Since I want to play more long time control games, I decided to participate in season 31 of the Lichess LoneWolf league. This is an 11 round swiss tournament held on Lichess where you play one 30+30 game per week. This is obviously way shorter than a 90+30 OTB game, but I still think that it is long enough to be very beneficial for chess improvement.
My biggest problem playing in previous seasons was that I often got too distracted playing online. Once I thought that I was much better or much worse, I felt that the game is practically over and started doing other things which often lead to messing up winning positions or not giving as much resistance as possible. In order to prevent this, I decided to write about every game so that I'm held accountable for the games. In this post, I show my first two games, I hope you will enjoy them and find my comments instructive.
I didn't have much time to prepare for the first round so I only quickly checked what my opponent usually plays against 1.e4. In the end, they played something different so I was quite happy that I didn't waste any time on preparing irrelevant lines
I didn't know any theory in the opening and I started to play way too quickly considering this. Black could have put pressure on white with 11...f5. Luckily for me, they didn't attack my king as directly and I was soon back into the game. They ended up blundering a pawn and then sacrificing a lot of material for an attack which wasn't really there.
- Take more time in the opening and think deeply about the position
- Look at your opponent's plans before starting a longer manoeuvre
I prepared quite a bit for my round 2 game as black. I saw that my opponent played the 6.Rg1 line against the Najdorf and since I had little experience in that line, I looked into it in some depth. Since the line is pretty forcing, I got the prep up to move 12 on the board when white played 13.c3 instead of 13.O-O-O. The game took on a different character afterwards but I still think that looking into some possible plans after 13.O-O-O helped me during the game.
The game was very tough since I felt that white had a lasting advantage in the middle game and the endgame felt pretty shaky at first. But I managed to play very well in the bishop ending (even with only 3 minutes on the clock) and equalised the position. In the end, I got a bit lucky that white missed my threat of 30...Bxb4 which gave me a decisive advantage.
- When preparing, look at reasonable alternatives for your opponent and get a feeling for the resulting positions
- Don't be too afraid to push pawns in front of your king (20...a5!) especially when other options look bleak
- Always be alert and create problems for your opponent