Some games really feel like they’ve gotten away from you and you’re only just barely hanging in there, y’know?
So our opponents tonight for Round 2 of the Bodley were Bray/Greystones, whose player panel wasn’t up before the match but is up now and as you can see from the ratings, they’re an interesting match to us with a bit more strength at the top boards and a little less on the bottom, but overall it looked even.
I got paired with Vincent Denard, a lovely gent who, at ninety-one years of age, proceeded to wipe the board with me for half the game and anytime I even blinked, I got a chesspiece put somewhere most uncomfortable. This is the thing with ratings in the Bodley – they’re not that stable so they’re at best a rough guideline, and at worse a deceptive trap. Allegedly, Vincent’s 17 points below me. In practice, that’s a load of twaddle and I was in trouble right from the start.
I got absolutely mangled in the opening, and was lucky to get away with just being a pawn down with my queenside in disarray and having lost the bishop pair and castling by the time it was over – and the only game I could find in the records that had that pattern in the opening was Huesemann v Schulz, in round 3 of BEM-ch U16/18, 1998 (and only 365chess.com’s opening explorer found that one for me, none of my opening books had our line after move 4, including the MCO!) and that game was lost by black in 15 moves, so it really was luck; if Vincent had played Bd6+, it would have completely destroyed my game instead of mauling it badly and I probably would have had to resign before move 20.
Two tactics presented themselves in the middle game, mostly by luck, but I was able to spot them and hang on through them, and got to an endgame a piece up; a piece I immediately hung but we didn’t notice that until literally a second after Vincent had released his rook after missing the pin. That was the motif for the entire game – I kept making mistakes or missing better moves, but in between was playing reasonably well; but whenever Vincent saw my mistakes, I was toast. The analysis graph shows that rather clearly:
In fact the endgame was horribly scraggly, with no plan for the first half of it. I’ve been spending more time on chessendgames.com of late, and some of that is starting to pay off, but my endgames are still hairy affairs and need a lot more work. Silman and I have much time to spend together in the future I think.
The game was also very even on time – I don’t think there was ever more then five or ten minutes between our clocks at the end of a move, and by the time we finished we’d used all but fifteen minutes or so of our three hours:
Overall the team did fairly well, winning 3.5 to 1.5, which should at least get us up off the floor of the league tables…
edit: The team report is now up on the St.Benildus website here.