Tuesday, July 24, 2018

(No) regrets

Some articles ago I announced a couple of chess-camps in Belgium for our youth. My son Hugo participated at the one of schaakinitiatief Vlaanderen which meanwhile is already finished more than 1 week ago. It was a huge success for the organisation as for the participants. I only heard and read positive things. The daily reports with pictures submitted by the organization on their site, were very well perceived by the home front. Below picture probably summarizes the camp the best.
A mega-bouncy-castle at the chess-camp
Source: http://schaakinitiatief.blogspot.com/

It was super-fun, grandiose and well organized. My son wished that he could stay longer so next time we will certainly again participate. I expect next time the organizers shall better attract some additional leaders as likely much more people will want to subscribe. I guess multiple camps would also be interesting for the youth but I am not sure if this is something feasible for the organization.

Yes our young players have a luxury-life. Those things didn't exist when I was young. Besides I only got acquainted with competitive-chess very late in my teens. Who knows how much better I would play today if the conditions at that time would've been similar like my son's. Anyway it makes no sense to complain. We can't change the past and also I never had any choice.

On the other hand in our games we do always make choices which don't always give us the result we expected. Normally we can accept this but sometimes it does hurt when a different choice would've given for sure a better result. In below game my much lower rated opponent choosed to avoid the offered repetition but gets beaten in the remaining part of the game.
[Event "Open Gent 3de ronde"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "De Haas, W."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C90"] [WhiteElo "2050"] [BlackElo "2307"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r2rbk1/1bpq1pp1/p2p1n1p/1p2p3/1P2P3/1NPPBN1P/1PQ2PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 17"] [PlyCount "44"] [CurrentPosition "1r2rbk1/1bpq1pp1/p2p1n1p/1p2p3/1P2P3/1NPPBN1P/1PQ2PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 17"] 17.Na5 Ba8 18.Nb3 Bb7 19.Nfd2 { (White wondered if he should have taking the repetition here. White is slightly better so technically there is nothing wrong to continue the game.) } 19...d5 20.Bc5 Bd6 21.Nf1 Qe6 22.f3 { (Ng3 is doubtless more critical.) } 22...Nh5 23.Ne3 Nf4 24.Nf5 Qg6 25.Ne3? { (White played the whole game very fast but this is a weird blunder. After Kh2 white is not worse.) } 25...Nxh3+ 26.Kf1 Nf4 27.Rad1 Rbd8 28.c4?! { (After the ugly mistake at move 25 it is not easy to concentrate again. However this new mistake loses rapidly. Bxd6 was necessary to resist.) } 28...bxc4 29.dxc4 dxe4 30.Na5 Ba8 31.Bxd6 cxd6 32.fxe4 Bxe4 33.Qd2 Re6 34.c5 Rf6 35.Kg1 Nh3+ 36.Kh2 Nf2 37.Nac4 Qh5+ 38.Kg1 Qh1# 0-1

White's advantage was small so there remained a certain risk that the stronger player would still win the game. Nonetheless it is nonsense to regret the choice after the game. If you have an advantage then you should not take the draw even if the opponent is stronger. You have a much better chance to win the game in such case compared to the beginning. It would be very silly to play chess with the sole goal of making a draw.

Besides it is on the long term bad to take draws. If you want to develop optimally then you should become a gladiator of the game. This you can't study from books. No in each game you should push yourself to the limit, ready to die but getting in return valuable practical skills of a seasoned tournament-player.

