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...


Pawnsensei said...

Glad to hear you are getting back into the thick of it Sancho. Give em hell!


CelticDeath said...

It's depressing being at the bottom of a tournament, frustrating to be in the middle of the pack, and scary as hell to be winning it. So, don't worry about it! Just play the best chess you can play. Believe me, the wins will come and you will see the results you desire. Just keep working and keep playing!

King of the Spill said...

Good to hear your kicking some butt! It sounds like your putting it all together.