Nothing to lose

I want to continue my Rob Deer / favorite losses series of chess posts. However, I can’t seem to find the score I’m looking for – a loss to John Kirby in which I played a piece sacrifice that literally caused one spectator’s jaw to drop open in surprise. (Unfortunately, obviously, the sacrifice didn’t work.)

Fear of losing is a real killer in chess. Freedom from fear is a big factor in creativity and, ultimately, in achieving good results. When you’re the statistical underdog by a huge margin, that tends to provide just that sort of freedom. After all, if I lose to an IM, who’s surprised?

Slater (1989) – IM Foygel (2489), Metrowest Chess Club 20051.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 d6 5.h3 Nd7 6.Be2 Qc7 7.0-0 Ngf6 8.a4 a5 9.Re1 0-0 10.Be3 Rd8 11.Qd2 e5 12.Rad1 exd4 13.Bxd4 Nf8foygel.gif
White is going to sacrifice a couple of pawns here in exchange for a very active rook on Black’s back rank. And some vague threats against f8 and f7. I should note here that Igor has beaten me in 9 rated games, many of them quite ugly thrashings. Why not swing for the fences? As I noted earlier, every once in a while Rob hit one out. In this case I am luckily aided by an apparent oversight – I think Igor simply overlooked 21.Bd3.
14.e5 dxe5 15.Bxe5 Rxd2 16.Bxc7 Rxc2 17.Rd8 Rxb2 18.Ne5 Rc2 19.Nb1 Nd5 20.Bd6 b5 21.Bd3 Rb2 22.Nxc6 Bb7 23.Rxa8 Bxa8 24.Bxb5 Ne6 25.Rd1 Bxc6 26.Bxc6 Nb4 27.Bb5 Bd4 28.Nd2 Nd5 29.Ne4 Nc3 1/2-1/2.
Even here, if he played on it’s likely that he would end up crushing me. But we were both short on time and he perhaps decided to avoid potential accidents, since I have the two bishops.


6 thoughts on “Nothing to lose

  1. sometimes i play without fear of losing, and then i lose, and i realize i really didn’t want to lose and i suck. this makes it difficult to play the next game without fear of losing…

  2. Aha, but this is the big mental trick. People say they play defensively or passively “because I didn’t want to lose.” And yet they lose anyway! So playing defensively doesn’t help!
    As I said during North Carolina’s dark years in basketball – if you’re going to stink either way, you might as well be interesting to watch. (That was my argument for starting Brian Morrison, who was wildly erratic but also the only exciting player on the team.)

  3. yeah, good philosophy. i’m gonna lose anyway, might as well go out with a flash and a bang and look good losing…

  4. CL, I don’t get the impression that you play scared much!

    Sometimes fear of losing has caused me to play passively. Once I sent a game score (a draw with Al Ward, 1850ish) to Tim Newman and simply commented that none of my pieces had gone past the fourth rank. Such a clear observation of tentative play on my part. On the other hand, more often it causes me to race. Instead of playing …b6 and getting developed, I rush in with the immediate …b5 and it destablizes my position too quickly. Guess hyperactive play can be a manifestation of fear too. Just try to play good moves, Derek! :)

  5. hi Derek, nice game and congratulations for the draw… It is hard to draw with IMs (I only have one in my pocket).

    BTW I answered your interesting comment about the variation with Qc7, please check it out!


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