I played against the Owen Defense as White, and it turned into a typical game between me and Sam where it was mostly a solid game, deserving of a draw, but I got into time-pressure and kept missing my chance to play a5. Then Sam decided on fireworks in my time-pressure, like all three of our games, and he came out on the wrong side of them.
I woefully managed my clock. So, for example, I was down to three minutes after only 22 moves, but luckily I _can_ blitz with a 30 second increment.
I thought about whipping about my typical response to the Owen Defense, 3.Bd3, but realized that it’s a reversed Van’t Kruijs Opening, which is what he plays as White. So I decided to play solid in the opening, which is practically a first for me against this opening, and see if I could lose some of his more familiar pattern recognition.
After 8…Qxd5, this was such a novel tabiya for me, that it sucked up my time. He was still in his book and played it rather quickly, never leaving the board the whole game.
24. Ne4 is no good, but I was in such time-pressure that I was willing to make a poor move, but not a losing one, in order to trade off pieces. I thought that he should have exchanged bishops on e4 and been better, but he got a little “froggy” instead, looking for more of a middlegame fight. I played 28.d5 virtually unanalyzed, because I had 1 minute and 9 seconds remaining, so I decided to play this attacking move intuitively.
After 28…exd, 29.exd RxRc1, 30.Qe8+ is winning (we both found this on his time).
29.Qf4 attacks the rook so that if 29…Rcd8, then 30.c5 wins the exchange, and if 29…Rdd8, then 30.dxe6 wins a pawn. I wanted to attack this rook with c5, since my queen will be attacking it after trades, but I missed this tactic in time-pressure.
29….Qf5?? By now, he was simply trying to avoid flagging, and I was actually building up more time. After 29…Qh4 he is down less than a pawn.
38.Re3. In time-pressure, I either missed this 38.Re7! idea, or was too afraid to play it at such a quick pace (thinking he might have a perpetual somewhere with my queen out of play, but the check on h7 is too fast to let that happen).
The endgame was rather fun, since it seemed there were limitless ways to win it. 😉
Unfortunately for him, he should have gotten some luft for his king before exchanging pawns in the center (it seemed as if doubling rooks on the c-file and then playing …Ba6 could have won it for him).