11…Qh4, 12.g3 Qe7 Stockfish likes this, and I debated playing it since it seemed quite alright.
15…Bf8. Stockfish likes 15…Qc8, which adds strength to f5 square.
17…c5 17…a5 is thematic and stronger.
18…Be6. I regretted not playing …Bf5, and Stockfish agrees (because White’s queen is babby-sitting the knight here).
On various moves, I should be playing ….a4.
24…Qf7. I didn’t believe in this move, but was already in time-pressure. 24…Qc6, 25.Ra4 c4! and Black is better.
32…g5? It’s equal now. I looked at 32…c4!, but rejected it in serious time-pressure, probably because it creates a complex position, and I needed to draw it here.
22….Nf7. I was going to play 22…Bf6, and if 23.Nxg3?? Bh4 with 23…Bg5 hitting the Rc1, and then 24…Bf4 with …Nf7, …Qh4 and winning down the h-file. If you play this out with your kibitzer, it will change it’s mind from equal in a few moves to Black is totally winning. I get castigated by a lot of people I know when I point out that a particular “long plan” is winning or is anything at all. Good thing the higher-rated Stockfish backs me up! Intuition like this is important because the chess program won’t tell you these things straight away; you have to plug in the moves and wait for the eval to come back.
However, I decided to play 22…Nf7 at last second, not thinking she would take on g6 because of Qg5, which I had only analyzed a little and felt was iffy, but still a bit shocked that she took the g3 pawn right away, and so I replied …Qg5 right away. My original idea was to play 23…Bh6, followed by 24…Bf4 which computer says is still best, ignoring that she just won a pawn in front of her king, and saving one tempo in getting the bishop to f4 in two moves versus three. I was a little put off by her possibility of then playing 24.Nf5, and saw …Bxf5, 25.exf hitting the …Rg6 and stopped looking at it there, and even though I did envision queen and bishop hooking up, did not envision bishop and rook hooking up via 25…Rg6-h6, 26.g4 Be3+, 27.Kf1 Rh1+! winning her queen. But I outnumbered her five pieces to one, so it was silly to think like this anyway, and I should have been analyzing this line deeper.
24…Rb8?? I was going to play 24…Ra7, 25.Nb5 Rd7 for the longest time, and Stockfish agrees that Black is better, but I overthought it and my skill wasn’t as strong as my intuition as trading a pair of rooks is trading my only defender and thus losing.
When I played 27…QxN, I already knew that I was losing a piece, and even Stockfish agrees there is no way out of it, and I muttered my disgust before playing 27…QxN, and really had given up on the game at this point. as 29….Nd5, 30.Nb6 wins the Bc8.
Alex is still in detox for anyone reading this blog out of concern for what’s going on with him. I checked my voicemail as soon as I got there, right after pairings were announced, and then let Earl know that he’d have to re-pair. I got a voicemail from his Grandma that said he had slipped and hit his head and was now in detox (I just told some people that he had gone to the hospital, so understandably they’d be concerned as to what’s going on). Alex had let his grandma know to tell me this, which makes me think he’s actually alright, just needs to blow a 0.0 to get out.
Sara was very gracious and it goes without saying that she deserved this victory; particularly when you consider how out-gunned she is in the opening theory department – she had to win on her technique and she did so.