Friday, January 24, 2014

A Blogger Goes Chessing in Hampstead: BORP? XXVI

4 g2-g4

Menadue - JMGB, Penarth 2012
Jaunooby - JMGB, Hampstead 2013

Analyse your games.

Everybody knows that you're supposed to do it. Gormally devotes an entire section of Improve Your Practical Play to an investigation of how he came to lose against Martin Brown at the Sheffield 2011 British Championships. Nobody actually does it, though, do they? Well Matt Fletcher does - see Learn from the Amateurs - but nobody else.

Or is it just me who's a lazy arse?

Either way, when 4 g4 turned up on my board at Hampstead last year I was no better prepared to respond that when I'd first faced it in Penarth more than a year earlier.

Menadue - Bryant, Penarth 2012 is - as far as I'm aware - my only ever published game. It appeared in both CHESS and the BCM and I think it cropped up in one of Gary Lane's columns on Chesscafe too. It's even on, albeit recorded as a loss for John Daniel Bryant rather than for me. Given that he's a 2400 IM I doubt he'd be overly pleased to know that this monstrosity has been attributed to him.

White to play and whomp a blogger

So there you have it. My only published game a 12-move loss. Actually it should have been nine. The only reason why I didn't resign after White played the killing blow in the diagram above was that a couple of rounds earlier I'd thrown in the towel when not actually losing against a GM and had started the tournament by notching a point when my opponent resigned a king and pawn ending when he had a cast iron draw. I wanted to make absolutely sure this game.

Anyhoo, I got spectacularly mashed, and my response to this was ... what? To declare that it would never happen to me again. To thoroughly explore this messy variation and work out exactly how to play against it? To pay a good deal more attention to all those sharp sidelines that you can get in the Dutch?

Well, no.

I do remember having a cursory glance at what passes for the theory of this line. I found something that mentioned Pert suggesting ... b6 and ... Bb7 might be a good idea since White has weakened the h1-a8 diagonal and I discovered somebody or other recommending a Stonewall set up. That was pretty much it, though.

So when Jaunooby punted the variation against me in Hampstead not only could I not remember how I should proceed, I couldn't even recall how my game at Penarth had gone. Other than it had ended with me getting a comprehensive stuffing, I mean.

And that after my most humiliating chessboard experiences ever. If I wasn't going to do it then, when was I going to do it? Analyse my games? The very thought.

Hard at it

Am I alone?

I can't be arsed either

I look at every one, honest guv.  Dedication's what you need.

BORP? Index


Anonymous said...

It might be worth the respective difference in our grades or ratings, but I would very much avoid if possible losing the same game twice. In the case of that line of the Dutch, a few minutes research with a database uncovers stonewalling it with d5 as a alternative and probably better idea to taking the pawn. It also shows that Menadue had played it before. Events like Penarth will make it to the databases, therefore players looking for information on their next opponent will find it. You know the gambit is on its way when they play h3, so avoidance is possible with the right move order. The Dutch is vulnerable to obscure ideas trying to smash it up, so anyone playing it has to know defences.


ejh said...

Events like Penarth will make it to the databases

Although do they have Rudd-Horton? (I ask because the tournament site only seemed to have rounds 1-8 in pgn when I last saw. This isn't important - I just don't have access to a database, being old-fashioned and technologically-illiterate, so I just wondered.)

Anonymous said...

Penarth 2013 including round 9 made it to TWIC 977, so it will spread from there.


Martin Smith said...

FWIW I punted the h3, g4 line last season in a Croydon League match. He took twice on g4 and I very much enjoyed the crunch that followed (I played an early e4).
I have recently been pushing the bits around on my pocket set in what I pretend to myself is proper "analysis" and have been wondering about 1.d4 e6 2. Nf3 f5 3. h3 c5!? as an antidote to White's slow start.

Anonymous said...

Re 3 .. c5, it's been tried a couple of times without success, but that doesn't make it unplayable.

