“He who analyses blitz is stupid”
GM Rashid Nezhmetdinov
This year’s edition of Canadian Youth Chess Championship (CYCC) took place online at Lichess. The format was unusual and consisted of 7 rapid games (15 minutes + 10 seconds increment), all played on Saturday, July 3rd. While the format attracted a higher than usual number of players, the quality of play suffered. I was happy to see 4 current students and a few former students decided to play. Out of them all, the one with the most chances to score a good result was Zhengyu Chen in the under 10 group. His group was by far the most popular with 89 players participating.
A reflection time of 15+10 is not exactly blitz. This means a few aspects are still important to monitor and consider for future improvement. I agree with GM Nezhmetdinov’s opinion about blitz. This is why instead of delving into the analysis of the games played by my students, I looked into more general aspects such as: opening play, tactics, pattern creation and identification, positional play plus endgames knowledge. They were all present in their games on one or both sides of the chessboard.
Anyone choosing the advance variation when facing the French defence should know they need to take care of the b2-pawn. It is as simple as that. You cannot just choose to play it and say that you will figure it out over the board. The chess databases are littered with too many games like the one below:
Attacking the King
This is always the strongest plan you can choose in any position. It also grows in importance as the reflection time decreases. I have been embarrassed more times than I would like to admit and can tell from experience how the defender feels. It is like a dark hole attracting you into it. You want to find the correct defensive play and cannot. What is left for posterity is similar with below end of the game. White still ended in the top half of the standings:
Play the same regardless of the opposition
It is human nature to underestimate, as well as overestimate your opposition. It took me many years of fighting with myself to play in general the same way versus any kind of opposition. Yes, you prepare more careful against the stronger ones; still all preparation means nothing if for some inexplicable reason you play dubious moves.
My student has prepared the Scotch versus the top players and after 3 wins from 3 games, a top player was on the menu. Play them strong and you stand a chance. Never think about experimenting because you think you will lose anyway. How do you know if you could stand a chance if you do not put yourself in that position? This opponent finished 6th and had a chance at the podium.
To be continued…