Friday, April 18, 2014

Preparing for the Doeberl Cup

My routine coming into a big tournament runs something like this. First, try to get a load of chess work done up to a week before the tournament is due to start. This includes preparing openings, tactical and calculation training, deep analysis etc. Then I cut the workload down for the last few days before the tournament begins. This gives my brain time to process the information and think about it and also means that I should be fresher when I get to the board. Of course, there is always a temptation to think about chess during this down time, and that is probably unavoidable, as long as the work isn't too deep. Once I'm at the tournament, it is usually full on combination of prepare, play, analyse, with some downtime to eat and relax.

The day before Canberra, relaxing at Black Rock

So while I'm not going to go into the chess preparation I went into before the tournament began, here's a couple of ideas from the first days play at the Doeberl Cup in Canberra.. In round 1, Svetozar Stojic continued his good form this year with a draw against Indian GM Roy Chowdhury. IM's Moulthun Ly and James Morris also had to give u half a point to Jonas Muller and WIM Emma Guo respectively. While there were some other surprises, probably the biggest upset was IM Andrew Brown losing to Wenlin Yin. Personally, I was quite close to the half way mark and was hoping for a few players to take byes in the first round so that I could play a Grand Master. Unfortunately, that was not to be and I ended up in the top half on one of the bottom boards. I struggled to get any advantage early on, but then managed to build up some space which squeezed my opponent, and I won the game.

On the drive to Canberra, a stop at Holbrook to see a submarine 500 km's from the sea!

The second round saw no big upsets and 19 players remain on 2/2. I found the going quite hard toward the end of my game, and I think I wasn't the only one. It is quite tiring playing 2 games in a day with a finish close to 11 pm. So with that in mind, it was probably unwise for me to allow my game to blow up into a wild and complicated mess which my opponent, FM Tristan Boyd managed far better than I did. A crucial moment in the game was this.

I was playing black in a what started as a Nimzo Indian and was now preparing c5, when Tristan threw a spanner in the works. 15.f4!? To be honest, I was expecting something on that side of the board, but underestimated my opponent's chances. I should have carried on with the plan of  15..c5 with a tense game, but instead chose to add flames to the fire with 15..Ng4
I was expecting 16.Rf3 when I was planning 16..f5, though white might just be able to sacrifice a piece on f5 for a pretty vicious attack. However, I hadn't really considered the move that was actually played which shows a weakness in my thinking. 16.e4!? This completely threw me and I didn't find the best continuation, and went on to lose to an excellent attack that Tristan created. Funnily enough I talked about this subject of changing the pace of the game to IM James Morris recently who considers it a crucial skill for a chess player to have. It is certainly important to be ready for your opponent's tactical chances, and for when they might just roll the dice and go for it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment