It’s been a year or two since I’ve last beaten Paul Anderson, and I don’t ever remember drawing him. In any case, I played 2…g6, in spite of him possibly knowing it much better than I, because I wanted a dynamic opening rather than the sort of technical opening where he grinds me down on time, energy, and most of all experience.
6.b3 Paul, rather enterprisingly, goes for a strategic variation with perhaps better chances of confusing me than with 6.c4, which is stronger and I would have feared seeing more.
7.c3?! I was expecting 7.Bb2.
7…cxd4?! This is a small inaccuracy on my part as well, as simply 7…Nc6 is best because you’d want White to play d5, anyway.
9…Bf5! Here, I had the long think, and was rewarded by playing the best move. I spent a long time analyzing 9…Ne4, which Stockfish prefers, and I was simply not interested in playing 9…d5, it’s other suggestion. With 9…Bf5, I was hoping to cause an imbalance in the game. My choices were between this move and 9…Bd7, but I figured he may get a pawn-roller going in the center.
10.Nh5? He bit! I wasn’t sure whether I was being overly clever here with …Bf5, but in any case didn’t mind giving Paul an attack, since he usually doesn’t win his games by seeking a blatant attack. In fact, the follow-up 10…Be4, 11.f3 (or 11.BxB NxB) BxNb1 is very strong for Black after …Qb6+, …Nb4, and …Nd3! rather than …Nxa2. Really, this is the sort of variation that shows how Black should seek to “get into White’s business” with messy, invading play.
10…Bd7 but I ultimately decided in backing off, trying not to provoke too much against the much higher-rated player.
13…Qh5. This was tactically, a bit clever, but as Daniel Herman might say “Where is the threat?” 13…Qb6! was much stronger.
14.e3? Again, he bit on my idea rather than ignoring it and playing 14.b4 which he suggested later and we all liked (Mark was there also). Stockfish says that 14.b4 and 14.d4 are both 0.0 equal.
16.b4! I thought he might play 16.Nd5 NxN, 17.BxN e6, 18.b4 exB, 19.bxN is -+ for Black.
17.Rc2?? 17.Ba1! which I was expecting, and after Black wins the queenside pawns for the b7 pawn, it will actually be a tremendous struggle to convert that a7 pawn into a win.
Needless to say, at this point in the game, Paul was treating the game as if it were like a simul, walking up to my board, spening five seconds looking at the position, making a move then walking off to do his TD duties. At this point he had just walked over to receive the score-sheet of one of the other players. This can be a hazard of trying to both play and TD at the same time, which most TDs find difficult to do.
The rest of the game is rather self-explanatory, although as Paul pointed out, I could have won more quickly with 46…f4!
Paul played on valiantly for the stalemate, which would have happened after 59…Bf3?? Unfortunately, for him, this was a thirty second incremement, and the lowest I ever got down to on the clock was just under ninenteen minutes. He resigned on move sixty because he didn’t want to have to use another score-sheet, and the mate was evident.
Paul’s blunder was unfortunate, but it was probably the result of his normal habits during a game. For example, he frequently mills about, and takes care of other matters during a game, mostly those of people coming and going, and asking questions about the club sometimes or disturbances in the lobby, etc.
That said, having a 362 rating point difference between us was probably a bit of an extreme circumstance, or as Brian Wall said to me when I last played him “Is that your blitz rating?” 😀