The ironic thing about this Round 3 game is that I consider Isaac to be my most terrifying opponent, so this was a big moral victory for me.
5.Be3? Bad because it’s not only premature, but because after 5…BxN, 6.gxB (my idea), he then has 6…e5! Anyway, he played Nc6 quickly, to my relief.
8…e6? I had been worried about this position for a few moves now, where he plays 8.e5! -+, but instead is now +-. I couldn’t believe he had just walked into the same line from when the last time we had played.
9…Bxh3?? Coming back from the restroom, I was astounded to see this from a distance, knowing that the game was now won. I had figured that his new idea was to play the forced move 9..BxNf3, but White is still better.
10…Qg3?? Last time, we had played, he played the best move 10…Qf5, 11.Bd3 Qh4, 12.QxQ NxQ, 13.NxNc6 gxN, 14. gxB and being down a piece for a pawn did resign shortly thereafter.
10…Rxd4?? Playing for tricks, but I did not really expect to see this move. It did catch me off guard, but one can only feel so bad about missing something in a still superior position.
11. NxNc6!! Here I had seen the mate, but I don’t believe that Isaac had seen it yet. Isaac resigns here as he will be down a rook for two pawns at best.
My opening preparation and home laboratory post-game analysis is so horrible, but it appears his was worse because he had simply blitzed through this position last time, much like this time, and must not have studied his own game in the least, or I think he would not have repeated this calamity.
Night games are weird. It appears that whoever is “pumped up” and not playing like a tired zombie has a big practical playing-strength advantage. In the case of the kids who play, a bunch of them go to this chess-camp tournament, as they did recently, and play G/30. How is G/30 good practice for looking deeply at the board? I mean, when I want to speed up my decision-making, I’ll play blitz, but that is the only reason I play blitz.
Some people say that 1.d4 is superior to 1.e4. It is possible that e4 is not as strong, but e4 has tremendous miniature potential as compared to 1.d4. Against 1.e4, the game can end quickly for either side, particularly at the class level where we don’t study our openings diligently. I am lucky that most class players don’t study their openings much, because I don’t study them much myself.
4.Bb5+! is the only way to get an advantage against this Portuguese variation of the Scandinavian opening. It’s +- after that move, but my variation played only lead to equality.
RP has told me this before, but I think it’s only after observing Alex opening preparation, and how he gets wins from it almost walking into the game, have I really begun to understand how powerful this can be. I helped Alex prep in a match against James, essentially I’ve been his “Second”. I never realized how powerful it can be to have a second before. I’ve given him some really good tips on postgames as well. In his latest game, I told him a move in a variation I felt certain that James Powers would play. He plugged into an engine and we both missed that White wins a pawn. Well, James played the exact move that I had predicted he would play in this variation, and immediately dropped this pawn!! Alex said this happens to him all the time, and that got me thinking, particularly so for e4 when my opponents try and wrest the initiative from me right off the bat.