Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pearson-Harrington 03.13.08 0-1

Here's the game I wrote about last week (my opponent's impressions are here), the game that cost me about 30 rating points, a chance to play seven games against higher-rated players in the Club Ch. Swiss, and resulted in my upcoming weeks off from tournament chess.

The break is a blessing in disguise, because if there's one thing this game tells me it's that I must improve my physical and mental stamina if I'm going to play my way up into Class A again. Games against the higher-rated players often last a good long time at our 30/90, G/60 time control, and if I drop off like I did in this game I'll just score frequent, frustrating losses.

There are some good things I did in the game below, and the lesson is going to be useful--physical and mental exercises designed to help me play as I'm capable of longer into the game, rather than any specific chess preparation, seems to be the key. I'm still going to keep up with chess training, of course, but watch here for more exploration of these other factors in the final result of a chess game.


transformation said...

amen brother!

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert, one of my friends in San Diego is a really good tactician by the name of Mark Brooks. I remember when he was exclusively a "1. d4" player as I have been for a long time now.

Well, one of the reasons I'm thinking of giving up 1. d4 is because if you compare the King's Indian to say, the Pirc or the Robatsch, you will find that White's lines of play are in my opinion much better. The same is true if you compare the Slav and Caro-Kann Defenses.

I do not want to say I've been playing the wrong pawn all these years, because I have been pretty successful with 1. d4. However, I am getting increasingly suspicious about it.

Besides the above, here the sole reason why I might never play the move again:

When Karpov and Kasparov were fighting for the World Title, I noticed something that did scare me a little. Due to Karpov's becoming stronger after facing Kasparov so many times, I saw that the Nimzo-Indian and Queen's Indian Defenses were now very difficult, more so than before to knock down. Kasparov also bolstered the Gruenfeld and King's Indian Defenses.

Knowing this, that would lead to "Reverse Set-Ups", White having the extra move in defense, if he replied to 1...Nf6 (the most popular) with say, 2. Nf3--A Queen's Pawn Game.

I love the Queen's Gambit, but the Indian Defenses are getting stronger and the Benko Gambit is a pain in the...

All that said, if you see me begin to play 1. e4, it may be permanent. In fact, I would be amazed if I didn't play it more than once in the upcoming Club Championship Qualifier.

Just thought I would give you something to think about. Fischer might be right, 1. e4 might very well be the strongest way to begin.

Anonymous said...

It looks to me like once the game got tough you just played weak moves. There's a lot of words but the fact is you got your ass kicked.

drunknknite said...

Eric - On your example of Karpov-Kasparov you forgot to mention that Karpov was using 1.e4 but got so frustrated by Kasparov's Sicilian that he switched to 1.d4 and stopped playing 1.e4 completely.

Also, Kramnik practically refuted the KID which is why it is very rare at the top level, only practitioner is Radjabov and he got crushed in Morelia by Shirov.

ChargingKing said...

Maybe you should disable anonymous quoting.

I agree with everything except the idea that Rg2+ isn't good. I saw it to be a easy win and didn't need to evaluate any further.

It wins the queen and will lead to the promotion of another one very easily. It leaves no counterplay for White, a perfectly safe Black King,etc.

I know in many of these spots that Fritz likes other moves as faster kills, but one easy win is just as good as another in my opinion.

In fact I'm abandoning all fritz "analysis" in the future and will only allow our silicon friend to check for missed tactics AFTER my complete evaluation is complete.

So you might see less precise analysis from now on in my blog, but that's ok cause it will be all mine!

I understand that you have a different stragety that goes very well with your recent blog on "using computer eyes" but I think I'm gonna go in a different direction...Fritz makes me lazy, and looking at his analysis in hindside makes us feel better about making mistakes...because we "had better moves".

Eric- You think d4 is worse than e4? I've never played d4 but at some point I will add it to my repertoire... good luck making the "magnicicent seven".

Robert I envision us having many good games in the future.

Robert Pearson said...


Eric-I'm not exactly worried about the future of 1. d4! Let 'em reply with the Nimzo or whatever, I'm confident I can reach a playable middlegame that I understand, which is fine for this point in my progress.

Kevin-As long as I'm not playing Kramnik or Shirov I feel pretty confident on the Black side as well.

Chris-what anon. said is basically true, if not exactly elegantly expressed. Anyway, I love anonymous comments and only delete the spam ones and now that word verify is on they have disappeared.

