Round 3, I played a new kid.
Another cocky kid in Co. Springs, so what’s new? The Herman kids are the only holdouts, it seems (i.e., not cocky). Atharva seemed to think he was winning all along or something after the game. I said that I didn’t want to analyze, but he wanted to prove that he was winning at the end of the game, but it seemed that I was the one winning the postmortems or showing him his wins (even though it should be losing for White). I could give more than one example of something I didn’t like of his, but for example at the beginning of the game, before I made my first move I held my hand high above the board, looking at my clock to watch the five-second delay was set (only took a couple of seconds), when he says to me “You need to move!” This coming from someone who was 5 minutes late and didn’t want to look at me so I could start the clock until he got everything written down on his scorebook, despite the TD telling us repeatedly to start the clock.
So, what happened in the game? Basically, I took way too much time. Spent around 35 minutes on 9.Nd5+. I knew that I was going to play it for sure after 15 minutes, but then spent another 20 minutes before I played it. How could this possibly happen? Honestly, it was this really weird vibe that I had going on that I didn’t want anybody…ever…to criticize this move is what it seemed like to me. I had never played this kid before and was not nervous during the game, but I felt a pressure of expectations, as if I weren’t allowed to draw this kid. I wasn’t result-focused at all, was just trying to do my best to concentrate on the game. If this were at the Herman home, for example, I would have been fine, but because there were people who don’t play me that much walking around looking at my game, I think I had an attack of the “imaginary audience” – you can look it up, it’s a psychology term that almost exclusively applies to adolescents, but whatever. It’s not something that I wished upon myself, more like the opposite, it’s unwelcome but it can happen apparently. Definitely, one can’t be thinking about chess and thinking about something else like that at the same time, can’t serve two masters.
Actually, I think my opponent had something to with this as well because the whole game his whole aura was screaming at me “Oh my gosh, I am going to beat a Class A player!” In my time pressure, he was nervous but I wasn’t, and he was leaning over the board staring at me as if to say “You are going to lose on time, I am going to beat you!” And I was thinking “Yeah, so what, is anyone going to let me focus on actually playing the game?” I’m not 100% positive, but I do believe that he stopped recording moves when I got to 5 minutes, and I kept recording down to 20 seconds.
If I could use an analogy here and say that “I could win this game in my sleep” the opposite analogy would be “There’s no way I could avoid losing if I were to get too excited” There is definitely a different type of vibe to the Tuesday club, probably because it’s in an auditorium, where there is this chatter about winning/losing, opinions about the rules. At a restaurant or a home, there is more of a natural distraction, less of an over-focus on chess. At CSCC, I buy bottled water out of a vending machine, and Carl’s Jr is the only place that is close, is overpriced and closes at 10pm, so there is this exclusive focus on chess. Well, that’s my 2 cents about that, or 5 dollars I guess!
The part that I don’t like so much is that it’s like hey, I am there to have fun. If this were a tournament with money on the line, you could practically sit on my face and I wouldn’t be distracted from chess. I play well when the occasion is there. Problem is, the occasion is _always_ there, and someone always wants to take you down in chess, it’s a given. I like rated games because I know my opponent is trying his best, but I think it gets ridiculous when I can pick up on my opponent’s ego, when there is hardly anything more than pride on the line.
The clock was already affecting my play by move 15. No reason not to play 15.g4 here. I was relieved when he put his pawn down on ..f6 rather than ..f5. I was already playing hope-chess here on the clock, gambling that I could play 20.a3 without him responding with …f5, which is gambling, not chess, but it worked.
23. Bf2? In time pressure, I was only able to see two moves ahead and not three. Naturally, I was hoping he would play …NxBf2 there. The correct continuation should have been 23.Kc2 (threatening to play b4 because stopping the …Nd3 move now) …a4, 24.Bf2. Threatening BxNc5, and then to play Nd2-b1-c3 (I wanted to get this variation in during the game, but it was all a messy flow in my mind of which moves come first, unlike the feeling I have about it now or after the game).
Around move 33, I offered Atharva a draw and he refused because I had 4 seconds remaining. I figured that I would probably, almost surely win if this were increment, but I believe that I would flagged somewhere because it’s 5 second delay. I think I would have won with the 10 second delay they are discussing adding, but I figure something like that is beyond my control.
So, I instantly play 34.Rxg?? He spent a lot of time on this move, but I ignored his move because I was basically making a “pre-move” in my waning seconds. Later, he spent quite a bit of time again, and I already knew that I was going to play 36.Rg3 before he played his move. But this time, I wanted to make sure I was taking close to 5 seconds and not making that blunder as I did earlier, but somehow I flagged with 3 seconds on my clock. I made my move on the board, but he called my flag instantly, as soon as it happened. After the game, I went home and checked my clocks, couldn’t believe it. Then I sort of vowed to never get below 5 minutes again, finish a game with 30 minutes, etc. So that’s how I felt about it, disappointed that if I remain calm and don’t get the shakes, then I can’t do the blitz thing at the end.
The one good thing is that because I lost, I went home and studied a lot of chess, unlike when you win and think you are walking on sunshine. I’ll definitely be more mentally prepared when it comes to my next game, with time-pressure and etc.