In “Himmelhoch jauchzend, zum Tode betrübt” – Part I, I discussed my game against Ewoud de Grootte.
I will now discuss the other game. It is a similar situation where this time I myself was on the wrong side of the GSL equation. I was for the first time that I had to play a serious game against Robin. And whether I’m playing chess for my pleasure or not, I felt a strong pressure, some kind of obligation to to win. Of course, Robin has already come a long way and today he is undoubtedly a stronger chess player, but then it was just not the time to lose… Indeed, what applied to Ewoud, also applied to me: the favorite, 200 more elo points and there had been some occasions where I had analyzed with Robin giving him tips etc. You understand my GSL was no longer optimal because of this reasoning and poor self-coaching.
(48) Moes, W – Van Kampen, R [B84] B.S.V. Internal club competition, 04.11.2005
Played after a long thought. I MUST OBTAIN AN OPENING ADVANTAGE. BUT HOW TO DO THAT IN THIS CASE? Some friendly coaching right? I think I will fire myself. Anyway, the first signal of dysfunctional cognitive functions. I took me the whole evening to discover with the help of Pascal that 8.Bf3! is the move called for. Can you imagine, I had played this position before and had studied it with the help of the computer. Ok, I’m getting a little older and am allowed to forget things, but I found it typical…
8 … b4
Also Robin thought for a long time. 9 … Nxe4 leads to a more or less equal game. Now White can get a grip again.
During training sessions I sometimes explain that in the Sicilian Black can often equalize if he manages to play d6-d5. 10.Nf3 was called for to keep pressure on e5.
10 … Nc6?!
10 … d5!
This move took me about 20 (!) minutes. Imagine that I would make a mistake! Stronger was 11.Bc4. Of course, I had looked at that move also, only to find out (after 5 minutes of puzzling) that I am not threatening Bxf7+ followed by Dd5 + because Nf6 defends d5, haha. Who is still speaking of cognitive functions?
11 … Be6
This move surprised me (!). I had reckoned with Bb7. I started to feel annoyed and was sorry that I had not played 11.Bc4. But I manage to say to myself that 11.Bg5 was also decent and that I was still a bit better.
A careless move by Robin, not taking into account White’s possibilities. 12 … d5! was still a good possibility. I felt slightly encouraged because I realized that I should obtain the advantage now. BUT THAT SHOULD HAPPEN IN A CORRECT WAY. JUST IMAGINE THAT I WOULD DO IT SUBOPTIMALLY.
Here again I thought for about 20 minutes, a direct consequence of the perfectionism that I had imposed on myself at the beginning of the game. The text move “aims” at not being bothered by Qb6 after Lxa6 and also eliminates Blacks’ only black chance (Nf6xe4).
13 … gxf6 14.Bxa6 ± is favorable for white anyway, haha.
Yet again I invested a minute or even 10 to check the following variation.
The losing move. Black should have tried 14 … bxc3 15.Bb5 cxb2 16.Rb1 ±, even if it is not pleasant.
This was not necessary, but it is clear that Black is sick and tired of the white bishop. More a psychological and impulsive decision than a technical one, but the thing is that objectivity no longer matters, White is clearly winning in any case.
OK, we play a few more moves. I only need to direct my knight to good squares. You see, everything is still under control. Mission succeeded!
Again, I thought for about 5 minutes. You understand, the clock suddenly (?) began to play un unwelcome role. But what heck, I am often in time trouble and I am up a position.
And White gains a tempo.
19 … Bg4
In time trouble I’m starting to play shaky moves. I had anticipated Robin’s resignation for an number of moves now, but it still hadn’t occurred. 21.Ra8+ is a simple win.
21 … h5?!!
By far the best move of the game. A question mark for the objective value of the move and two exclamation marks for the effect it had on my GSL. Without this move Robin most would have lost the game. After the game he said: “Yes, it seemed useful to me to give you a little more food for thought in your time trouble”. Well that worked. I had only reckoned with Bh5. Did Robin know that my zodiac is Taurus? Well, it worked like a red rag to me and my GSL.
I decided here to stick to my original plan. 22.b6 wins.
22 … Kxe7
23.Ra7 + Kf6
… But could not resist the temptation and took another path. 24.Qxd6 Bxh3? 25.Qe7 would have been mate… It was this last little move that I had missed! My cognitive functions had already resigned at the beginning of the game…
24 … hxg4
There was no need for this move, but I was getting so sick and tired of this game that I wanted to force the issue and in the process lose my head. ” 25.Qxd6 is good.
25 … exf4
26.e5 +! dxe5
27.Qxg6 + Kxg6
28 … g3 +
Oh wait a minute, I can’t go to f3 because of Ng5 + …
29 … Rh2
30.b6 How often could I have won with this move?
30 … Ng5
Twenty years of chess experience did not prevent me from unnecessarily giving away a lot of material. But the win is still within reach, so large the margin is. 33.gxf3 was best.
33 … exf3
And those same 20 years experience were not enough to remember how a knight jumps and can deilver a deadly double attack… But heck, that experience was had long been on a holiday during this game. 34.Kd2 still wins.
34 … Nxf3 +
After the 35th move, I had plenty of time to consider the mess I was in. I’ve really given away everything. I decided that 36.b7 was the toughest move. I had only taken into account 36 … Th8. Would you believe that I was completely surprised by the text move was? You understand: high time to put an end to this grueling game and congratulate Robin on his victory.
0-1Afterwards I felt shaken. Like Ewoud I probably should have gone for a stroll. Yet I analyzed with Robin, but there nothing useful was coming out of my hands. In summary I come to the conclusion that this game had been lost on psychological / physiological grounds. I think it had not much to do with chess understanding. Also Robin was probably stressed about the fact that he had to play me and played perhaps a bit below his then level. But he said afterwards: “Geez, I have been very lucky!” Perhaps, but then in part. In any case I would like to a major compliment for his 21st move. I rarely come across a youngster that plays such a move for the reason that he played it for and really puts his opponent under pressure. I predict an interesting chess career for him.
The two games discussed above may or may not (in varying degrees) have to do with chess understanding, they do have to do with chess! The psychology is an essential part of the struggle that characterizes a chess match, and the extent to which we find ourselves under pressure to perform is of great importance for the functioning of our cognitive functions. Also the extent to which we feel fit when we appear at the board is of great importance. The fitter, the smaller the chance of bad self-coaching. Therefore, the above examples are explanatory and not apologizing. A chess player himself remains solely responsible for the condition and state of mind in which he or sheis playing chess. A pity that I have no passion for physical sport, well except for badminton that is… What about you?