The analysis of this game isn’t quite as superficial as might first appear, which is why I delayed annotating it for so long.
7…Bd7 Objectively, White’s queen sortie doesn’t do too much, and the exact reason for this is that Black can now take the pressure off of that h4-d8 diaganol that the queen is exerting influence over by playing 7…exf4, where White no longer has the “pull move” f4xe5 at his disposal. This is an example of where releasing the tension, even as Black, is actually beneficial, since that tension is a powerful tool for White in the majority of cases, and brings trouble on Black. I knew that fxe favored White during the game, and feared it, but he thought simply that it would “release the tension”. This is an excellent example of knowing what tension is for, that it’s power is in transforming the position into something else.
8…a6! My intuition told me this was strongest, although I was still worried about 9.Bd3, but after 9…e4, 10.Nxe dxe, 11.Bxe Qe7, 12.Bxg6 (which I saw OTB), but now 12…hxg6!, 13.QxRh8 0-0-0, 14.Nf3 Nb4, and Black is much better.
10…Qe7? It was necessary here to play 10…exf to avoid 11.fxe! fxe, 12.QxQ NxQ, 13.Ne2! where the d4 pawn is now undefendable, thus winning a pawn even it were to be pushed.
11….0-0-0. Now this variation does work for Black because the rooks are connected, and if 12.exf fxe, 13.QxQ NxQ, 14.Ne2 e4, 15.BxR? exNf3, 16.gxf (else if 16.Bb2 f3xNe2) RxBh8. This line above goes to show how concrete and exacting that this game really was; there were imperatives to be played that were ignored.
13…Rf8! I thought at the time that 13…Rd8 may have been more accurate, and saw 13…h6 which Stockfish likes along with 13…g5, but I really wanted to finish getting my pieces developed by this point. Stockfish finally agrees that this move 13…Rf8 is a bit better than …Re8 because it does more against White’s e4 move.
15…Qg7? This drops the f6 pawn, as does 15…Qf7? Which I thought was better after playing my move. Correct is 15…Qd6 stopping the future e5 pawn fork after 15…Qg7, 16.Nxf6 NxN, 17.fxe5 which is a strangely difficult fork to spot at the board even though it is a simple two-move tactic. After 15…Qd6, 16.fxe fxe, 17.Ng5?! (Rhf1) Qe8, 18.Rhf1 Qd8!, 19.Rfe1 (Qg3 Nh6!) is equal.
16…Nxd4?? The game is effectively over at this point.
20…Nb4 20.Nxf4 was best, but required more time to spot and evaluate to play it correctly.