I played Black in this game against a 1044 rated player.
Different day, same story, it’s just that instead of missing mate in 3, I missed mate in 2!
Right away I thought “If only I could ditch my bishop, then I could mate with the queen!” All I saw was …Bf4, but then he declines with Bh4 followed by g3. See if you can find what I obviously missed (before continuing reading).
It got more rich after that. He played Re1+ and I instantly started to move my king to f7 but saw his Re7+ before I took my hand off it, and moved it back, immediately realizing that …Be5+ trading bishop and rook for queen would have been enough for a winning advantage. Really, …Kf7 is losing, a pawn down, if I simply try and defend with …Bd6+ followed by …Na3. It’s only not losing because the …Bg1 sac is still on the table. I spent quite a while considering his Qg4-e2-e6+ threat. For me, I saw this right away, but luckily after all that time I spent on it, he still played Re7+. Had he been higher-rated, I wouldn’t have expected that, although I was still relieved and instantly took his rook.
This was a good experience for me, in terms of dealing with a bungled situation in a G/90 game, where the other player is moving fast and probably doesn’t want you to take all day on your move, either. By the end of the game, I had 44 minutes left, which means I had roughly 40 minutes to find …Bg1 sac at some point and never did! Actually, my first thought was …Bg1 and then in the span of about 2 seconds concluded “No, he’ll just take it.” lol.
What I think happened is that I saw the whole mate in about 1 second, which made me more nervous because I knew I’d lose a piece if I were wrong, and this was all before I had even taken on h7. When I tried to verify what I thought I just saw, I couldn’t calm down and focus. What I missed was after …Bg1+, Bh4..Qh2 mate with bishop and queen, no rook needed.
My ..Ng6 instead of 0-0 was my first big mistake, since his bishop can’t then successfully threaten anything in that case.
There were only four of us there because the regular TD is out of town and probably no one knew that there was still going to be a tournament – the regular TD emailed me this morning from the US Open in Irvine, CA. After the other club unexpectedly closed down, and seeing this club shrinking, I suddenly wanted to support local chess more, but it’s also good for my game.
With no traffic, it would take me 25 minutes to get there, but it was raining so took me a full hour to get there, so I was nervous about getting to register 5 minutes late and had forgotten to bring my water and didn’t want to take time out to buy a drink. This is what nerves can do to a person, it’s a strange thing, and then I feel bad for keeping him while he paces outside the glass door. I never relaxed until Re7+, versus being relaxed before the game.
Anyway, I think that is the difference between playing way up “This is my only chance, take it!” and playing way down “Don’t let this be my only chance!”