Nerves, Again

Final Round Tuesdays

I played a new opponent tonight, a computer programmer as it turns out.  I am 0-3 in this tournament, worst result since I was 1500.  My opponent said that he has done little more than look at a few tactics puzzles a while back.  Well, I played the opening quickly, eight moves with still the full hour and a half remaining, but then lost my nerve once he defended against my first attack with 14.Rg3.

14….h5? was bad, sort of a pass really, since after …h4, he can still defend with Rg4.  I considered 14…c6, and Alex confirmed that I should have chosen this, with  the idea of keeping his b2 bishop entombed, plus I could play …b5 later, possibly, to kick his other bishop.

15….0-0-0??  At first, I planned to play 15…Nd4-e6, 16.Ne3 g6, 17.BxN and wasn’t sure about this, so I avoided the whole argument altogether by castling, only once looking at, and summarily dismissing his taking on g7 as bad for him.  Well, he went for 16.NxNf5 exf, 17.Rxg7 without hesitation and only then did it slowly dawn on me that my move was like a nuclear bomb going off in terms of mistakes.  I had unleased his bishop pair, saddled myself with a weak f4 pawn, was trying to salvage what I had left, without even attempting to dispute the g-file, and worst of all the trades seemed all in his favor not mine, and I would be lucky to get them in yet still!

I spent my longest think on 17…Ne6, eighteen minutes; it would have been my blitz move, but it would be nice to see some sort of active plan with 17….Rdf8, ….Qe8, ….f5,  …fxe followed by …f4, but this isn’t so realistic in any battle of tempos.

18.Rg2?  18.BxNe6 would have harmed my pawn structure irreparably

19.RxR? RxR  Suddenly, I am getting back into the game.  19.Qg1 is close to curtains for Black.

20.BxNe6?!  He should have taken sooner.  Now my pawn structure has been repaired and my tempo situation looks a lot healthier than it did.

22.Qh1.  This was the first move I looked at, and later thought he could grab space with his pawns, perhaps pushing the a and b pawns as far as they will go, although this plan with 22.Qh1!? turned out to be more effective than I otherwise would have suspected.

25.Rxh5?  25.Qg2 would have given him a lot control over the position and a definite advantage.

25….Kb8!  I need to eliminate back-rank issues and free my pieces for other tasks.

26….Rg8!?  Black’s attack is extremely annoying.  The alternative was …Qc6.

27.Kg1??  27.Kh2.  This move is obviously losing.

32.Kd3?  I was much more worried about 32.a3! and was even considering 32…Qg7, which may be good enough for the win (Alex, thought so, and it seemed so).

32…Qxa2?!  32…Bxf2! as Alex pointed out, was even more effective.

41.Qxf3?!  As Benjamin pointed out here, after he resigned, White has 41.Qd1 mate!

Scary to think that I was that close to going 0-4, and even got under 3 minutes before finding 37.Rg2+! putting away the game.

Next month, the City Championship is 5 rounds at G/90, increment 10, and I am not looking forward to playing at those unplayable controls(!)

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5 thoughts on “Nerves, Again

  1. Actually, 10 second delay, Brian… not even a 10 second increment, which would’ve been slightly better. I, for one, am not playing in the city championship this year.

  2. By the way, your opponent in this game had me as his first rated opponent in round 1 of this tournament. He played f6 after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3. The game was over in 9 moves. Somehow, looking at your game with him here, I think it’ll be a tougher task next time I play him.

  3. He won’t be there for the city championship, he’s going to be out of town. Yes, I think Benjamin is becoming a stronger player with each rated move that he makes.

    Yes, unfortunately I can only agree with your decision to not play in the City Championship, as you have been maintaining your 1900 or 1899 rating quite nicely. I am at 1741 now, near my floor like a shark at the bottom of the ocean wating to pounce on what swims on the surface.

    In the sick, twisted, ironic thing that is aka known as CO chess, this G/90 will probably favor ME, and hurt Mark McGough the most. I am just having fun playing chess, and wanting to play fruitful chess. This fast time-control is only going to backfire against people who think they are good at quick-chess (unless Daniel shows up, which I can only guess that he will because of the tournament’s title). I wish people would get over themselves and focus on what’s best for chess development, even if it’s not their own.

  4. He got himself into a big trouble after allowing Bxf3.
    You could play 11… Nh5 then after 12. Kh2 Qh4 he doesn’t have Rg1, only f4 and he loses a pawn. Yeah, 14… h5 is not good, b5, then c6 was keeping the pressure.
    Then he found a way to lose as lower rated opponents often do.

  5. Right, 12.Rg1 would drop f2 in that line, nice find!

    Yep, 14…b5 makes a lot sense because it bottles up both of his bishops, and after 15…c6 and 16…0-0, if wanted, it’s a clear -+.

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