As I usually like to do, I now give impressions from last night's tournament game and will post with analysis later, but not six weeks from now! I noted in A Clear-Eyed Analysis of My Shortcomings that I would be working through the backlog and will keep to my commitment to analyze and post all serious games here; it's good for learning and I especially appreciate it when the commentariat has suggestions and improvements. But I'm going to do them in chronological order.
So, last night in the Reno CC Ch. Swiss I drew with Edwin Simanis (1869) who is a pretty strong player and once touched 2000; he had drunknknite on the ropes in Round 2 but only drew with bishop and knight vs. lone king...anyway, I had White and it went 1. d4 d6 2. e4 g6 and at this point I usually play 3. Nc3, I have some lines against the Pirc/Modern that I enjoy, but this time I went 3. c4 as I had some premonition that he wouldn't be comfortable playing the King's Indian. I was right, he avoided playing Nf6 for awhile and I developed rapidly while he shuffled around on his side of the board a bit, I got a pretty good bind out of the opening. We both castled 0-0, we both pushed the f-pawn two squares, but because of my more aggressive pieces I was able to get an attack going and eventually he gave up a clear Exchange to stop it. There were great complications with a lot of pieces massed and attacking on a lot of open lines, but I couldn't find a clear crush and went into an "almost"ending (three pieces and a rook for me versus his four minors) and he found a shot that won a piece back, leaving him with two pieces for a rook.
Now I was bleary and getting short on time but I'm happy to report that I continued to try my best and managed to simplify to rook vs. bishop and knight with only a- and b-pawns left for each side--and he offered a draw. I only had 15 minutes to play it out versus his 40-plus, and I think it was a bit of a courtesy offer, but I took it!
Now, to tie this in with Wednesday's fun and games in the chess blogosphere...
Interestingly enough, after a fair budding flame war on the post at Elizabeth Vicary's blog, FM Jon Jacobs came back with something of an apology, BDK and I withdrew one or two of our most inflammatory remarks (but without letting him off on the "cult" remark) and things have proceeded quite civilly since. A unique occurrence in Internet history?!
Anyway, after the furor had died down Jacobs wrote this:
Above 1600, though, I've noticed that most players already have a pretty good grasp of the principles and skills they need to perform at a higher level. Above 1800, that's even more true. So I'd say anywhere from 1600 to 2300 or thereabouts, most players would get more "mileage" from striving to understand and control their own state of mind (and emotions – especially emotions) while engaged in competitive play – rather than pursuing any kind of chess study program per se.
This is the long version of what I meant when I coined my soon-to-be-famous slogan: "Fire your coach…Hire a shrink!" I believe that slogan formed the nub of the post I made some months ago on Blunderprone's blog … the same one that another amateur blogger called the best post he'd ever seen.
And this sums up something that I've written about before but was just emphasized again in last night's game; I believe I can make a BIG jump in effective playing strength and rating if I can just play as well late in the game as I do early in the game! I don't need more knowledge or even more skill, and it's not entirely a matter of fatigue either; even in games that don't last a really long time, my calculating and alertness to the opponent's threats dulls appreciably after I've been concentrating hard for a certain number of moves. Part of it is fatigue, but there's something more, I even know it's happening but things start to get a little fuzzy, I start to have a constriction of board vision, and the good positions I get almost every game don't get converted to maximum value. I know nobody's immune from this, but it's clearly my biggest weakness.
I don't know exactly how to train for this, but by god I'm going to find out and root out the problem. Googling now...will be back with results later.