Monday, March 14, 2016

The scoresheet

Playing few standard games doesn't motivate to produce a lot of analysis. I am not the type of player like Bobby Fischer, studying hard at home while being months away from competitive chess. Neither will I try to drag the analysis because there isn't much to do. At contrary as nowadays I use mainly again 2 computers to analyze which is different from what I wrote 2 years ago in my article to analyze with a computer.

Today I possess a laptop and a desktop. My laptop is less than 2 years old and only used for analyzing/ preparing games. He is my compagnon in the few tournaments I play each year. The desktop is already more than 5 years old but still slightly more powerful than my laptop. That PC is used for much more as the internetconnection is also popular by my children. Exactly because of that we decided to put the PC in the middle of our living. The internet is a fantastic place to find entertainment, information,.. but some parental supervision is absolutely necessary. Not rarely a pop-up shows up which proposes to install a number of programs. Fortunately my children have learned in the meanwhile first to consult me before clicking.

The central location of the desktop in the living also means that playing online chess (something which I still love to do and about which I wrote in my article the (non-)sense of blitz) is not something simple. I am regularly disturbed by my inmates which often don't realize how frustrating it is to lose games. Often I wait till the night so that the children are in bed but playing when you are tired isn't optimal either. It is surely no coincidence that my rating sometimes shows huge fluctuations of 300 points (Playchess 2150 - 2450) in just a couple of days.

In standard-chess we won't often experience such big variations. Although we do see sometimes in one particular game drastic changes of the quality. The current increments avoid extreme time-trouble of many moves in a couple of seconds. On the other hand we encounter today much earlier shallow play in our games. The obligatory recording of the moves at all times definitely also plays a role. If you play solely by increments then being forced to spend at each move a couple of seconds at recording, will further deteriorate the quality of the moves. It is no big surprise that when 1 side is pressing that the resistance often quickly collapses when playing only by increments. This also happened to me in my interclub-game of round 6 against the Belgian FM Bruno De Jonghe. A difficult position quickly was destroyed by some superficial play.
[Event "Interclub Temse Deurne"] [Date "2016"] [White "De Jonghe, B."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C90"] [WhiteElo "2229"] [BlackElo "2322"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "R1bq1r1k/Q1p1bpp1/3pn2p/1B2p3/2N1P1n1/3PBN2/1P3PPP/6K1 b - - 0 27"] [PlyCount "22"] 27... d5 {(It is obvious that black has a very difficult position. Besides I do not have much time and the defense becomes much harder when you are low in time. With this pawn-sacrifice I try to create chaos and hope to get some chances.)} 28. Ncxe5 Nxe3 $6 {(Pxe5 is objectively of course more accurate but I thought only Nxe3 gives still swindle-chances.)} 29. Qxe3 dxe4 30. Qxe4 Bd6 31. Nxf7 $6 {(This exchange wins a pawn but greatly complicates the win. Increasing the pressure with Bc4 was a much simpler win.)} Rxf7 32. Qxe6 Rf8 $6 {(I keep intuitively the pieces on the board because I am 2 pawns down but the endgame likely gave better surviving chances.)} (32... Bxe6 $1 33. Rxd8 Rf8 34. Rxf8 Bxf8 35. Bc4 $1 $16 {(I suspect this is winning for white but it is not so easy as even Komodo once spoiled it.)}) 33. Qe4 Qf6 34. d4 g5 { (I play solely by increments otherwise I definitely should have noticed whites next move. Now my position quickly collapses.)} 35. Bd3 Qg7 36. Ne5 Rd8 37. Ng6 Kg8 38. Rxc8 1-0
We don't only see that the quality of the game suffers as also the recording becomes a mess. I encounter mainly problems playing black. Suddenly due to the pressure I don't succeed anymore to interpret quickly the mirrored coordinates. Not less than 6 mistakes can be found in below scoresheet from move 27 onward.
Scoresheet of my game against Bruno De Jonghe
Of course you won't think twice or 3 times about the recording when you only have 30 seconds approximately. I am curious if other readers also experience this problem linked to playing with the black pieces.

I can imagine that my teamcaptain often has a hard time to dissect and digitize the scoresheets properly. Today he still volunteers to spread the games of our first team in our club. 10 years ago they were also published on the interclub-site of Valery Maes but this was stopped as it transpired we were the only club willing to cooperate. In my article password I already wrote that many players prefer not to have their games published anymore.

We deviate from our topic as I wanted to talk about recording. Any competitive player is able to record correctly but in practice we see that many players consider this as an annoying task. Not seldom the scoresheet contains mistakes. Of course I remember the sadistic exam. Therefore I will be the last one to criticize people not willing to rely blindly on their own scoresheets. The Belgian FM Rob Michiels confessed after our recent game that he played the 41st move quickly despite the complex nature of the position because he wasn't sure about the number of played moves. The Belgian international arbiter Geert Bailleul made a very valuable remark just before the last interclubround in Deurne. He warned the players that the extra time is only added when the time of one of both players is showing 0 and not automatically at move 40.

Without live boards or assistance of the involved players it is often impossible to decipher somebodies scoresheet. I also often suspect that players deliberately neglect the scoresheet so digitizing is avoided. The most striking example of sabotage I read on chesspub. A grandmaster regularly uses the pretext that he has no readingglasses to record the moves. Arbiters get fooled by the small time-handicap which he proposes as compensation.

Finally I wonder what happens with all those scoresheets after the games. Normally after digitizing and analyzing a game, I will still wait for a possible processing of the rating but then it is thrown in the paper basket. Not everybody is unemotional. Once I heard about a big box of record-sheets below the bed of a famous Belgian IM. On the sleeping blog of Wim Barbier you can find some scans of his oldest record-sheets e.g dated 23rd June 1975! Are you a collector or do you immediately throw them away?


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