I’m in the top quad now, so yay there. 🙂
First game played David in a Catalan again. This time I had the game gift-wrapped for the win, saw two candidate moves, and chose one I thought was more forcing, but it was a sucker mistake, I walked right into his combo. To be fair to me, I only had 3 hours of sleep again, have been up since 3 am last night and got tired right around then, let my guard down.
Game 2, I played Neal again. I could have drawn it seven ways to Sunday (I was White), but gave him the initiative intentionally since that was the only way I could see having any winning chances (major guilt for taking 2 draws last week). Turns out that was a mistake (still could have drawn), but I got tired again late and blundered it away. Oddly enough, Neal was playing for the win on time (my time-trouble). I actually found this humorous because I wasn’t nervous about the time at all. Actually, I started moving quickly the last ten moves because I was tired, and was not at all worried about the clock.
Game 3, played Joe again. Poor Joe, he was so proud of beating David in 21 moves or so, but still hasn’t beaten me yet.
Okay, here’s the kicker. This was the first time I have ever played at a chess tournament where I didn’t get nervous. Usually, okay always, I am crazy nervous. This time I was no nerves, walk-in-the-park like. I played my first ten moves in 10 minutes basically in all 3 games. Only game I got a bit flustered in was Joe’s game because I didn’t know how to proceed with my attack, but he was moving way too quickly for as much time as I was spending. So when I really look at it, I think all 3 of my games were lost due to overconfidence. In the 3rd game, it was _his_ overconfidence that lost it, in the other two, it was mine.
It’s an odd feeling. I even suddenly realized “what the heck am I doing passing up the draw against a 1900 level player where no real chances exist for either side?”, as if I forgot who the people I was playing were.
That’s the other thing, candidate moves, I felt like I was Kotov or something because I kept finding the candidate moves, and then evaluated more to choose which one. I’ve never been in that sort of zone before.
I almost played the correct 26…a5!, but let myself get suckered into a trap with 26…Qe4??, instead. I could have sacked queen and pawn for two rooks, once I was caught, but his queen and knight would have eaten me alive in any case. I played these moves quickly, had 8 minutes left but felt “the wall” of fatigue brushing up against me at that point.
I had planned on playing 48. h3, if he plays …g5, then simply forgot about it, so 49. gxf?? g4 won. I was getting more tired at the end of the game, and now that he pointed it out, I think his strategy for beating me on time was brilliant, as I didn’t realize how much play was left in these positions. I went to the DQ nearby for lunch, but it meant I had about 89 minutes to start the game with instead of a total of 120. Round 1, David spent a huge amount of time at the end of the first time control and got nearly even with me on time, and he slowed down after the first time control whereas I was playing those same moves rather quickly. Unfortunately, this impacted my game 2. Even when it’s not just me I am the last one done! 😉
This game, I had seen moves such as Bd2 and g4, trapping his knight on f5, but was miscalculating. I got a little flustered at one point (tried not to show it much) because I could tell that my “calculator” was shutting down and I was starting to take lots of time. Luckily he walked into the pin. My worst game objectively speaking, but I think my style of creating complications in open postions is what brought me through. Man, if I had been playing David like this, fuhgetaboutit, methinks.
New rating is 1838. Nice, didn’t lose much, stayed in top quad.
If I keep coming (better) prepared with openings than before, and perhaps even put in a touch of endgame study just to work off any rust, and a tad of combos (combos have gotten easy and fun now), I think I should eventually approach 1900 playing with this group. To make 2000, I should really play in some Open section big tournaments so that I can take some bigger scalps. It would be hard to imagine doing better than trading wins with David at the club, if I even got that far, need to beat him first, and then also having to beat lower rated when our club plays Swiss 8-man sections.