I felt angry and a little dispondent over the Tim Tebow trade coming into this game, so I knew that my focus wasn’t going to be quite what it normally is.
That being said, I sort of like the chances that I got in this game, but I still am not seeing the remove the defender and maneuvering even though game after game I have been studying of Paul Keres’ games seems to go this way.
After the game, I felt my losing blunder was to play Bc3 rather than Na7 back to b5 immediately before he played Na6-c7. I was in time-pressure and lost the thread of the position.
When I played d5, I saw his exact defense but knew there were ways for him to go wrong and even after ..c5 that I would have an attack. I debated playing Rg5 instead. Well, I figured win or lose I would attack instead of waiting for Rhett to make a mistake. I figured I’d probably win rather easily that way, but it’s also sort of wussy chess and not the way to improve against tougher players, really.
It was my defense that failed, a sort of maneuvering defense which I am a bit oblivious to, so that this game was a good learning experience for me.
I recognized that move 16 was the critical position of the game and spent my longest think there before finally taking a pass with 16.Bd5. My initial instinct was to play 16.Bb5 Re7, but I completely failed to spot the follow-up idea of Bd2-e1-h4, for example, which would have been very strong for White.
Here is what maneuvering could achieve:
With 26.Bf7, 27.Bd5 winning the exchange as a follow-up. Somehow my brain doesn’t even dream of finding some gem like this one.
Nb5 instead of Bc3 (which also prevents a Nc3 retreat or c4 to defend the d5 pawn) is something one would see no problems playing slowly, but blitzing it out that is like too much to notice, too deep for blitzing out. I also got too defensive, like choosing to trade rooks instead of playing f5.
Here is another example of maneuvering to win:
Just crazy how such a win is possible, but it all starts with the 16.Bb5 followed by 17.Be1 idea, which I failed to find, and even during the game knew that it is anathema to my thinking to move pieces backward like this. I got caught into a game that was not my style, but I knew this going into it, simply trying to learn and grow from a game against a similarly rated opponent.
I actually resigned in a final position where I had two connected pawns vs his queen, they were on fifth and sixth rank, but it was not enough as I could see how he was going to win one of them by force.