11 August 2013

Slow Chess League

In place of training games against computer opponents, which I've never been very enthusiastic about, I've started playing in the Slow Chess League at Chess.com.  It's organized by the Dan Heisman Learning Center and has an impressive organization behind it, including very active and helpful TDs.  After a player has qualified for the league by playing in a single Micro-Swiss game - a process which helps orient you to the league logistics and also helps weeds out unreliable players - all of the other tournaments are available for signup.  Standard time control is 45m/game+45s move increment (45 45), but there are also tournaments at 90 30.  Games are played on a weekly basis and scheduled at a mutually convenient time.

From my qualifying Micro-Swiss game (which is Annotated Game #101 in the database), I learned a few new things and was also reminded of some past issues with my play.  Specifically:
  • Exchanging down into a worse endgame was a poor strategic decision and the root of why I lost; see Annotated Game #4 (my GM Alex Yermolinsky simul game) for a similar development.  essentially, the decision to exchange queens on move 22 rendered my queenside space advantage into a weakness rather than a strength.
  • The calculation error on move 30 sealed my fate, after having felt negative psychological pressure from the worsening trend of the game.  The outsize effect of game trends is something that Yermolinsky covered well in his book The Road to Chess Improvement.

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