Only the second time I’ve played Alek, and he has already sped up his speed of play against me, joining the club of those who blitz me to win (some of them, such as Rhett, particulary seem to blitz against me).
Alek, with 70 minutes on his clock to my 20, pressed the clock and then makes his move 3 seconds later (notice, he is not in any time-trouble), so of course I had to call him out on it as soon as he did it, but there were no hard feelings (no, I didn’t get a TD or anything, I am simply trying to enjoy a nice game of chess).
I played defense quickly, not calculating by that point, and finally resigned as I was lost on the clock anyway, after realizing that the pawn recapture on f3 was stronger than I had guessed it would be.
Interesting moments during the game:
11…a6. I must have wasted a good 12 minutes on 10.0-0, not deciding to play the interesting 10.Ba6, leading to a powerful c-file advantage. I saw this board and it’s funny because he spent all his thinking on my time, and was clearly “playing the man” such that he prevented this idea with ..a6?, which I had realized would only be a target there.
15.Nh2. I had considered 15.Re1-Nf1-Ng3-Nf5 maneuver, but played Nh2 to stop ..h5, but instead accidentally allowed ..Bg5. g4 so soon was probably overambitious on my part.
19..Nxg4? I was happy to see this move played, but he is already playing my clock. He said that I was a very cautious player (so obviously he wanted to introduce risk and complexity into the position) who would spot all of the easy mistakes.
22.Nh2? I already beginning to panic on the clock, had also given 22.Rg1 much consideration, but 22.f5 simply saves a pawn. I was trying to goad him into having a weak, doubled pawn.
24.Re1, my play on the clock is breaking down. I had seen and planned 24.Ng5-e3 maneuver, seeing 24.Ng5 Bh5?, 25.Nh6+ and 26.BxBh5, but decided to be more mysterious and non-committal. This was very poor thinking, because it was my last chance to dictate a plan here, and that _is_ important to consider.
The Bc6 and Re3 moves are more nuttiness, no plan.
30.Nc4? When there is no time to think, just start taking stuff. This is perhaps the most classic time-pressure blunder of all time, pick the low-hanging fruit and then have a make-shift defense which can quickly become a shambles.
33.Be2 – a blunder-based defense.
35.Nxf3?? losing at once, but I didn’t realize how weak my bank-rank would really be.
Master Josh Bloomer thought that I could continue on with 38.Ne7, and should have, and he wrongly pointed out that after …Kf7, 39.Rb4 RxR, 40.cxR is winning for White (I believe that 40.Rh3 and doubling on the rook-file wins outright anyway, as Fruit points out), whereupon I said no, that it is winning for Black (it’s nearly -2). ..d5 is another mating idea, and I found a mate when he thought White could survive. But I learned one thing, that a Master is a Master because they can win from a losing position, not because they can evaluate or create a winning position better than I, for example, but because they can simply play the position more dangerously, solid, and strongly than I will tend to, regardless of the position.
I worked an hour and a half OT at work before the game, and was simply trying to enjoy a game of chess, but now I realize that opponents want to win more than they want to enjoy the game. They will play blitz from move one, if they think that this will increase their winning chances. It is hard to get punished for positional mistakes when you are blitzing early and often, and your opponent manages their clock poorly – at 40/2 or 30/90, one may get punished for this by a strong player, but this is not the case so much at G/90.
The sum of this game is that in time-pressure I began to play both plan-less, and opportunistic chess.