hope this idiot doesn’t see it.
Sancho de Relayer: New move, h4!
Sancho de Tactics: grrrrrrrrr
Sancho de Plans: Dude calm down you know this guy loves to push a pawn.
Sancho de Tactics: Dude, I can side step the mate, but thanks to your hasty
decision making you have managed to activate pieces that even I didn’t know he had. Not only that but I will now have to jettison a Rook and a Bishop for zero compensation. Dude I’m going to have to file a Loss report with the big cheese.
Sancho de Plans: A report? You can’t be serious?
Sancho de Tactics: Well it’s either we come clean now in front of the man or we spend the rest of our lives in the witness relocation program. Besides you know how he operates. He’ll review the tapes and hand out stiffer fines if we delay. It’s best to go ahead and fess up. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut a few times, and a little lower more than once.
Sancho de Plans: I think I’m gonna hurl, (sniff).
Sancho de Tactics: Dude that a tear?
Sancho de Plans: Allergies man and don’t forget it!
Pass me the phone I will call the boss.
Sancho de Tactics: Dude you rock, way to suck it up!
Sancho de Plans: Boss, its Plans. Tactics informs me that we are lost.
Sancho Pawnza: (Silence)
Sancho de Plans: Boss?
Sancho Pawnza: Hold on, I’m pulling up the position as we speak and running it through Archives looking for cheapos or perps. (Pause) Listen to me very carefully. Tell Tactics I said to play on..., based on this guy’s facial expression if we can give him any more excitement he may have a stroke, or wet his pants. Besides you never win anything by resigning!
Sancho de Plans: Yes Sir!
Sancho Pawnza: Oh and Plans...
Sancho de Plans: Yes sir?
Sancho Pawnza: I want to see you and Tactics in my office as soon as this is over!
Remember to congratulate our opponent on his well played game, you know the rules.
Once the clock stops we return to being friends, besides you should be thanking him for teaching us a lesson about dropping our guard.
Sancho de Plans: Yes Sir!
Sancho Pawnza: and bring Relayer with you. We are all going to review this and make some adjustments to get this mess resolved ASAP!
Sancho de Plans: Yes Sir!
Immediately after the game Plans, Tactics, and Relayer enter Sancho Pawnza’s office and the door closes quietly behind them.

Stay Tuned for Part III

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sancho Pawnza Rides Again (The Return to Tournament Play)

Part I

It has been long over due. Theories, schedules, and practice are necessary but are good for only so much. It was time to see if any of this stuff actually works.

These games marked the start of a new style of chess for me, a combined influx of tactical exercises, opening preparation, some endgame practice, and the new thought processes gleaned from the time I spend with IM Predrag Trajkovic have consumed my studies over the past year. A combination of nervousness, anxiety, and anticipation seemed to take turns in the days prior to the start. How would I perform? Would the past year’s efforts be a wash? Could I manage to assimilate all of this data and produce something that resembled a chess game?

The format was a double round-robin with player ratings ranging from 1000 to low 1700’s. Five of us in all, so there would be an off week for each player during each pass.

First Half
I started slowly only 2.5 out of 4, most of which I will attribute to rust and a passive mindset. One could say my offense was sputtering. I'd have moments of clarity only to find myself drifting into the fog. Even in the earlier won games I should have finished off the opponent sooner, or solidified advantages. Two out of the four games I was in severe time trouble. I drew a 1730 with 51 seconds on my clock, and frittered away a won position into a completely drawn ending in a time scramble against a 1300. The only thing that saved me was his blunder allowing me to skewer his rook and King.

I was fighting to over-ride my normal tendency to look at tactics and force myself to play with a plan. Finding the proper balance didn’t come until later, much later.

Regardless of what I tried it felt like I couldn’t get everything going in the same direction. Thanks to my time troubles Mr. Fritz even had a few rude things to say!

Needless to say my confidence was shaken. Realistically I felt I should be at 1.5/4 instead of 2.5/4, something had to give or I’d be in for a rough time over the course of the remaining games.

Stay Tuned...