The first recorded sighting of the h3, g4 idea in the exact position featured appears to be in a game between Colin Crouch and John Cox, back in 1984. Mark Hebden gave it a punt as well around five years later.


Anonymous said...

It was also the prize puzzle in Rd 1 of the British 2012 and features as such on p.27 of the Championship Bulletin. As far as I can see you remain unnamed, and no solution is given.


John Cox said...

Good grief, really? Did I win?!

Anyway, it's a ridiculous move, of course, and so is 4...fxg4 if that's what JB played. 4...d5 must be the answer - it always is to g4 ideas in the Dutch. What did I play? Don't tell me - 4...fxg4?

John Cox said...

Impressive not resigning after 9 Qg6+, as well. I always find in such circumstances the best thing is to get the hell out of there as soon as possible, although the alternative approach of chugging on until move 40 a piece down in the hope that those trawling the games for publishables will miss you is also popular, of course.

Anonymous said...

To see the Cox game goto

and type Crouch-Cox in the search box. Black played 4. ..d5 and won in 56 moves. White's fifth move was Rg1.

It was played in the Phillips & Drew Knights according to ChessBase.


Jonathan B said...

The Dutch is vulnerable to obscure ideas trying to smash it up, so anyone playing it has to know defences.

Indeed so, although it's hard to be ready for everything that White might do. I got 1 d4 e6, 2 c4 f5, 3 g4 at Golders Green last weekend.

Jonathan B said...

Jeremy (Menadue) told me that h3 and g4 was a bit of a pet line of his after the game. And we were staying at the same smallish hotel so I got to see him every day at breakfast.

I did indeed play 4 ... fxg4 and a later ... d5 in the Penarth game. At Golders Green I played 4 ... d5 when White went 5 Bf4. This game turned into my first ever win against an opponent graded over 200.

Jonathan B said...

does anybody analyse their games? In depth, I mean, rather than a cursory glance at the opening?

Anonymous said...

About analysing games, I use an approach of looking for the turning points by asking for engine evaluations of what I perceive to be critical positions. What this can show is that your or your opponent's impressive positional masterpiece worked only because someone missed a tactical shot right at the end. Also it can show you where you or your opponent missed an important idea. You have to be cautious with the computer evaluations if using them to prepare lines for a future game, as it will sometimes give you a verdict of near equality in a position difficult to play in practice.


Matt Fletcher said...

I quite enjoy doing a little bit of analysis on my games (whether or not they make the blog - I haven't put anything up for a bit for various reasons but will do again shortly, thanks for the nudge).

One of my aims (similar to RdC) is to see if my intuition in the game was right - eg whether the move I spent 10 minutes on did seem to be a key moment or whether I was wasting my time and any sensible move would have given the same result.

Don't know whether it helps my results much though.

Anonymous said...

If you can build up a local reputation as someone who studies things it can help distort how your perpetual opponents play. I've had several opponents who have avoided playing their normal openings on the grounds that I "knew" them. So they've played something off-beat and suspect. If you can work them out, that's a potential disaster for them.


Anonymous said...

Fun line.


an ordinary chessplayer said...

When I was good, I actually did study my games. I also studied games of likely opponents. These days though I have a growing wad of scoresheets that haven't even made it into my personal database.

"If you can build up a local reputation as someone who studies things..."

Even good players can be bluffed like this. Offhand I can recall two games against strong masters where I varied from my usual opening, when they became suspicious and avoided their usual line. In each case I only learned what was their line in the post-mortem! I'm a terrible poker player but I did my best to give the impression I had in fact been ready for that very thing.

As for the building reputation part, in the club setting you should make it a point to bring up last week's games. A simple question like "In your game against so-and-so, what happens if ...?" makes it clear that you have looked at the game, without revealing precisely how deeply you have looked at it. Bonus points if the player failed to analyze his own game, now the paranoia sets in that you know his games better than he does.