Thursday, May 25, 2006

Why Do I Lose So Many Chess Games?!?

by Mike Serovey

Have you ever asked yourself that question while having a bad tournament? I can remember when I was still in high school I was playing a tournament and my chess team coach, Mr. Anthony Paul Stone, said that playing over a game that I just lost will depress me and make it more likely that I will continue to lose. Was he right? I don't know. Sometimes this is true and sometimes I really need to play over a lost game before the next round so that I can avoid repeating my mistake later in in that tournament.

One of the things that has hurt me for several years is fatigue. When I have to stay in a motel or hotel I don't sleep as well as I usually do at home. Also, the excitement of playing in a tournament can make it hard for me to sleep! To make things worse, I can remember playing a tournament in Jacksonville, FL where I had to share a room with about my entire chess team! I slept on two chairs next to the air conditioner! I bombed out in that tournament.

At other tournaments I shared a room with a USCF life master named Tom Stiers. Tom used to talk, and even scream, in his sleep. I have no idea if he still does this now. I would be startled out of a sound sleep several times a night by his talking or screaming! Tom used to hate to play against Igor Ivanov because Tom has yet to beat, or even draw Igor! I can still remember him screaming about having to play Igor the next day. I read in Chess Life that Igor had died, so Tom will not get his rematch. Is it any wonder that I was often fatigued after a day or so of stuff like this?

Someone commented on his web site that most of the games on mine were games that I had played online at ICC. He is correct. The interface that I use to play at ICC is BlitzIn 2.5. BlitzIn allows me to save all of my games in PGN format. That makes it really easy for me to post my games on my site. With over the board games, I have to type out the game score and check for mistakes in notation before I can put the notation on my web site. I have been too lazy, and busy, to do all of that work. However, I do plan to put these games on my site, eventually.

I have noticed that one of the things that has caused me to lose online and correspondence games is impatience! Even in correspondence games I fail to take the time needed to look at all of my opponents possible replies to my moves! I have posted two short games below that I recently finished. Both are from a correspondence tournament and in both I failed to look at all of my opponents' possible moves.

[Event "ICC correspondence 2006SC18QF.02.17"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2006.05.02"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Fegary"]
[Black "OnGoldenPawn"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ICCResult "Black checkmated"]
[Opening "Sicilian: chameleon variation"]
[ECO "B23"]
[NIC "SI.44"]
[Time "22:59:49"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nge2 d6 4. Nf4 e5 5. Nfd5 Nge7 6. Bc4 g6 7. Nf6#
{Black checkmated}

I just walked into a checkmate here! I failed to look at any knight move for White except Nxe7. Oh, well!

[Event "ICC correspondence 2006SC18QF.02.08"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2006.05.02"]
[Round "-"]
[White "OnGoldenPawn"]
[Black "pokerram"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ICCResult "White resigns"]
[Opening "English opening"]
[ECO "A16"]
[NIC "EO.64"]
[Time "22:59:49"]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 O-O 5. e4 c5 6. e5 Nh5 7. f4 d6 8. exd6
exd6 9. Nge2 Nf6 10. O-O Nc6 11. d4 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Ng4 13. Nxc6 bxc6 14. Bxc6
Qb6+ {White resigns} 0-1

I resigned here because I was going to lose my bishop and the only way out of checkmate was to give up my queen to a discovered check. I thought that 14. Bxc6 was a winning move! It turned out to be a losing blunder because I failed to consider any queen moves for Black!

The moral of the story for me is to get plenty of rest both before and during a chess tournament and to take my time while playing! It is better for me to lose on time forfeit than to continue to blunder away pieces or to walk into a checkmate!

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