The Corus tournament is always the main event we look forward to.
Every year we go with 10-15 men from our club to Wijk aan Zee.
The whole village breathes chess. The last few hundred meters you have to drive careful because chessplayers jump before your car, deep in thoughts.
Playing with 700 persons in one hall is a hard to describe experience.
The athmosphere seems to exhale chess vibes and the smell of pea soup.
If you go to the bathroom you fall in a discussion about the advantages of bishop a6.
Before the first game there is a lot of handshaking to all those old opponents you played in previous years. You play with 10 persons of the same level in a 9 round robin. Playing nine days in the same group develops chess bonds between persons that last ever since.
After the game there is the "straffe Hendrik" and other strong beers and a lot of laughter. You are in a different world. It is really vacation.
I was with 1712 the lowest rated player in my group (1712-1795). Except for a lad who had 1626 and who was promoted last year. He managed to lose ALL his 9 games (!).
With 5 out of 9 and a TPR of 1770 (Tournament Performance Rating) I did a good job.
I will gain about 20 ratingpoints, and I'm rather satisfied.
About the games.
I was very keen this year to know what costed me points. So I have allready a clear picture of what happened.
The wins are very clear. I overplayed the opponents tactically.
The losses are also clear. In one game I had 3 tactical oversights in a row and my position collapsed. In the other game I first blundered a knight away. Allthough I was still better (!) I oversaw a mate in one against my king a few minutes later.
Blunders come in waves.
So what about the draws?
I have never been in real time trouble.
This is the list of sacrifes in my games:
I didn't lose a single point due to a sacrifice.
So I would say that I'm able to enhance my play with sacrifices without bad repercussions. Have a look at the article of GM Aviv Friedman about amateurs who should make more sacrifices as common practice.
The sacrifices gave me the initiative and an attack. No matter if I have black or white.
During plan A all chances are for me.
Plan A is "hunt down the king".
But in 4 cases I didn't manage to bring plan A to a good end.
In these cases I had to step over to plan B.
The moment an attack dries out, there is almost always the possibility to convert the initiative and get back the invested pawns and such.
But I have no plan B!
Plan B should be the liquidation to a favourable endgame.
Since I have no idea which endgames are favourable I liquidate to a drawish (or any. . .) endgame. Hence the 4 draws. Ok, of course I know the common rules of isolated pawns, pawn islands etc., but I have no idea in what direction to steer. Should I keep a knight or a bishop? Do I have to trade rooks or should I avoid it?
So I try to steer towards a draw, being in fright and awe when my opponent still tries to win.
My conclusion for now is:
With endgame knowledge and skills I could have tried to get the 2 points I didn't get due to the 4 draws.
With more simple tactical skills I could avoid the oversights and blunders which costed me 2 points.
So I have to divide my time between 50% tactics and 50% endgame.
The method I use for tactical training (with flashcards, spaced repetition and visualisation) is equally suited for endgame training. And that is what I'm going to do.
I allready started this in the past, but my analysis of my bad performance at Whitsuntide put this in the fridge. Now it's time to pick it up again.
Most of my games were exciting. In this game I punish a materialistic Pirc player with a home made attack. A few sacrifices sealed the deal. I'm proud of it.
Beating a Grandmaster
5 hours ago