For once, I ran into a player close to 1800 that just wanted to play a solid game and knew their opening. I was more tired than energetic, and let my opponent get an hour up on the clock against me (his 1hr 14 min vs my 14 min). I hadn’t played him before as White, and didn’t have any preparation, so if a draw was all he was after I was going to give it to him. In the post-mortem, I realize after a few minutes that I should try h4-h5-h6, and I can tell he was unsure and struggled with it, but in the game I simply didn’t come up with the h4 idea. Objectively, it’s equal and tough for both sides to play but especially for Black. I wished I had another half hour, I think I could have won, but I had to credit my opponent for his openings devotions.
Like he said after the game, I should have castled 0-0-0 (he also thought White should play Bd3). There is also an idea that Fruit showed me, play Bd3 and sac the d4 pawn for a big win. Be2 is mysteriously also strong according to Fruit and it did seem right to me for an advantage, but I was more impatient.
If there’s one weird note to this game, my opponent won $32 for drawing me. Of course I won nothing, don’t know my score in this tournament (because I don’t want to waste 2 minutes thinking about it), and probably wouldn’t have won anything anyway. No wait, I would have come to think of it, had 2/3 score. That’s what sucks, someone gets rewarded for a draw, and I didn’t even think about what was at stake if I had won. I think Isaac didn’t show up because he was basically out of the winning. That’s what sorta sucks, you gotta to play to the tournament score somewhat, or at least be aware of it, rather than simply play “a nice game of chess.”