You're right, Rg2+ does win in a walk, and I knew it as soon as you played it, so maybe ?! isn't needed. Be4+ does lead to the win of an additional knight or rook, though. Fritz didn't find that one, however. Sitting in the quiet of my home over the weekend it was remarkable how much easier it was to see good moves for both of us! Whatever the engine I was using (in ChessDB) was the one one that pointed out that 30. ...Rf2+ was a definite improvement for you. During and after the game I didn't think it worked out like that. Funny how most of the mistakes on my side were not where I didn't consider the best move, but where I did look at that move and for whatever reason decided something else was better. Maybe it's encouraging that I'm at least looking...

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys, no I'm not giving up 1. d4 or 1. e4 for that matter. Kevin, I did not forget and I think I know why Karpov stopped playing 1. e4.

I think he wanted more control against Kasparov. Also, the Sicilian has a better reputation than either the King's Indian or Gruenfeld, the latter having so many drawing variations. He wanted things under more control against a determined younger opponent.

When Kasparov got older, he did a similar thing by adopting "quieter" lines.

I was just giving Robert more things to think about. I for one, believe that today's tournament player has to be versatile and play both 1. e4 and 1.d4 as the days of one-sidedness are over!

I should say this to Anonymous. Firstly, it's cowardly to drop a comment like that and not give your name. You're probably just a pathetic player yourself.

Secondly, I have no use for others who take delight in other players losses. It kind of makes you an asshole! But if that is goal in life, then it doesn't really take much to succeed at it, does it now. It certainly requires no special education.

We all win and we all lose and we all draw. Those who think they have a superiority over another player need to realize one very important thing: It may not always be that way.

ChargingKing said...

Yeah, 30...Rf2+ was my improvement.....that really frustrates me because I was checking on the feasibility of that check every move. Somehow I missed it. Perhaps because I was becoming eager to get my queen into the attack before you could consolidate the defense.

All in all most of my attack was imperfect, but I am still happy with the moves because I was trying my best to present problems for you over the board. Maybe they weren't as serious as they looked over the board but the fact is that they do present problems.

I'm not sure why people put anonymous posts when they could just post what they want to say with a real identity? There is no internet politeness police...yet!

Maybe if you're around at the tourney you can help "kibitz my games in the postmortem...I would enjoy that!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin, just so you know. The King's Indian isn't anywhere near refuted. In fact, GM Leonid Yurtaev is the "hardest" of the King's Indian "hard men" and rarely plays anything else. His results are good against all opposition.

But you are right in saying that it is not as popular as it once was. I agree with that.

ChargingKing said...

actually I mentioned to Kevin during the Western States Open that the King's Indian was going obsolete at the GM level and he responded that "The King's Indian would never be obsolete"...so which one is it Kevin? : )

Robert Pearson said...

You know, ALL four games in this tournament for me were King's Indians, two Black's and two White's. I don't believe I've ever had the same opening in four consecutive games before...I think I learned a lot about it from examining the games in the tournament, though I've been playing it in a majority of my games against 1. d4 for years!

ChargingKing said...

In this tournament I played against my first Petroff, and I played my first French as well as my first King's Indian....

But that's interesting that you are getting that much experience on both sides of the King's Indian!

drunknknite said...

Eric - GM Yurtaev, who I have never heard of before now, is hardly at the top level. I mean Super GM level. Traditionally defined as 2700+ but people have gotten more lenient with the term. Also, his results in this opening against players over 2600 certainly fail to impress.

Chris - Like I said, Radjabov will still employ it, even earning a draw against Kramnik in Wijk this year. But the Nimzo/QID complex has risen to popularity amongst the super elite. I think all in all it is more a matter of the opening being out of fashion than refuted but do not forget that the greatest practitioner of all time in this opening, Kasparov, abandoned it in the later stages of his career. I still meant what I said, the KID will never die, but right now it's hibernating.

Robert - No reason to stop playing it, I'll probably play it a few times this year. It produces a lot of decisive games. This game was exciting, Chris was determined to win. I left after h4 but I was very interested in the position after Kh4, seemed to me like there had to be a win for Black but I couldn't find it, I thought maybe he could use the queen trade and fork the knight and rook with Be3 after Ng5 but it doesn't look like he can get that in.

On the Fritz note, Rg2 doesn't deserve a ?!, Chris's idea is good, get your ideas out before you look to the machine. But the machine can help develop your ideas into very strong and relevant variations, or give you reason to exclude them completely.

ChargingKing said...

I have only played KID once so I can't say much about it but it does lead to counterattacking chances from the games I have reviewed. I will have to get my middlegame ideas organized better but the mainline theory against the Four pawns gives full equality to Black. Or so I've read ; )

ChargingKing said...

