I had only played John once before, as White last month, and had that relatively quick tactical win.
John’s rating is only 1091, but he supposedly had a winning position against Isaac one week, pinned queen to king but somehow lost it, and he’s been in somewhat tight games against other players, but I guess he has always managed to find a way to lose.
In this game I decided to try out the Queen’s Indian, knowing, well at least in my mind, that it is somewhere between heavily drawish and a pure endgame. I spent a looong time before trading queens, but I did not want an opposite bishop endgame to occur after …Ne4, BxNe4, but afterwards reflected that “Well, at least I still would have had queens on the board!”.
So here we go, now he doesn’t want to open the position, shite. If I open the position, it will be bad for me, but naturally I didn’t see deep enough because with his Be5 there begins to be counterthreats against that bishop and f4 should I chuck a pawn in the center.
The one thing I looked at and considered a lot was this …Ba6 tactic, although it leaves c6 weak it actually hits the isolated c4 pawn, e2 pawn and Rf1, a real gun. But like I say, it leaves me opened up to Bxc6 hitting the rook at e8. I even considered playing …Rc8, just to make that work. Turns out the threat was greater than the execution as …Ba6 allows Black to push …d4, since he never played e3. Well, I did not see that or that my …c5 break was working in some situations. Once again did not manage my time well due to a few long thinks.
He had a chance to double his rooks but didn’t. After e4, I moved my knight right away, but about 15 seconds later I was like daaaarn, I missed dxe grabbing the rook file and probably winning the g-pawn. So he _still_ didn’t double rooks, and I immediately lunged at my cheapo opportunity to gain the d-file, should have been toast since even my …Rd8 was not objectively best to begin with. In my mind, I had already concluded that he was going to double rooks, which is why I simply reacted the first time by moving my knight instead of trading pawns.
After that it got easy, but I still didn’t notice that Nb3 was winning a piece near the end, but looked at it for a while. I completely missed Rf3, destroying almost my entire advantage and leaving him with the bishop pair. Luckily he played Rc1 instead to defend Bc3.
At one point, I thought his g3 pawn was en-prise for my knight to take, took me a _while_ before I realized that his Rd3 was covering that square – he even did one of those looks where he noticed me looking at g3 and gave an instant “whoops!” expression. Imagine had I dropped a piece! Only weird thing after that was that when I queened I forgot to remove the pawn, which he did two moves later for me once he noticed (I didn’t notice). We both took it down to a minute. The Master stopped by and gave one of those looks of disbelief that I had not polished off my opponent earlier due to the ratings difference. Well, like they say, “and that…is why they play the game.”
I whipped through the opening, and then I think I spent about 25 minutes on one of those things like whether to trade queens or not, given his rating and my wanting to avoid a draw. Total nonsense, but at least I know I would have spent less time on such thoughts had it been G/60. One thing is that I thought that I had messed up by playing …Bb4 too late as I had not made him play Nd2, nor had I taken on c3 before he could retake with a bishop. Crafty indicates that I was in a book-line, however, which is interesting. My trading queens cost me about a full point swing, from -.5 to .5, according to Crafty.