For some strange reason, I was bottom of the top-half and Alex was top of the bottom-half of the pairings, and so we got paired tonight.
This game, once again, shows how I just can’t seem to finish as Black in the G/90 format.
A couple of points in the game require explanation. When I played 21.Qd5?? I was going to play …Kf8, and then move the queen, but sort of like last week’s loss, I forgot why I needed to play the first move of the sequence, and it’s largely due to the time-pressure. I simply make bone-headed mistakes like this in time-pressure, and for some reason I never see the time-pressure coming until it has arrived.
The end of the game also requires explanation. I had 1:43 remaining on my clock when he played 32.Ne5?? and so I immediately played …Bf5+ and offered him a draw, which he immediately accepted. I recall him having 30 minutes left on his clock.
In the post-game, we looked at the continuation 33.Kh3 BxNe5, 34.Qxe6 forking the Ba6 and the Be5, but for some reason we both missed what Fruit found 34…Bd6 protecting both bishops, which is -1.3 in Black’s favor. The best continuation that we could see was 34…Bf1, 35.QxBe5 Rd2, putting all of White’s pawns on the 7th rank in jeopardy, where we both thought it was looking drawish still, but Fruit cooly says that this is +2.4 for White.
I don’t know why I have such a problem with G/90 and yet I very much do. This was in improvement, though, over my previous draws, so I did manage to get some of the hesitation out of the way if not nearly enough of it.
It’s difficult to pull off a clean win at G/90 unless it is a miniature because the clock dictates that you make some “filler” moves at some point.
In my case, this is what I failed to do, I failed to think schematically in some positions, which is just as much a requirement as thinking concretely, if not more so. The concrete approach is not flexible and is an exorbitant expenditure on the clock when a flexible plan will suffice. Some positions, one has to “common sense” them and not look for some heavy-handed all at once continuation, but rather a more gradual one that involves patience in maneuvering.
In some positions my “spidey-sense is tingling”, calling for a refutation for one side or the other, but this is not the case on most moves, so I can’t act on the clock as if this every move. Most moves you play something positional and then just “see how your opponent reacts” (as the kid in the Chess Kids video trailer says), particularly in positions where there isn’t much sharpness for your opponent to spring on you.
The problem with most books I’ve found is that they don’t teach you, or virtually never teach you, how to make “nothing” moves. How to sit on a position and make it more solid without hurting it, without seeking to beat your opponent when your opponent is not making mistakes. At best, these moves seem to go uncommented in books. Authors love to show you how to win, but basically never show you to sit on a position and bide your time skilfully.