In this Round 1 Game, I had Black against Dean – usually get White against him. Dean was not so long ago rated 200 points higher than he is now, but has been playing a lot more lately and ironically enough sometimes playing more causes you to put less emphasis into any single game.
Well, I start out with what ultimately should have been a relatively simple win, IMO, if I had played 14…Rfe8, and the …Rad8 and …Qf5 should seal the deal. I almost didnt’ play 14…Rae8? because of 15.Ba3!, but then played it anyway because I missed seeing 16.b5 until after he played 15.Ba3, which strangely seemed best to me anyway. So now I was goading a lower-rated player into making best moves – not good for one’s rating.
Little did I realize that I was dropping the d-pawn as well. I felt that after 20…Bxf2, 21.Rxf2 that I might not be coming out of this alive, and pawn structure is not so important in this type of variation.
25.Qd4? Game should have reached an even, if not technically demanding endgame after 25.Qd8+ QxQ, 26.RxQ+ Kg7, 27.f4 Rxc4, 28.Re7! Rxf!, 29.Rxb7 Re4!, 30.Rxa Rxe5, and Daniel, who was watching our post-mortem, called this a “book draw”. Ultimately, I should be able to get my rook behind his pawn, and then also cut off his king with my rook, and lose tempos with a Khg7-h7 type of shuffle.
If 37.Rd5+, then …Kxf4, 38.RxR?, bxR, 39.c5 Ke5, and my king easily catches the pawn for example.
If 38.Rd7 Kxg3, 29.Rxf7 Kxh4, 30.Rg7 Kg4, 31.Rxg6+ Kxf4, Black has the sole kingside pawn, and 32.Rg2 can be met by Ra3 with the h-pawn advancing while the a2 pawn is babbysat. This is the sort of thing which is difficult to calculate in time-pressure, or at least is for me. I finished the game with about 3 1/2 minutes to his 7 minutes. I’d say at least half an hour is spent during the game just considering the “ratings point type of consequence” behind key moves. It’s as if I knew what to do, but had to waste time starting into the disbelief of the best chances offered.
It’s amazing how one simple tactical mistake (laziness) against a much lower-rated player can nearly send one into ratings-point purgatory. Dean has beaten players such as Expert Paul before, for example, so he is not so weak, but it’s his rating that’s weak.