I was upset for losing this game because it was so won. I anticipated correctly Paul’s premature attacking style, and figured I was winning after his quick 13…Qh3??, but still took the most time on this move, probably got too involved with it actually. After a while during the game I noticed, and showed right away in the post-mortem that 17.Rxf3 Rad8, 18.Nd4 is easily winning, but then decided to see if 17.Nxf3 “looked more positional” and so I looked at it, and it seemed like a more sure way to trade down pieces, by attacking the queen of course. I get mesmerized by queens, a very bad tendency of mine.
19.h3?? This was the move that attracted me to this line, but it’s certainly not thematic as placing either knight on e4, once again, is completely winning and covers g3 to boot! However, I missed that I was giving up …Rxg3+, and without this resource White is still winning in all lines. Nevertheless, the object of the game is checkmate and one cannot miss such a check – it’s a big eval changer, and it’s a decisive error. Another thing to note is that even though 15.cxb7+ was the best move, if I hadn’t of played it in the h3 line I was still winning because I could have then taken the knight on g4 with check after his ….RxBe3 move, and hence traded queens at the same time.
I decided that 20.QxNg4 was best in the post-mortem, but it was still easily winning for Black I determined after a few moves (it is the best, but still -8.88 after retreating Nf3 in a couple moves as the trading g-pawn for f-pawn loses quickly, as does trying to protect the g-pawn ).
I missed 22…Qh4, and then saw as as I was taking my hand off the piece that 23…Rh3+ was possible and would mate, and so as soon as he played it I resigned.
There’s just this bit of rust from my not playing regularly that decided this game. I had this unsure feeling about 19.h3??, but just didn’t see the issue until he made his move. I was too cavalier about the situation and made this move rather quickly. It’s more pathetic than it is sad that as a chessplayer, you really have to play a lot to keep from throwing away a position with a single move – it seems to have less to do with skill than it has to do with being warmed up. Yesterday, I played a couple of blitz games at the club after the meeing and noticed this happening to me, total blunders such as this one, from easy superior positions.
This game looks like childs-play in hindsight. How was it even possible to not win this game as White? I pretty much had to blunder exactly as I did to not win this game. I can’t afford to have a single tactical hole like this in my game, because it just goes to show I could have lost to anybody by making such a blunder. This was one of those games you just want to throw away, as a game, but the analysis is still interesting because it was such an exciting middle-game setup.