In Round 1 I managed to throw away a winning advantage, then go on to blunder a pawn before clawing my way back to the draw. I really liked his combo to win the e4 pawn. Like a true 1900 player, he rattled that combo off spending mere seconds on it. Just as strange, he spent lots of time on the endgame, asked for a draw with 2 minutes and 3 seconds on his clock whereas I had 19 minutes, but agreed to the draw after analyzing it for another 8 minutes.
Round 2 I just completely lost it, emotionally, must have been that energy drink and cookies at Subway, the only non-caff drink I saw there was Fanta (yuck). In Both my games I was the last one done, so I came to round 2 20 minutes late.
I had played Jeff only once before and won, actually. He plays ..e5 against my C3 Sicilian and I have nothing prepared. I used to play d4 and nearly played it, but decided to be a little more coy with Bc4. I couldn’t for the life of my figure out how to develop and spent incredible amounts of time. I was going to play Na3, but then played Be3 (taking the knights spot on e3). Well, this made it difficult, and an early a4 would have been a sensible move to allow both Ba2 and Na3.
Suddenly, I am deciding to create a solid position and go completely on the defensive, which I do well for a while, but really am playing a minute a move chess but even faster; it definitely affected the quality of my play. Luckily, I could tell that he was attacking like crap more or less, so I got lazy. He was well over an hour ahead of me on time but I caught up, had over 4 minutes to his 6 minutes at the end. But there was a move where he had 10 minutes left and got 5 free minutes because I had not punched my clock completely down on his analog. This sort of drove me nuts and I blitzed out horrible moves after that at the end, he even pointed out that I had plenty of time but I was so PO’d about using so much time that I practically had a fit to myself.
Anyhow, I dropped the pawn, noticed it after I moved, and his technique took over from there. His strength is probably mostly as a technical player. How I really felt about that was “Please do not tell me that he broke off that kingside attack to sneak one of my queenside pawns for the win.” He even spent a lot of time on the move before taking, and not because he didn’t see it, obviously. Nice guy though, well-mannered, even said he didn’t notice that his clock wasn’t ticking. In any event, after the game I wished that I had chosen the Open Sicilian against him, he plays Najdorf variation (not exactly fun, but at least it’s tactical for White).
The first critical moment came after 9..Na5. I was planning on playing 10.Bd5 but then saw ..NxBd5, 11.exN f5! I have b4 trapping his knight on a5, but that isn’t good enough since he can push …f4 hitting the Be3. Once I noticed all this I was of course like expletives, but didn’t actually think of any, that’s just how I felt. Actually, I was sort of like swimming around in my head, What did I just do? What the heck should I do now? Nothing looked promising, and that is why I tried to simply make my position look solid after that.
I should add that I had been planning on playing b3 to defend a4 pawn, but then decided that I was loathe to as all my pawns were on light-squares and the thing I was most worried about was his light-squared bishop in an ending, and he also said after the game that this was his plan, use the light-squared bishop in an ending (to try and pick off those pawns).
At the end, I did see he his Rh7 coming as soon as I had played Kh2, but it was already lost; he surprisingly took over a minute to play it. In fact, I knew that the Nf1 deal was probably losing but the game was pretty much lost anyhow and I was blitzing. I even noticed that he could trade all his pieces to let me have the g-pawn and his a-pawn still advances.
The one thing I realize about these 1900 level players is that they are there for the endgame, more or less. Weak club players are usually spraying pieces all over the place, so don’t see a lot of endgames like something you’d see out of a Silman book or lecture until you get to this level.