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Saturday, November 17, 2012

I just want them to be over!

…my LSS correspondence games, that is.  When I returned to correspondence chess in 2004 I played on IECG (without realizing they allowed engine use!) which eventually became LSS. To date I’ve played 120 games there with a +29 -28 =63 record. Unfortunately I am not strong enough to uncover engine weaknesses, my piddling dual core laptop is not up to the task of competing with heavyweight desktop computers and I do not care to rent computer time on the chess clouds, so I am reduced to letting several engines examine the position and then trying to guess which one is offering the best recommendation.  As my record shows, this method has not been especially successful.  In other words, my being reduced to playing a move an engine tells me is best has become pretty boring and there is no challenge.  That was not the case back in the days of Fritz 5.32 because sometimes you could outplay it!
        Another factor is time.  This latest CC tournament is played at the rate of 40 days per 10 moves with 45 days per year of vacation time allowed.  For me this is frustratingly slow; one opponent has already used three weeks of his vacation time and the wait between moves is much more than I care to endure.  One or two opponents move every couple of days, but most don’t.
       Short version…this form of chess has become boring and frustrating.  I’ve been keeping an eye on Queen Alice and it seems they have resolved their server crash problem, so I may return to playing there. So far I have run into very few engine users on QA.
       Interesting fact:  Queen Alice’s top rated player is somebody named “Pierre Bergman.”  A few years back I received a challenge from him and when I asked why he challenged me his comment was, “I like Americans.” That probably puts him in the minority of people in the world, but since we didn’t have any personal chats during the game, it seems a rather pointless reason.  He did ask me at one point if I was a certain well-known CC player; I am not.  Bergman’s QA rating is currently 4336, down from a high of over 4500!  He has a record of +5074 -89 =373; that’s 5536 games played since he joined in 2004 which is nearly 700 games a year. I think he has similar results on a German CC site.  How’d my games against this chessplaying wizard go?

In this position I am White and it arose from a Torre Attack:

I thought I had some drawing chances despite Black’s advantage (extra P, but they are all on the same side), 2Bs and better piece placement.  Houdini informs me Black is winning by nearly 2Ps.  24.Qe4? Thinking the trade of Qs would be to my advantage. Either 24.Rbd1 or 24.g3 would have held out longer. 24...Qxe4 25.Bxe4 Bc4 26.Rfd1 f5! (I overlooked this) 27.Rbc1 Bb3 Resigns I am going to lose material.

As Black in a King’s Gambit Declined, we reached this position:

Clearly White stands better here and his next move pretty much establishes the win for him: 24.d6!  The game continued: 24…cxd6 25.exd6 Nc6

And now with me tied down to preventing the advance of his d-Pawn plus not having any space, White commenced an attack against my K. However, I did manage to generate a “counterattack” of sorts and we eventually reached this position:

      Now realizing I was running out of checks and once that happened, he was free to finish me off with a K-side attack, I resigned.  His immediate threat is, of course, mate in two by playing 34,Rxh6, so the only way to stop that is to play 33…f6 but then he demolishes my K-position with 34.Nxg7 and there is no defense.
       So, who is this Pierre Bergman with a rating 2000 points higher than mine and a 95 percent success rate on Queen Alice?  Don’t know…don’t care.  With or without my 2300 QA rating, coffee still cost me 1 dollar a cup at McDonald’s and I suppose it’s about the same for him in England or wherever he is from.

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