Last Wednesday’s Round 2 game (against a Master).
11.Bd3?? Drops a second pawn. I had seen …Qb6 moves, but not that the Qd8 can simply take on d4. Clearly, 11.Nc3-e4, followed by 12.c3 would have been nice, but I was fearing …f5 there. Josh thought taking on d5 looked forced, but it gives me a bad bishop, down a pawn. I went for the hail-Mary after that because I was tired and way too down on time.
I was told that I had flagged by a split-second after making my move. In any case, time-pressure had determined the game, as I had allowed him to play …h5, and then didn’t even have the decency to take his h5 pawn for my f3 pawn.
During the game, I thought that instead of 20…Kh8 that I should have played 20…Bf3 right then, but I was being super-conservative. Little did I realize that conservative or not conservative isn’t what saves your bacon at this level, it’s doing the little defensive things right that gets that done.
Glancing at this game again, it appears that even a simple manuever such as 31.Ne4-f6, possibly followed by ….Nf6-g4 could likely save this game on the level of practical chances, putting all of that pressure in place. I did a lot of things right up to this point, and one poor missed idea shouldn’t have negated everything so quickly. As soon as something tough came my way in time-pressure, I coughed it up, which is why my rating was under 1800.
6.Nc3? 6.Bc4 is the move.
16.Qb3 was more accurate.
I had planned on playing the winning variation 26.NxBd7 QxNd7, 27.Qd5 Re6, 28.Ng5, and had looked at it multiple times, but then decided to play a different combo, not seeing of course her …Be6 move. But then once she was winning here, she got nervous, her hand started to shake and she played too defensively.
The most disappointing game of them all.
6.Rd1 was possibly another line, but then Black plays 6…Nc6.
14.a3. 14.Bd2 is likely best.
17.b3? dropping the b4 square. Best is probably 17.b4 followed by 18.Bb2.
18…QxBd3? Flashy, but not accurate nor best.
22…Na3?? I saw 23.Rf2, and was going to play it, but then looked for his idea and started to think he might have something up his sleeve and believed his move (fearing 24.Nc2 and any further maneuver to come with the knight such as to b4 and then d3), then couldn’t believe that I hadn’t played 23.Rf2 immediately after I had played 23.Qb2? I was down to around 2 minutes and 14 seconds on the clock, and was exhausted, which was unfortunate that I had let such a thing happen at this particular time-control. With a second time-control, I should have been pulling out of this correctly, but not with the 30 seconds per move, which is so much more draining in some ways as you have to pace yourself more, energy and time.
25.g3?? loses. 25.Nf2 is still unclear, and White may still be better here. I resigned with 6 seconds on my clock.
I had 45 minutes remaining at the end of this game.