Is bigger than all my other chess issues put together, so I am going to focus on moving in a reasonable amount of time.
Tonight I played a game where my opponent blundered in MY time-pressure, yes that is how bad it’s gotten.
Afterward, I played the game out minus the blunder with an older guy named Joseph. It went down to a draw – just found out he is 1861. I had no problem moving quickly against him during analysis, nor with quality.
At the end of the game, I had 6 minutes 41 seconds left to make it to move 30.
I looked at 6. Qf3, but saw that there was no antidote to 6…Nd5-b4, as the c2 square is untenable for White.
In fact, 5.Nf3 was the correct move as my 5.Bc4 was adroitly “refuted” by his 5…Be6, but it’s really an even game.
Crafty preferred 8. axb3, doubling the pawns and opening the a-file. It does look quite better, but interestingly it’s because if Black is allowed to 0-0-0, then he gets immediate rook pressure along the d-file, allowing an …e5 intrigue, which he did not play. Black should have played …Nb8 when he made the blunderous …Nb4 (really, not even sure what he was thinking, but I was relieved to see it).
His weaking of the f3 square was an interesting idea. In the post-mortem with Joseph, I relieved a pin of the knight there (…h3, then g3 while Qh5 pins Qe2) with Kf1, trading queens on e2 after Nf3-e5 relieved the pin. I liked my endgame better even down a pawn, bishop vs. knight but he had doubled, isolated b pawns, one which raced down quickly to draw it, even though I had picked off his advanced h-pawn with my rook.