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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Take Time to Think!

I swear I think some people believe when you play blitz with an increment the idea is to finish with more time than you started with. I played 3 games against some guy rated under 1000 and in every game he played every move instantly and always ended up with over 8 minutes left on his clock. (The games were 8 minutes with a 5 second increment.) Funny thing was he wasn’t a bad player but because he never stopped to think he blundered all over the place as soon as things got even a little complicated.

Against an opponent rated in the mid-1600’s I reached the following position after 23.d5.

It’s not hard to see my position is pretty gloomy; all the chances lie with Black. My Q opposite his R was cause for concern. It doesn’t take much thought to see 23...Bxf4 is a pretty good move. It gets a little complicated after 24.Bxf4 Qe6 but Black stands a tad better.

But after I played 23.d5 Black, with a lot of time on his clock, replied instantly with 23...Ne4? I’m positive all he saw was the threat to capture the B and fork my Q and R. He overlooked that after 24.dxe5 his own Q was attacked. Then he immediately played 24...Nxd2?? [After 24...Rxe5 25.Be3 g5 26.Qg4 Nf6 27.Qe2 gxf4 28.Rxf4 Rfe8 29.Rf3 the game is slightly in White’s favor. So after 25.exd6 Nxf3 26.Rxf3 he was a piece down and resigned in a few moves.

I know what happened. He thought he saw an immediate win so played it without even thinking. I’ll bet he didn’t even consider any moves for me.

Amateur thinking usually runs along the lines of, “If I play this, he will play that.” and so on. Unfortunately “this” is often what he wants to play and “that” is a move for his opponent that cooperates with the “plan.” Masters usually falsify their hypothesis. By that I mean they think, “If I play this, what can he do to refute it?”

The moral of the story is to think before you move. The old adage of if you see a good move, look for a better one would have gone a long way in keeping my opponent from blowing this game in a matter of two moves.

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