This game was pretty much lost up until the end, in every way except one, the result.
I could not believe …Rg4 wins the pawn, I was floored. Spent about 35 minutes on Bd3. Got some vitamin-water and threw water on my face, which was feeling a little pale at that moment. Somehow I regrouped, mostly by sitting there stunned I suppose, and looking at the same variations.
I did miss what should have been a quick win with Bb5+, but castled quickly instead, and then noticed that if he plays …Bd7, which he did, that I would really be stuck for a plan. Honestly, I thought he needed to play …Rg7 to cover f7 and noticed the tactics, but then must have gotten scared by his possible ….Rxe+ threat, which Black never has time to get in.
Completely missed that I had Bd3 to combat his Bb5 pin of my queen and rook. Funny, because I did actually look for that specific move but somehow didn’t find it. By move 19, I was under 10 minutes and still hadn’t fully recovered from the opening shock. Must have had a moment of madness thinking piece trades lose, forgetting that I was up the exchange. It was such a quick move that even after I didn’t realize what I had done, such is the way of time-pressure, it appears.
As I explained to him after the game, …f5 instead of …RxRc7 would have ended things rather quickly, particularly considering my clock. I think he should have still won even after that a couple of times. I guess it began to turn into “gift win” time right around then. I have no idea how this happens other than that the man upstairs is smiling down on me.
By the end of the game, I had just under a minute and he had over 2.5 minutes left. How I have maybe 5 minutes to his 40 and then it gets to that point, I can’t say. It appears that clock time does not solve all things after all (he had considered …f6, but not …f5, which I saw right away).
I got out of my car around 2 minutes late, gate guard was just leaving since I drove by him right at 6pm (saves $2), but by the time I got in I was the last one there and had 8 minutes off of my clock. Spent 2 minutes on introductions, so yes, it was G/80 essentially. But I forgot to bring water (costs $2), so that was a wash.
Okay, I’ve analyzed this opening. …Rg8! works, even after Nc3 instead of g2, and then play g2. Black can sac on b4 and get 3 connected passed Q-side pawns for a piece, plus his own king-safety. Crafty thinks that is completely even (h7 square weakness). Either way, the real mistake here was Bxh6? …Rg8 equalizes for Black!
I’ve thought about what it would take for me to get back to 1800, and the most important factor that keeps coming up is being able to win or draw with the Black pieces against strong players.
I use my opponent’s time efficiently, but often have not considered the plan that they chose. For example, in this game …a6 was surprising, but I understood the plan meant a future …Bb5 and that his c7 square could become an entry point for my rook then.
I just want to clarify why that particular loss didn’t feel right. If someone wants to blitz me for 30-40 moves in a symmetrical position in hopes that I make a blunder, I am all for it, no probs. But to make that many moves and NOT ONCE have an advantage on the board, whether that advantage is attempted to be converted or not, and then claim the win on time is to make a mockery of the SD and not too long of time-control.
Really, I think I am a very beatable opponent. Look at me, messing up all over the place, that is what perplexes me about the time conversation. I don’t understand why opponents are not finishing me off over the board rather than attempting to on the clock. I tell them after they should finish it in the middlegame and don’t see it as that big of a deal, if the focus is on the board. On FICS, I get my butt handed to me all the time in the middlegame, but OTB people seem to want to work the clock and the ending and this is usually the mistake in their thinking. Besides, if OTB and online chess are the same, then they would be finishing me off much earlier in the game, but they don’t. It’s uncanny.