Saturday 18 August 2012

Modest performance in Gothenburg - generalities

SS Manhem´s chess week is over and what I feel right now is that I am totally exhausted.
First of all I want to say that I am very happy for invitation in this tournament and that organisers did tremendous job to provide players best possible conditions.
The big thanks to the SS Manhem.
The second thing is that I really need to say that all the players in the group showed big fighting spirit but simultaneously, atmosphere were very friendly and everyone were analysing games without slightness problem.
All in all, everything were perfect.

In the beginning of the tournament, Grandmasters did not showed what they can, so standings looked quite messy, and it was not possible to predict who will win the tournament.
The next lowest rated player FM Anton Frisk Kockum was in perfect form and he was leading the field after 2/3 of the tournament.
I started quite all right, when I drew with IM Daniel Semcesen (very soon on Chess & Life you will be able to read interview with him)  in the game in which advantage change sides many times. It was not the low quality game, but both players failed to find a way to keep advantage alive.
In the second round I played against the lowest rated player, Mats Welin, but I knew it from my experience that he will definitely take some points and I was very cautious.
I played very slow opening, and tried to outplayed him later. 
I succeeded in that but in the time trouble I misjudged one transposition in the endgame, which could lead to unclear play. Fortunately for me, he went for something else and soon was everything over.
In the third round I played against German player, IM Thomas Henrichs. What happened in that game is that I just mixed two variations in Tarrasch defence.
My position was beyond repair already after opening.
I can say that this is common thing when one player changed his openings.
The fourth round was a game against one of the best Swedish Grandmasters, Emanuel Berg, and it was very intense game.
He played for kings attack while my play was in the centre. I knew that my chances would be preferable if I survive the attack.
That happened, and I could force an endgame with a extra pawn. This was insufficient for the whole point because of reduced material. I think that this game was of very high quality. No obvious mistakes.
Then came the critical round for my whole result in Gothenburg. Before the fifth round I was in the middle of table and I took decision to try to go for more. After all I was just a point behind the leader.
I played black, against IM Victor Nithander, and I got quite promising position after the opening. He tried to fight back, but then I noticed that I can sacrifice a pawn for attack on his king. It was correct estimation and soon I got winning advantage.
What happened next is that I calculated one variation which was the most logical, and at the end I noticed that he can force a draw by rook sacrifice. I was dissatisfied with that and I went for more, just to get less. After the time control, I had very bad endgame, in which I played quite interesting, but at the end collapsed and lost the game.
What a disappointing result.
Not just that! After the game I quickly checked my game with a help of computer just to find out that his rook sacrifice was not sufficient for a draw. Black was completely winning.
Yes, that is it. I could not sleep well and on the next day it was double round with two best players in the group waiting for me. GM Tomi Nybäck and GM Eduardas Rozentalis.
I lost desire to play, and accumulated tiredness after Politiken Cup did some extra pressure on me.
However Tomi Nybäck did not play well in this tournament and I tried to not lose to him.
I played quite confidently and when he went for an endgame with a extra pawn, I decided to use my common weapon in order to save a day. The fortress!
All right, he soon realised that any winning attempt is just an losing attempt and we agreed for a draw.
In the seventh round I played black against Rozentalis, and I got very nice position with isolated pawn in the centre. I played well, and again had solid position which I should hold without problems.
In the time trouble I lost a thread and he went on to win a pawn, and later after some additional mistakes he won the game.
In the last two round I needed one point to make some plus in rating.
In the eight round I played against current Swedish Champion, Hans Tikkanen and went on to blunder a pawn after one minute of play!
I was very lucky to get a compensation for it, although Hans thought that I have a slightly less than full compensation.
He played well and forced the game in bishop endgame in which he had big winning chances, but in the move 39 he played the most obvious move, and I could win the game immediately!
I have to say that would not be deserved, but still I had my chance.
Of course I missed it, and lost quite easy.
In the last round, my opponent was Anton Frisk Kockum who needed just half a point for his second IM norm.
I decided not to stay in his way, and very early in the opening I offered him a draw and he of course accepted.
Anyway, he was in the good form and he would most probably make a draw without any problems.
So what numbers has to say!
I finished with 3 points when my expected score was 3,44 and that means that I underperformed by half a point, or if you want to calculate in rating means, than I lost 4,4 rating points.
Not that bad, especially considering this game against Victor Nithander.
I have to say that I already played 78 Elo rated games in this year, and that I am very tired of playing, but my plan was to play as much as possible in order to adopt my new openings very quickly. 
I think that I succeeded in that and also that my play stabilized during the summer, and that only this slightly underperformed tournament in Gothenburg is exception of nice performance during the summer (and if you read carefully my rapport than you could see some of the objective reasons behind that).
I have all reasons to be happy.
What is coming next is probably one quite well open tournament in Denmark, and some games in the leagues. Autumn is traditionally time for training in my calendar, and I have to do a lot of work.
Of course I have clear plan what to do and how to do it but I will write about that in some of my future posts.
In the next article I will publish many things what actually happened on the chess board in Gothenburg.
At the end, it would be fair to say something about other players.
Emanuel Berg and Eduardas Rozentalis shared the first place, and Hans Tikkanen and Thomas Henrichs shared the third place.
Nobody scored an GM norm, and Anton Frisk Kockum scored his second IM norm.
For the organisers I have only positive words and I hope that they will keep up their fantastic job.

For additional informations you can visit official website of organisers : SS Manhem 
, or you can visit fantastic blog of Lars Grahn : Inte bara schack

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