A New Junction

A New Junction

Hikaru Junction

A New Junction

Hello readers,

Last time around I went in hard on the introduction. This week I’ll only mention that one of my favorite tournaments, the London Chess Classic, is currently being played, and you should check it out. The format is a knockout this year, unfortunately, but games between Caruana, Nakamura, Karjakin, Aronian (at least, from three of them) aren’t ones you’ll want to miss.

With that housekeeping completed, let’s dive into what you’re (presumably) here to see: the games from the second day of the tournament weekend. (The first day’s, you ask? Blog Post 404 Look no further.)

Orion LE (1713) – Craig B Roll (2257) MCC Open



After this game, where I had a winning position, I was determined to lock it down in the next one. Suffice it to say that that didn’t happen quite to the degree I wanted it to.

Noah Gillston (1413) – Orion LE (1713) MCC Open



Why is it so difficult for me, and for many of us, to play lower-rated opponents? I, at least, often feel that I play down to the level of my opponent despite my attempts to use my usual game, and I think it has to do with the idea that there’s somehow a safety net, if that makes sense. I think it’s the knowledge that even normally catastrophic, stupid mistakes have the possibility to be compensated for, and handed back in turn. I’m nervous, sure, but that’s because it’s a chess game; I don’t feel the same sense of danger. And that’s how, playing down, I win a blunder-ridden game, and, playing up, I lose a better position through a sophisticated trick. My theory, anyway.

There are two thoughts here that I think are interesting to me. I use the first to attempt to correct this mindset: for many of my opponents, I am the lower-rated player. The situation is reversed, and they, maybe, feel the same way that I might about my supposedly weaker opponents. I pose a threat to those I play, and my opponents always pose a threat to me. There’s no excuse to not catch a simple recapture.

Secondly, I think there are mixed reactions to playing someone lower-rated: there’s the feeling of overconfidence, and there’s the feeling of fear: that you might lose rating points if you’re caught by surprise. I think the above game was the latter, mostly. I was scared out of even considering the recapture, I was scared to transition into a won endgame– mostly, I recoiled at the sight of things that looked unpleasant, rather than conducting any real evaluation.

With the above game characterized almost entirely by my cowardice, I thought that I should attack more in the next. (I’m not fooling anyone; I would have played the same moves, the same way, but it’s somewhat comforting to be able to go back and insert some kind of narrative, even if it’s disjointed.)

Orion LE (1713) – Jed Sloan (1896) MCC Open



Looking up, then, and let’s finish up this tournament, just as I did (after a rather late lunch.)

Nicholas Stevenson (1901) – Orion LE (1713) MCC Open



2.5/4, a score I’m happy with, though the play was certainly imperfect. Normal service will resume next post. In the meantime, have a nice day, and maybe post about it in Thread 179564

Best,
Orion Lehoczky Escobar

Posted to Hikaru Junction

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