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  • James Neal

My Atypical Win over the London

There were many unfortunate circumstances last week...

I participated in my first tournament since I was giving the unexpected news someone close to me had passed. I withdrew from the Saturday quick event due to my emotional state. It is terrible when someone close to you dies but death is a fact of life. It is best to appreciate the memories you made with that person rather than be depressed. Who knows what fate has for us after death or before?


We must appreciate the now and live for the moments.


It was the second week of the 5-round monthly tournament at the Denver Chess Club. I was paired against Alexander Steger (2000ish) with black for the second round. I played him before, with white, but this time he would have the pleasure of making the first move.


My appraisal of Steger was a strong player susceptible to serious time trouble.

Our first critical position and my first uncharacteristic plan.

I decided to play pawn-h5 after he developed his rook to the c-file. I was thinking the easier path would have been challenging that c-file with one of my rooks. It was then that the move h5 occurred to me with the potential of trapping his bishop. I might say my uncharacteristic decision was more of an unnecessary complication since I was up a healthy pawn with a great position. There was the idea of potentially putting him away with my combination but it was more my inability to be thorough with my calculations. Had I seen Rc4 I would have gone for the simpler path in Rac8. My adjustment will be taking my confirmation bias more seriously.


[Line: gxh2, kh1, nf5, bxf5, exf5, rxa4…]

After he played Rc4, I stalled for about 20 minutes contemplating whether I should go for the perpetual option or pursue an inferior line that would keep the game rolling. I decided to pursue the inferior line based largely on his time control. He had 6 minutes remaining and it took him about 20 moves to go from 70 minutes to 6 minutes. He would have the advantage but, at the rate he was playing, I thought he would run out of time before he could build it. My strategy would blow up in my face if he were a great blitzer.

My call proved to be correct and the game ended with me revealing a discovery attack on his queen (he overlooked) resulting in him losing 9 points with no compensation.


The game went my way but I will try to avoid making those type of gambles in the future. The best adjustment I can make is slowing down when I reach critical positions. If the calculations are too vast, it might be better for me to settle for an alternative that ensures me a clear advantage.

Leave the gambling at the casinos.

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