My son Hugo knows meanwhile that I prefer him losing than taking a lazy draw. That sometimes leads to some funny situations like end of last year in the interclub. His team-captain couldn't believe his eyes when Hugo refused the draw in a lost position against a 300 points higher rated player. David against Goliath but twice as difficult. Of course there was no happy ending.
[Event "Interclub Turnhout - KMSK"] [Site "?"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Jansen, L."] [Black "Hugo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B13"] [WhiteElo "1725"] [BlackElo "1402"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1r1r2k1/5pp1/2q1pn1p/1pPp4/1P1P1Q2/3B2P1/5P1P/1R2R1K1 w - - 0 29"] [PlyCount "89"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [CurrentPosition "1r1r2k1/5pp1/2q1pn1p/1pPp4/1P1P1Q2/3B2P1/5P1P/1R2R1K1 w - - 0 29"] 29.Qd2 { (White proposed here a draw. Hugo refused it as he believed to get counter-play along the a-file. However white is winning here. The passed c-pawn paralyzes the black pieces and the black b-pawn needs continuous protection.) } 29...Ra8 30.Qe2 Rab8 31.Ra1 Ne8 32.Ra5 Nc7 33.Rea1 Rb7 34.f4 f6 35.Re1 Re8 36.Qh5 f5 37.Qg6 Qd7 38.Qh5 Qc6 39.g4 Rf8 40.g5 Kh7 41.g6+ Kh8 42.Re2 Na6 43.Rb2 Nc7 44.Qh4 Rf6 45.Qg3 Qe8 46.Rg2 Qc6 47.h4 Rb8 48.h5 Rff8 49.Rga2 Ra8 50.Qh4 Rfe8 51.Kh2 Rxa5 52.Rxa5 Kg8 53.Qe1 Ra8 54.Qa1 Rxa5 55.Qxa5 Qb7 56.Qb6 Qc8 57.Bxb5 Nxb5 58.Qxb5 Kf8 59.Qa5 Ke7 60.Qa7+ Kf6 61.b5 Qe8 62.Qf7+ Qxf7 63.gxf7 Kxf7 64.b6 Ke7 65.b7 Kd7 66.b8=Q Kc6 67.Qb6+ Kd7 68.c6+ Ke7 69.Qb7+ Kf6 70.c7 g6 71.c8=Q gxh5 72.Qf8+ Kg6 73.Qbg7# 1-0

Hugo was defeated mercilessly. Pity of the half point some people will think but I considered it an unique opportunity to learn something. Hugo didn't realize that he was losing (probably his 300 points higher rated player neither as otherwise he would've not offered the draw). Anyway I know by experience that such hard lessons are very useful. Nobody likes to lose so you are always more eager to listen to advise after such defeats.

Besides the future always rewards players with a strong fighting will. That already happened here quickly as only 6 months later he made 2 upsets against players 300 points higher. Once he won but I like his draw more against the Belg Marc Van Stiphout.
[Event "Open Maastricht C 7 de ronde"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Hugo"] [Black "Van Stiphout, M."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C01"] [WhiteElo "1355"] [BlackElo "1709"] [PlyCount "107"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [Sourcedate "2018.07.21"] [Sourceversiondate "2018.07.21"] 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Be7 6.O-O Bg4 7.Be2 O-O 8.Be3 Ne4 9.Nbd2 f5 10.Nxe4 fxe4 11.Nd2 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 c6 13.c3 Nd7 14.Qg4 Rf6 15.Bg5 Rg6 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.Qh3 Rf8 18.Rae1 Qd6 19.Re2 Nf6 20.Rfe1 Nd7 21.f3 exf3 22.Nxf3 Nf6 23.Qe6+ Qxe6 24.Rxe6 Ne4 25.Rxg6 hxg6 26.Rf1 g5 27.Ne5 Rf4 28.Rxf4 gxf4 29.Ng6 f3 30.gxf3 Nd2 31.Kf2 Nc4 32.b3 Na3 33.Ke2 Kf7 34.Ne5+ Ke6 35.h4 Nb5 36.Kd3 Nd6 37.a4 Nf5 38.a5 c5 39.a6 bxa6 40.Nc6 Nxh4 41.Ke2 cxd4 42.Nxd4+ Ke5 43.Kf2 g5 44.Kg3 Nf5+ 45.Nxf5 Kxf5 46.Kf2 Kf4 47.Ke2 a5 48.Kf2 a6 49.Ke2 Ke5 50.Ke3 Kd6 51.Kd4 Ke6 52.Kd3 Ke5 53.Ke3 Kf5 54.Ke2 1/2-1/2

This doesn't prove that we always have to continue fighting. If we are close to resign a game then we should of course accept a present. There also exist situations in which a half point is more important than taking risks. I am thinking of e.g. a tournament-victory with some money at stake, a title of a championship, a team-victory,..

Eventually it is matter of making a well thought-out choice. Regrets are unnecessary afterwards as there was no better information at that time available. Especially therefore I can't understand why some players don't put any effort in checking critically their played games. I consider it a pure waste of time to make the same (opening-) errors over again.


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