11 November 2011

Annotated Game #18: Comeback (Round 3)

This is the final game from my "comeback" tournament (previously shown in Annotated Game #14 and Annotated Game #16).  Against a strong Class A player, I face the London System for the first (and only) time in tournament play.  My lack of familiarity with the position-type shows, as I try to apply some standard ideas from the Slav and other d4/d5 openings with poor results.  White seizes the initiative with 8. g4! but fails to put Black away, while at the same time creating some weaknesses in his own camp.  Black shows tenacity by continuing to look for counterthreats and then seizes the moment after White overlooks a mating pattern with two bishops.

In this tournament I scored 2/3 against an opposition with an average 2026 rating, resulting in a 2149 performance rating.  Statistically that is not meaningful across a whole career.  However, it at least showed that I am capable of playing level with Expert rated opposition in a tournament.  Certainly my opponents helped me achieve this result, but that's all part of the performance aspect of chess.  In that context, it's worth noting that I played at a much higher level in the loss (#16) than I did in this win.

For future annotated games, I intend to have them be a mix of past tournament games, starting chronologically from this point on in my career, and contemporary training games.  I find it encouraging that my chess knowledge has increased to the point where I can easily recognize common flaws in my play, including certain types of positional understanding and patterns of thinking.  This game again demonstrates a past ignorance of the relative value of minor pieces and how/when it is best to exchange them, for example the key role of the White knight on e5.  My contemporary play also reflects a "hangover" of these past practices - it is very hard to eradicate bad habits - but acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing it.

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