Being down 0-1 in the tournament, I got paired with Dean Brown and had the White pieces.
I could have played against his Accelerated Dragon, but I really wanted to improve my positional play in the Alapin Sicilian, and I’ve got good variations against him in the past. At the end of the game, I had 38 minutes left on my clock.
For the first time, I am posting this from my Linux machine and am using the Fruit engine.
During the game, I thought that 17)Rc1 was my dumb mistake. I wanted to play Qd4, but I figured that he would respond with ..Nbd7 and then ..Bg4. So I was going to play Nd4, but then played Rc1, thinking for a moment that he couldn’t play ..Nc6, but he can and does.
I played 19.Rfe1 because I didn’t see anything better, but, I still thought that he had equalized and was possibly/probably better. I could have been “freaked out” and played something different out of fear, but I am here to play chess and if he is better so be it, just don’t let him beat me on the clock (We both used about the same amount of time throughout, though).
What I saw was 19.Rfe1 Nf5, 20.Qf4 Qxb and then if 21.Rc7 he has ..Nd6 covering the f7 square. But what I didn’t realize is that by going 21..Nd6, he has uncovered the f-file to my queen. Now after 22.Ng5!, I suddenly have three attackers on the f7 square. So what about 22..Qg7 then? I just looked at it and yes the sham-sac 23.Nxf7 seems so obvious now. I was worried that he could play a ..Rd7 move, but the sham-sac on f7 deflects his knight from covering e8 (23..NxNf7), so that if 24.d6 (I was looking for how to push or sac this pawn) ..Rd7, then 25.Re8+ Qf8, 26.RxQ. And if 24..Bd7, then 25.Re7 puts two attackers on the Bd7 with only one defender. Bishop moves and there goes f7 again.
But this isn’t even the line Fruit chooses. Fruit chooses the yet even more sacrificial 24.RxNf7 QxN, 25.d6! pinning the queen to the king. Wow, doesn’t seem to win much material, but there is a mating attack with queen and rook, so Black must give up the bishop. Then is forced to trade rooks and White’s queen will march that pawn down to promotion.