The Rat Simul

I hope everybody enjoyed The Rat simultaneous exhibition the other day. I certainly did. It is a little known opening that is super-easy to play. All the moves are thematic and take little thinking time in the early stages of the game. As everyone can clearly see, The Rat is a forced win by Black from move 4! If you look at the statistics it shows that it might be the strongest defence for Black there is! Black wins 54% of the time, White only 10%!

In the simul, I had 3 wins and 6 losses. Most of the games were won positions but there wasn’t enough time allocated to me! I will cover that below. Given an extra 30 minutes, I think I would have had 5 wins, 2 draws. The game against HLS20 seemed level, until I got very low on time. I had a tough game against Markapp74, where I also blundered a complete rook due to having to move instantly!

When you’ve never played in a simul before, you don’t know what to expect. So I have a few takeaways from what happened.

Firstly, it seems impossible to manage your time. You have no idea how much time you have left because you cannot estimate when the games will finish. I just tried to move as fast as I could, which was obviously not fast enough!!

Secondly, it takes a while to get into the swing of things when the games first start. But as each game progresses, you get used to quickly locking back into the new positions again.

Lastly, 60 minutes + 3 second increment is not enough time when you have 9 opponents. It means you have roughly 8 minutes thinking time per game, if each game lasts roughly 35 moves. But you have no thinking time during your opponent’s turn. So, your opponent has roughly 6.5 minutes thinking time on their clock, but 72 minutes during your time.

That makes it…

8 minutes thinking time for you during your move + 0 minutes during your opponent’s time vs 6.5 minutes thinking time on their clock + 72 minutes during your thinking time

Or more simply, 8 minutes vs 78.5 minutes.

To give a sample position from one of the games, here is one verses David on move 21. David played 21. fxe5. Can you spot Blacks reply, which should get a brilliancy prize in any tournament?

If anyone is interested, I am happy to do another simul with a rare but underrated opening, this time for White: The Barnes Opening. The moves are: 1.f3 Any move for Black, 2. Kf2. I’ve been having some fun playing this in some blitz games, and trolling your opponents is so much fun!

Jon Lawrance