I'm not sure what Robert or Eric think about this...or Kevin. But I know the first two play the Four Pawn. The mainlines all score so well for Black what is the incentive to play that line? I mean for example the position from our game after the move 13...Qa5 score 53% FOR BLACK in my database, it also shows in Deep Fritz as gaining pure equality.

Why is it so popular a line if it produces so few wins?

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris, I'm not sure what Robert's reasonings behind playing the "Four Pawn's Attack" are, but I can tell you what mine are.

I have played 1. d4 for years and am pretty good with it. I was even complimented once by an IM. But that was years ago, when Chess held first place in my life. I'm not sure I will get those days back, but I hope so.

If White the plays the Classical Variation, he is simply winning the Queenside straight out. Black cannot stop it. However, White has to "Swing" his attack over from left to White after either winning a pawn or as is more likely having a plus in position.

So what's the problem you ask? In the meantime, Black is throwing everything but kitchen sink at White's Kingside, where White's King is. That requires "NERVES OF STEEL." Not everyone can boast that ability.

I once played a very tactical and talented kid in L.A. in the Classical Variation. He was already an Expert at 12. I managed to defeat him, but I will never forget how nerve-wracking it was!

With the Four Pawns Attack, there is no Black Kingside Attack, because I'm already over there utilizing that side of the board.

And I have a huge center, but my development is slower, having moved so many pawns forward. Black can equalize easily and the Four Pawns Attack is certainly no refutation.

However, a lot of people cannot handle a huge pawn center. I can, so it is dangerous to give me a whole lot of space. Witness the Shoemaker-Simanis game recently and you will see.

Still though, when I go over 2000 and begin playing much better players on a regular basis, I will probably have to be more realistic in my opening choices. Right now, it's a huge time-saver when I have don't have much to begin with.

The funny thing is this: Many King's Indian players hate the mere sight of the Four Pawns' Attack, even though, and especially if they play ...c5 early, it is not really a problem to equalize.

If I was a King's Indian player myself and that may happen soon as my style of play is changing--into what I don't know; I would be more happy to see a Four Pawns' Attack than I would be to see a good Classical Variation player. I wouldn't sweat the Saemisch Variation either. But the Classical is a forced win of the Queenside. But swinging the attack over when Black is coming down on you like "Ugly on a Monkey" isn't the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.

At the higher levels, you would see far less Four Pawns' Attacks. Ernie Hong doesn't like it either, but there should be no fear of it. It's a rather tame line IF Black knows what he is doing. I win a lot of games when Black does nothing and just stares at my center as in the Simanis game or when they play ...e5 and leave out ...c5.

The move ...e5 is a lemon. White simply takes with the f-pawn and when Black retakes, White pushes past with the d-pawn. The Black Bishop is going to eat on granite rock probably forever! Yet how many times do I see this mistake?

There are also some ugly traps associated with the Four Pawns' Attack and there is also the incredible Six-Pawns' Attack where Mariotti actually defeated Gligoric many years ago. Gligoric is noted King's Indian Expert. Even Fischer avoided playing the King's Indian against him.

The Grandmasters, World Title Candidates and the World Champions know when to adjust their repertoires. Doing it effectively means even more points, either the full or the half.

If you see more wins for Black in the Four Pawns' Attack, it isn't the line, it's the players involved. The line is okay, just not a problem for Black, but it isn't losing for White either.

The more objectivity you have, the better. Most of the players I know that go beyond expert are incredibly "objective" about their own play and about the play of others. They leave nothing to chance. That's why they're good. When you see someone who's not objective, do not envy that person, because they are not really going that far. Trust me, I've seen it already too many times before.

I can't wait to see Robert's answer to this question.

Phaedrus said...

Hello Robert,

I looked at the game briefly. Man must be tough to see this slip away. I have had my share of those I can tell you.

There is however one thing that immediately came to my mind when I saw your 26th move.

Cor van Wijgerden (IM, author of the stepsmethod and my chessguru) told us at the chesstrainers class that a very significant difference between masters and class players is that the masters tend to raise tension and that classplayers tend to resolve tension. This is exactly the difference between exf7 and 26 Ne4. Maybe a post on this is coming on my blog in a few days.

Anonymous said...

Re: openings. I had a diatribe written that unintentionally sounded bitter, so to summarize:

There's a chess reality for GM's and another for the rest of us. Sometimes I wonder if we take away unhelpful conclusions from observing GM choices.

Anyway, go lift and run and hopefully the Reno guys will see a tougher Wahrheit!