I had anticipated the possibility of his 18…b6?? blunder, but I was in time-pressure starting right around here, spent a lot of time on my move, and still didn’t play it right.
My “blitz-move” was going to be 21.Rdc1, but I spent a lot of time trying to find something that keeps the attack more, and came up with 21.Bf4?!
24…Rae8?? I saw that 24….Re4 was best, and of course hoping he wouldn’t play it. Now Stockfish says that 25.NxNd4 Bxd4, 26.Be3 is +3, whereas as it was played in the game is only +2. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to ponder such differences in lines.
26.fxe3 I even considered here 26.NxNd4 Re5, 27.Rxa7, which is cleaner than in the game, but not as strong, but again I simply had to move.
28.Kf2? My instincts told me not to play this move, and I did momentarily look at 28.Re1!! which finishes the job with the trade of rooks, but then I saw 28…e5 and in my time-pressure wanted to play moves that “looked” good to the eye.
This is how insidious time-pressure is, it can make a person actually go against their blitz instincts. This is not a 30-second increment tournament, it is a 10-second delay tournament. As soon as I stopped writing my moves down with 3:35 remaining on my clock, so did Earl, who finished with 4:45 to my 12 seconds at game’s end. It’s legal what he did, but this exemplifies the difference between increment and delay; it’s much easier to get “blitzed” in this situation.
29.Rd2? I didn’t see that he had two hitters on b2 until after I had made my move. I had wanted to play the correct 29.Rxd5 followed by 30.Rxa7, which is +-, but was reacting to suddenly noticing that 29…Rxb2+ comes with check.
30.R2xd5 While this is not a blunder, I was kicking myself as soon as I had made it. The computer thinks this move and 30.Rxa7 are both equal, but the latter is easier for a human to play who is unsure of what he/she should be choosing as an objective in time-pressure.
31.Rd8+? I knew I was sorta throwing in the towel here, as I did not have time to build up any
confidence in the correct move 32.Rb7, which I also considered but did not know w
hether or not it would work out.
After this, the moves are to my best recollection, and as I played this ending in just over one minute, this makes it easier to understand why I took a whacky stab at the whole thing.
I blundered a rook with four minutes on my clock because I couldn’t get it out my head that this wasn’t a G/90 game. My score-keeping became illegible at this point as well, as I felt as if I had 4 minutes to play the whole game instead of the 30 sec increment. He had 3 1/2 minutes and was calm, but had quickly played d4 and Nd5 because that was the plan that he had spent time on. After …Rxb at the end, which I had seen to play, it was 0.0 eval by Stockfish, and I felt it was a draw. My blunder was caused by seeing that if I hadn’t played Bb5, he could prevent it with …Nc3, but still, eating the pawn on b7 was good enough, no need to get feel as if the pin were strictly necessary in all lines. There is also this pressure on me to practice as if it were G/90 because of the event in Denver in late October, which is first three rounds at G/90. However, I can’t practice this time-control when my opponent doesn’t have to and can play with the 30 sec increment!
The interesting thing is that if I had played 26…Rxb7, he was going to play 27.Nf4, and I was instantly replying 27…Bb5?? to which he thought that 28.Rxg2+!! was now winning. I quickly played 28…Kf1 thinking he was losing, and he never bothered trying 29.Rxf2+! which is mate in 8, giving up rook for a pawn, but he is a piece up, and still has queen, rook, knight, and pawn to mate with there, while keeping up the cavalcade of checks. So it might have been a brilliant win on his part, or he could have blundered back from a winning position, and been just as ugly as what I had done, in that sense, as he had had maybe four minutes or less right there.