I played against Gene for the third time, this time as Black.
I got into bad time-trouble in this game as I spent 23 minutes before playing …h6, even though I would have wanted to play this move had it been blitz chess. Something about “losing” makes me not want to play it. hehe. The thing is, though, this is not a discretionary move. At the board, I figured out that the only way to make progress was to resolve the kingside first, or else it would become too dangerous and was cramping my game. Of course, Crafty is suggesting …h6 way before I actually played it.
Early on, I guess I should have played …Ng4 and followed it up with …f5. I did consider …Ng4 for a moment, but didn’t want to get myself into a position I might not understand, and I missed the …f5 follow-up idea, or I would have played that plan. Something about playing OTB and worrying about rating acts has a natural damper on playing these moves. No wonder that it’s people who don’t care about ratings that have no trouble playing these moves. Of course, if you don’t win, you also don’t get a stronger opponent in the next round.
Anyway, it becomes clear that time is affecting my game and I finally decide to resort to “coffee-house” chess, which is a little more subjective and psychological.
I missed 21…Ba5 winning his queen, although I had seen trapping his queen in some situations. I saw …Bd4 right away, and time-pressure made me not want to look-off a quick move much in favor of something better.
I was happy that he didn’t play 28.h4.
31…Qe5 was a bit of a panic move, should have simply taken his knight on g3. After I moved I had a “zen moment” where I realized he could simply move his knight away. Luckily, his response was near immediate and what I had planned on, trading queens, which still wins the piece since if he moves his knight I have NxRf3+ followed by NxRe1.
I had 3 1/2 minutes at the end of the game, and he had 55 minutes. It felt great to win this game because it also felt like I should have lost on time, as he avoiding trading pieces quite a bit and kept up the pressure, until Bxh6 that is. I also came away with the feeling that I can’t play G/90 like this, even with all of that blitz practice.
The pressure surely seems far greater OTB than online, not wanting to blow it making some silly move. Probably it’s because online, you can simply close your browser, but with OTB chess you have to (generally) drive yourself there and back, which is time and gas. Plus, it’s easy to not get nervous while playing online after a while. My game was the last one done, all of the other boards were packed up and gone, which is a little surprising since my opponent had nearly an hour left. But that is how it goes, one person gets into time-trouble and the other one blitzes more.
An interesting note is that 16…Bc7 is objectively losing the game due to the reply 17.Bxh6. Even during the game, I had considered playing 16…Bf8 and chucking the pawn which, curiously enough, is only .60ish advantage for White. Naturally, one considers the opponents rating before making these moves. If my opponent had been stronger, I would not have played ….Nd7, for example, which is not a good move. Instead I would have played …cxd3, which is equal. In some sense it is more stressful playing down in ratings because the desire to complicate is greater in order to avoid the draw.