So, lo and behold Round 1 was a revanche. After losing last Thursday and Rhett smirking that I had played “The Freeman Variation”, which is a nice pre-fight setup since I am to “blame” for teaching it to Alex F. I had one idea going into this line again, 8.Be3, which is a move played by Karjakin (I just looked at chessbase online last night, only the first few moves, looking for an idea to justify trotting it out again). Ultimately, I may not have played the opening right, and was again at a disadvantage, but limited the damage and was able to outplay later on. I wanted to prove that the f4 variation was playable, as well, and since Rhett only recently dropped below Expert, I think I proved my point enough to prove it; and honestly, that was worth more to me than the ultimate result of the game.
There were some interesting traps and analysis, but I’ll jump to the end since most people are more interested in results. There was a time-pressure silliness/follies. We were playing with a club digital chronos clock that doesn’t blink or anything when the clock reaches zero. Anyway, Rhett had 9 seconds to my 2 seconds, when I knocked over the pawn when capturing it on move 40. Somehow, and Rhett is so mild in time-pressure at first, he was complaining that he had to set up the pawn before capturing it and I noticed that he had flagged, but he said he was also trying to stop the clock. Anyway, he had somehow fiddle-faddle-farted away his nine seconds.
Well, we played on to see if his clock would flag as in blink or something, and it doesn’t do any of that. I know how preposterous this sounds. Really, I got Rhett to agree after the game that we should have had both 2 seconds remaining (it’s five second delay). I think he wanted to claim 2 minutes or something like that, but he didn’t say. Anyway, I had 2 seconds remaining when we resumed at move 44. I can’t remember how I allowed stalemate because the two queens were further back, but one on the second file and the other on the seventh rank.
It will seem strange that I did not win, but besides my ridiculous rushing and not spending any time on my moves, there is another reason, and that is that you need mental breaks at least every ten to fifteen moves or so, and when your opponent doesn’t give them to you then it’s like you suddenly can’t think because you never used any time to come up with a plan, to checkmate king or cut off king first, etc. You can’t play for too long without going from plan to plan and not blunder. This is is an area of my game that I need to improve on for sure!
It’s funny how I was still able to play a good chess game after 10 hrs work and 5 hrs sleep, and getting over a cold. For the first time, I’ve lost my voice, from that cold, and I’m glad I have these two days off! It just goes to show how much of it is chess skill. The reason I played so well is that Rhett used a lot of his time as well. Once it came down to none of us having time is when I began to have issues, and sure I should have moved more quickly on my earlier moves, but I need to learn to calm down and not physically get the shakes in time-pressure, and work that 5 second-delay, get used to moving at the pace of a delay. It’s funny, but now that I think about it, if I were really smart (@ss) then I should have said “You know what, you are right Rhett, let’s add two minutes to your clock for me knocking over your pawn (onto the right square)” because that would have helped me! Well, technically I captured his pawn, so it was my pawn that was on the square, and rolled a teenie bit in the square.
BTW, the arbiter, Shirley, did a great job and I don’t want to get into the technical details of what happened, but I could have called flag after we played on but didn’t, and I felt that I really should have been able to win with two seconds on my clock, but I guess I was just a wreck.