I have played my opponent from this game once before and know that he plays the French as Black – so, I played …e5 instead. I don’t know the theory on this NxNc6 Scotch stuff, since I don’t play it as White.
Being tired (up since midnight), I asked my opponent for a draw and he agreed. My plan was ..Ra3, Bc2 Rc3, Bb3 and then I want to trade rooks and go for a bad bishop ending. I played it out with Crafty and even that is totally drawn. In the bishop endgame, White can restrict Black’s bishop to c8 and b7, so that Black’s “good” bishop is never allowed out of the cage to where it could exploit White’s “bad” bishop – I sensed that there were such paradoxical possibilities.
One thing about chasing the bishop was that it would give me time to play …Re8 before he could play Re1. I was worried about Re1, but needed to sit there and concentrate more on the position to see that I was grabbing the e-file first. Even the rook endgame is totally drawn. This is one of those positions where it would be fun to play on as Black just to see if White commits a blunder that is decisive enough, but also a position where energy and time-management can come into play – IOW, you have to really want it.
Actually, it took a while to find his ..Bc2 because I had to look off a bunch of what I thought were bad moves for him. Naturally, if there had been a flashing sign telling me that my move was okay, then I would have noticed ..Re8 and not slightly panicked about the rooks not coordinating to defend my own position. For me, it takes time and energy to work past those thoughts and find the concrete, correct continuation. I also didn’t notice that a rook on c3 would stop his c5, which was the other thing I was worried about – getting a bad bishop myself or trading pawns and giving him a passed a-pawn with his c5 threat. During the game, it’s easy to be focused on isolated aspects of the position, but it seems that one has to calm down to notice how a single move can simultaneously stop multiple threats. IOW, my rook isn’t down there simply to chase his bishop temporarily out of play, but also to stop his queenside pawn advance, with tempo for Black.
It suddenly dawns on me that in the future, a third to a half of my wins will have to arise out of even endgames. I was fooling around with a rook endgame from a hypothetical continuation to this game and noticing that both sides can lose equally even those it is basically even.
We both had over half an hour left, the clock was not a factor.
I’m not sure what opening that I should play him as Black next time. Certainly, in the Scotch I would not play …Bc5 against him but rather …Nf6, which at least holds back the Be7 possibility until he commits otherwise with his setup, letting me get in Bb4. Maybe a third opening, like the Caro-Kahn is needed. I don’t really like playing against the French Adv. variation against someone who maybe knows it well enough, but it’s still an option.