Thursday 16 April 2015

Well I'll be!

As a CC player who does not use chess engines, one of the difficulties is playing games where you have no idea about who is better. As the games go for quite a while (3 to 6 months), this can be very frustrating. You might think that knowing who is better is different from having the computer choose your moves, but to me it is a slippery slope (as well as providing a form of assistance).
The "I have know idea about the position" problem occurs in OTB chess as well, although the usual response is to lash out tactically. A game I played last night certainly had some of these features (a confusing middle game, tactical blows, and an unclear ending), although I was genuinely surprised that post game engine analysis wasn't the horror show I thought it would be.
I was happy with my position from the opening, and thought that 13.g4 was a desperate gamble. Turns out it was actually quite good, although 13.h5 was even stronger. Capturing on d4 wasn't a pawn grab, but just a way of freeing e5 for my queen. Again when my opponent took on f5 I thought he was helping develop my queenside, until 24.Nd4 landed on the board. By this stage I thought I was losing too many pawns, but 28.Rg1 was a slight mistake, as 28. ... Rd8 causes difficulties for the knight on d6. At this point I thought it was prudent to offer a draw, not because I believed the position to be equal (I felt I was worse), but to take advantage of my opponents shortness of time, and the sudden shift in momentum. I was relieved when he accepted the offer, thinking I had escaped. But it turns out that there was no escape as the final position is considered equal by Stockfish. Not sure if this was dumb luck or subliminal thinking, but I will take the half point.

Hosking,Ian - Press,Shaun [A85]
Murphy Memorial, 14.04.2015

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