In my Round 2 Wednesday game I suffered a loss perhaps both from exhaustion and from wanting not being willing to consistently play defense when required by the postion. I dropped a piece with 8 minutes remaining on my clock, and I really don’t remember the last time that I dropped a piece, although I know that I would play really well and then drop a piece back when I was around 1300 rating.
I dropped the piece seemingly in a span of three seconds. Saw the move, played it, Isaac immediately captures my Bb6 and I let out a groan, all happened that fast.
20.Bb6 was dumb because after …Rb6! he could swivel that rook out to h6. We played on, what would have happened had I played 20.Bd4, and he ended up sacking on h3 and I won both post-mortems. If only I had kept the faith and hung in there. I played 19.Bxa7, saw it a move too late as it was. Doesn’t seem there was much way around Bd4…g5, Ne1 in hindsight, which can actually hold quite nicely against subpar continuations, but I should probably be getting mated, sure, because of the lost tempos in the game, if nothing else.
The game went on for a few more moves, but with 4 seconds left I hit the top of my clock, and it is my clock, squarely and yet missed the flag, so that it ran to zero with my plunger still up and unpunched. It’s next to impossible to do this and yet this is what happens when you get your first day, go jogging for a few miles, and then try sawing down a tall tree (I had to saw it up high so that it wouldn’t fall into the street).
Each Wednesday, my first day off, I overdo it with exercise and then am too tired to play chess at G/90. On Thursday I do nothing and have plenty of energy even without much sleep, and feel like I will win all day even before I play – because not drained. I am sensitive to altitude (still, and I have gotten dizzy on Thursdays, particularly in the summer when the air and oxygen is less dense, although it’s effect lessens a little bit more over the years), so it affects me to play at the higher elevation on Thursday, but that is far more than offset by the fatigue from Wednesday’s exercise so that it’s not even close to compare the two. The most important thing before a chess game is to not “overdo it”, whatever it is, and to just go in “normal”. The fitness thing is hogwash (or at least at mile-high altitude it is), as is virtually anything else, compared to just feeling normal. You should win based on your chess-skill and your chess-study level of industriousness, but again not needing to overdo any aspect of it. Balance is best, all things being equal – an oxymoron to make a point, if not interpreted cynically. Thinking about what I just said, it’s easy to understand why Bent Larsen lost 0-6 to Bobby Fischer in a record heat in Denver. Bobby came ahead of time to acclimate himself, heck Bobby Fischer was actually conceived in Denver.
After I played 12.Rc1, I saw that I could have won a pawn with 12.Qb3. This is what happens when tired, and not playing at some really long time-control, you see everything a move too late. Eventually, this is almost the technical reason for the loss.
Round 2 Thursday was a different story, as alluded to before. 20.gxf gxf would have been another way to play this position, but I don’t know what White does next here, doesn’t appear as playable as the game continuation.
27.Nxe7? This was a silly move caused by time-pressure, AKA “clock-management”. It would take some time to calculate, but after the game I noticed the weakness of Black’s king, as well as the e-file, when showing the game to Alex and Peter.
27.h4! axb4 28.cxb4 Bxb4? 29.hxg5 hxg5 30.e7 Rae8 31.Qe6 when 31.. Rxe7 allows 32.Qxf6 threatening 33.Qxg5 as well as 33.Rh4 mate. 32.. Bxe7 allows 33.Qf7+ Rg7 34.Rh4 mate. No engine, I am just seeing this now.
Once I had oversimplified the position I noticed the positional flaw which I had suspected was there, namely that 28…c5! is probably only a draw. I was relieved he hadn’t played this move after his long think here.
43.Rxg7+ Simply 43.Rc7-c5! looks devastating enough, or at least superficially it does.
44.Rc5? It’s probably only a draw after 44.Rd1 Rd5 or 44.Rc7+ Kf8 45.Rf8+ Ke8 46.Rxf6+ a4 47.Rxh6 Rxf5 48.e7 Kxe 49.Ra6 followed by 50.Rxa4. White will have an extra pawn, but it looks like only a draw to me. I am not sure why he didn’t play 44.RxR! but he probably wasn’t sure about the resulting queen ending, as I was also unsure at the time, but now it looks definitely not winning for White, or even winning for Black.