With a winning position in time-pressure, I regretfully decided to exchange queens in order to better keep track of the game. I could have kept queens on and gained a tempo, but my decision was also based on not wanting to give him three connected passed pawns, plus the line 36…Rxa??, 37.Rxc. It never occured to me that Paul A. would play 36…Ra6!, leaving my a2 as a future target, and then consolidating his position with a king march. The difference in those two moves was three whole points! That is like dropping a piece, if Black were to trade pawns there.
I sacked the bishop because I figured I would be up the exchange in equal pawn territory, but this was the equivalent of a business-plan written on a cocktail napkin. This plan was thrown together in time-pressure and I could see it wasn’t going to work out due to the undefendable h4 pawn with check, but went with it because it offered chances, or so I thought.
I blundered with Kg2??, sensing that I needed to make some kind of aggressive move here – Kg1 is 0.0. Last but not least I never appreciated the weakness of my pawn position like Paul did. I even missed a stalemate swindling change by giving up my rook with 49.Rxa Rh3+ 50.Kf4 RxR?? stalemate.
Obviously, I should have kept queens on and avoided an endgame. This would have kept a lot more flexibility, a very “human” pressure on Black’s position, a much more likely shorter game in moves. Add to the list avoiding my opponent’s strength, and also the fact that since it’s not an endgame, the fact that there are three connected passed pawns may not matter as they may just as well offer “holes” in the opponent’s position as well as objects of attack, sacrifice, plus obstacles for opponent maneuvering. You’ll never hear all of this from an engine though, just from the “school of hard-knocks.”
Oh, yeah, I wasn’t going to play but am glad that I changed my mind at the last second. Hard to believe this game was played after exactly three hours of sleep last night, and a nine hour workday, at a G/90 time-control. At least my games have been getting more interesting. 😉